How Should Research Contribute to Instructional Improvement? The Case of Lesson Study

Educational Researcher (Impact Factor: 2.93). 04/2006; 35(3):3-14. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X035003003


Lesson study, a Japanese form of professional development that centers on collaborative study of live classroom lessons, has spread rapidly in the United States since 1999. Drawing on examples of Japanese and U.S. lesson study, we propose that three types of research are needed if lesson study is to avoid the fate of so many other once-promising reforms that were discarded before being fully understood or well implemented. The proposed research includes development of a descriptive knowledge base; explication of the innovation’s mechanism; and iterative cycles of improvement research. We identify six changes in the structure and norms of educational research that would enhance the field’s capacity to study emerging innovations such as lesson study. These changes include rethinking the routes from educational research to educational improvement and recognizing a “local proof route”; building research methods and norms that will better enable us to learn from innovation practitioners; and increasing our capacity to learn across cultural boundaries.

Download full-text


Available from: Catherine Lewis, Aug 26, 2014
1,136 Reads
  • Source
    • "However Likando (2014) notes that adaptations need to be made when using lesson study in culturally different contexts such as the USA and I would expect some adaptations within the South African context. According to Lewis and colleagues (Lewis, et al., 2006) lesson study was also used successfully in the UK to improve the teachers' pedagogy. In my view, lesson study is a useful opportunity for both improving teacher practice in the classroom as well as stimulating teacher reflection and thus provides a rich empirical field enabling me to gather data on teacher reflection on a particular topic of interest (in this case multidigit subtraction). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper I share a proposed study aimed at investigating teacher reflection on the teaching of a particular topic in the context of lesson study. Lesson study is becoming an increasingly popular form of professional development around the world and more recently it is being investigated within the South African context (see for example Pillay, 2014b). In this paper, I provide some general context and literature review as to why an investigation into teacher reflections on lesson study is important within both the South African context and in relation to my role as Foundation Phase Mathematics subject adviser at Dr. Kenneth Kaunda district in the North West Province of South Africa. The topic of my focus was prompted by the observations made while fulfilling my professional responsibilities. From my numerous school visits, it is apparent that many learners have problems when it comes to multidigit subtraction. Hence, the purpose of my proposed study is to investigate teacher reflections on the teaching of multidigit subtraction to Grade 3 learners. It is envisaged that this inquiry will be carried out through the use of a lesson study involving foundation phase teachers. The interpretive qualitative research paradigm supports this study and a case study approach will be used to conduct this research. Vygotsky’s socio–cultural perspective of teaching and learning will guide both data collection and analysis. The findings of this study should point to possible solutions to the challenges encountered in the teaching of multidigit subtraction in my area and I also plan to incorporate these into my future work with teachers.
    AMESA 2015 Proceedings, University of Limpopo; 07/2015
  • Source
    • "To achieve our multifaceted research objectives we have adopted a Japanese Lesson Study (JLS) framework—a PD practice that has gained international interest because of its role in strong math performance in Japan (Huang et al. 2011; Lewis et al. 2006; White and Lim 2008). Japanese Lesson Study involves collaborative planning, teaching and reflecting on classroom lessons and is generally characterized by four steps: (1) goal setting/investigation; (2) planning; (3) implementation and Research Lesson; and (4) debriefing/reflection (e.g., Lewis et al. 2006). The JLS framework is highly collaborative and grounded in practice, two features of PD that have been identified as powerful in supporting change in both teachers and in the math performance of their students (Darling-Hammond et al. 2009; Garet et al. 2001). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increased efforts are needed to meet the demand for high quality mathematics in early years classrooms. Despite the foundational role of geometry and spatial reasoning for later mathematics success, the strand receives inadequate instructional time and is limited to concepts of static geometry. Moreover, early years teachers typically lack both content knowledge and confidence in teaching geometry and spatial reasoning. We describe our attempt to deal with these issues through a research initiative known as the Math for Young Children project. The project integrates effective features of both design research and Japanese Lesson Study and is designed to support teachers in developing content knowledge and new approaches for teaching geometry and spatial reasoning. Central to our Professional Development model is the integration of four adaptations to the Japanese Lesson Study model: (1) teachers engaging in the mathematics, (2) teachers designing and conducting task-based clinical interviews, (3) teachers and researchers co-designing and carrying out exploratory lessons and activities, and (4) the creation of resources for other educators. We present our methods and the results of our adaptations through a case study of one Professional Learning Team. Our results suggest that the adaptations were effective in: (1) supporting teachers’ content knowledge of and comfort level with geometry and spatial reasoning, (2) increasing teachers’ perceptions of young children’s mathematical competencies, (3) increasing teachers’ awareness and commitment for the inclusion of high quality geometry and spatial reasoning as a critical component of early years mathematics, and (4) the creation of innovative resources for other educators. We conclude with theoretical considerations and implications of our results.
    ZDM: the international journal on mathematics education 06/2015; 47(3). DOI:10.1007/s11858-015-0679-2
  • Source
    • "Third, a group of teachers of the same subject form a professional learning community to co-plan, co-teach and co-redesign their lessons (Darling-Hammond 1995; Stigler and Hiebert 1999). Fourth, education researchers and teachers from other schools are invited to observe a teacher's lessons (Lewis, Perry, and Murata 2006). Studies from Japan and the United States (Lewis 2002; Perry, Lewis, and Akiba 2002) have identified seven criteria for the successful implementation of the open-class approach to teacher development: increased knowledge of the subject matter; increased knowledge of instruction; increased ability to observe students; stronger collegial networks; stronger connection between daily practice and long-term goals; stronger motivation and sense of efficacy; and improved quality of available lesson plans. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The rapidly changing twenty-first-century educational environment is full of daunting challenges. Education is becoming ever more difficult as schools need to prepare their students for newly emerging challenges, new technologies and unpredictable problems. Many countries are seeking to establish effective learning cultures as a priority. However, teacher learning is generally more difficult to facilitate than student learning. This study examined the effectiveness of the open-class teaching approach in nurturing a new twenty-first-century learning culture among teachers. The framework of the open-class approach was adapted to the local pre-service teacher education programme in Macao. Two case studies of open-class mathematics teaching practices in Macao were conducted using reflective discussions of the lessons, videotapes of the open-classes, interviews with the respective teachers and the reflective journals of the pre-service teachers. The aim of the study was to identity the optimum open-class model to incorporate into Macao’s teacher preparation programme and to address the central issue of the unity of theory and practice in pre-service teacher education, which represents a significant policy and research gap.
    Research Papers in Education 01/2015; DOI:10.1080/02671522.2014.1002525 · 0.51 Impact Factor
Show more