In Japan, teachers had always depended on jugyokenkyu, which translates literally as “lesson study,” a set of practices that Japanese teachers use to hone their craft. A teacher first plans lessons, then teaches in front of an audience of students and other teachers along with at least one university observer. Then the observers talk with the teacher about what has just taken place. Each public lesson poses a hypothesis, a new idea about how to help children learn. And each discussion offers a chance to determine whether it worked.

Another fascinating observation of the differences between American and Japanese teaching from Elizabeth Green’s Why Do American’s Stink at Math?.

Jugyokenkyu reminds me very much of some of the tenants of lean production, in particular the testing of hypotheses and the five whys. It also brings to mind the enlightened trial and error of design thinking.