In January 2012, NISMED’s Earth Science Group collaborated with the First Year science teachers of Nueva Ecija High School (NEHS), Cabanatuan City on a research lesson in Science I. The primary goal of the group was to develop students’ critical thinking skills. During the planning stage, the teachers formulated goals related to the unit on the Solar System. An outline of the topics to be tackled within the unit was put together. The topic on Eclipses was chosen to serve as the research lesson of the group.
The group engaged in face-to-face planning on two consecutive Saturdays. Each planning session lasted for hours, since the school was quite far from Manila and the group could not meet as often as it wanted to. But the NISMED staff and NEHS teachers maintained contact between these two meetings—and also before the implementation of the lesson—through a regular exchange of emails. We thought this setup would result in a low level of collaboration among the teachers. But in contrast to our expectation, the teachers regularly met on their own and continued to plan the lesson on eclipses even without the facilitators. After the final draft of the lesson plan was emailed to the NISMED staff for critiquing, the teachers immediately revised it.
During the implementation of the original lesson on February 7 and the implementation of the revised lesson the following day, the teachers were very attentive all throughout. They wrote down their observations and kept an eye on the “implementer” to see if she stuck to the lesson plan that they themselves prepared. During the post-lesson conferences, the teachers took pains to critique the lesson plan itself and not the implementer. The discussion was so lively that the NISMED facilitator had to ask for an opportunity to give her own comments on the lesson. The teachers seemed to be able to conduct a post-lesson conference even without the NISMED facilitator. Very early on, it was evident that the teachers have taken to the practice of lesson study as smoothly as could be hoped.
In the course of the lesson study, the teachers met regularly and this developed in them a sense of belonging. They built a professional community where their ideas were expressed and respected by others. The teachers liked the idea of working with and learning from their colleagues. In fact, they expressed their desire to collaborate on another research lesson. The First Year science teachers of Nueva Ecija High School were convinced that lesson study contributes to their own learning.