Kyouzai kenkyuu

Kyouzai kenkyuu

Kyouzai kenkyuu translates approximately as the study (or research) – kenkyuu – of materials for teaching – kyouzai. It is, or should be, a part of planning one’s everyday lessons, and it is, or should be, a major emphasis of lesson study.

A longer article about kyouzai kenkyuu needs to be written for this page, and maybe someday I can talk Tad Watanabe into writing one (he has given some wonderful talks on the subject). For right now, to support teams involved in lesson study, here is an incomplete list of questions to think about during your intensive kyouzai kenkyuu.

Please comment on these or suggest additions.

Suggested questions for kyouzai kenkyuu
(a non-exhaustive list)

Background research:

What do the standard say? How is the content for this grade level different from the content in prior and later grades?

What is the progression of ideas in our curriculum? What did students learn before? What will they be learning later?

Before This lesson Later
  • Previous grades
  • Earlier in this grade
  • Later in this grade
  • Later grades

What new ideas are students expected to build using this idea in the future?

What does this idea really mean? what do we want students to understand?

What ideas do students already understand that can be used as a foundation for this new idea?

What are common mistakes or misconceptions? Where do those misconceptions come from? Why do reasonable students have those misconceptions or make those mistakes?

Choice of task:

(When examining a proposed task, such as a textbook problem) Why is this particular problem useful in helping students develop this new idea?

Why are these particular numbers used?

Is this the BEST possible task for developing this new idea? Will the focus of student effort be on the important mathematical idea? are these the best numbers to use?

How can students solve this problem using what they already know, and how can their solution strategies be used to develop the new idea?

How will students at different levels engage with this task? What additional supports can we provide for weaker students so that their struggle is productive?

Are there aspects of the new idea that students cannot be expected to figure out but must be given by the teacher (such as a new notation or vocabulary)?

What errors are students likely to make? Are those errors valuable for learning the new idea, or are they a distraction?

How does this task relate to tasks the students have done in the past and ideas the students will be expected to acquire later? For example, are we using a context familiar from previous lessons? Will this context be useful again later to extend students’ learning?