Role and significance of didactical and para-didactical contracts

DidMat seminar with Jacob Bahn

At the seminar I will present some observations on the role and significance of didactical contracts in experimental teaching. In my project, teams of teachers use lesson studies to experiment with Open-ended Approach, which is a variant of Inquiry Based Education. After a team's thorough planning of an experimental lesson (a so called study lesson) the teachers in turn teach a class by following the detailed lesson plan. During the study lesson the other team members observe students' responses to the teaching, i.e. the milieu, which is afterwards reflected upon in order to revise, i.e. adjust, the lesson plan. For each lesson study three such study lessons are conducted.

My presentation at this seminar focusses on observations of one teams third and last study lesson of their very first lesson study and hence their very first (actually) experimental lesson (ever).

As the study lesson is experimental the teachers as well as the students are unfamiliar with the teaching. To a certain extend the teachers have foreseen complications regarding this, but as I'll exemplify it is difficult to negotiate new kinds of didactical contracts under the given circumstances. Older contracts seem to have a strong impact on the lesson - on the teacher's side as well as on the students'.

Referring to the planning of a lesson I wish to introduce and discuss the term para-didactical contract, which is thought of as an equivalent to the didactical contract but relates to the work of planning a lesson.