In today's edition of the Washington Post there is an article describing an elementary school's use of a technique known as 'Lesson Study' to improve teacher knowledge and ability. Lesson Study is a practice that originated in Japan, and see's teachers working together weekly to create and refine specific lessons.
Once the lesson is created, one member of the group teaches it to students, while the others observe the students and take notes for their future discussion. The teacher is not evaluated, as the group created the lesson, but the extra sets of eyes help to identify problems and/or successes the students may experience as they learn the concept.
Following the initial teaching, the group reassembles and reworks the lesson plan to incorporate the feedback, and then it is retaught with the same purpose. The idea behind this practice of professional development is that teacher growth is most effective when it is embedded on the job, and it needs to occur in smaller occurrences to be sustainable.
This is a very interesting topic. I think it is a logical extension of what we are doing with our school-based and/or district PLC groups, and I hope to learn more about it.
The original article may be found HERE