Primer on "Lesson Study"
Originally created in Japan, the practice known as "lesson study" grew more popular in the United States in the 1990s. Basically, it's a research and instructional-improvement method in which a teacher conducts a class under the observation of other educators and interested observers. The idea with these lab-type environments is that teachers discuss the teaching methods on display and how to refine them to improve student learning, engagement, and behavior.
When we wrote about lesson study techniques in 2004 (I linked to it in the above paragraph), teachers in 29 states were experimenting with that practice, according to the story.
Educators and academic researchers interested in learning more about this practice and its application to math might consider attending a conference this spring. It's being hosted by the Chicago Lesson Study Group, from May 7-9. More details here. The organization's Web site houses several good resources on lesson study, including its uses in secondary math.
The conference is now in its 8th year, the organizers tell me. They've highlighted not only the uses of lesson study in the United States, but also in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.