04 SES 11 A, (Understanding Attitudes) Inclusive Classroom
Parallel Paper Session
This paper discusses findings from a development and research project using the Lesson Study method in 14 secondary schools in South West England. The research is part of a large-scale project which has the overall aims to: i. improve the learning experiences and opportunities of pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) to enhance their educational achievements, and, ii. to develop pedagogic strategies, programmes and materials for wider use in secondary schools. Though pupils identified as having MLD are the largest proportion of those identified as having special educational needs (SEN) in UK, their education has been a neglected field for research (Desforges 2006). There is also uncertainty about the term due to its loose definition and dilemmas over how these difficulties should be identified – and by whom (Norwich and Kelly 2005).
In each 14 secondary school there were two teachers in the areas of English, the arts and/or humanities whose classes who were involved in the Lesson Study programme over a period of two school terms (from November 2010 to July 2011). The teachers were asked to identify 1-2 pupils with MLD in each class at Key Stage 3 (aged 11-13) as the case pupils providing the focus for the Lesson Study process. The participating teachers were introduced to the principles and practice of Lesson Study and issues about pedagogy and MLD in a preparation conference and additional review conferences.
The Lesson Study methodology, which originates from Japan (Takahashi and Yashida 2004), involves teacher collaboration to develop a series of lessons on a specific topic by asking pedagogic questions, which are addressed through a planning, teaching and reviewing of 3 research lessons, that make up a Lesson Study (Lee 2008, Puchner and Taylor 2006). Lesson Study also provides the means of bringing research, theory and practice into the planning and evaluation of specific lessons through its use of dedicated planning and review meetings between each of the 3 Research Lessons. The aim of the Lesson Study is not therefore to construct a perfect lesson, but to increase participants’ understanding of how pupils’ learning can be improved – in other words, what works and why. This includes improving professional learning of the participants in the LS team (Dudley 2012).
The main aims of the paper are i. to examine how the Lesson Studies worked in practice in the schools and why, and, ii. to examine the outcomes of the Lesson Studies for pupils, teachers and schools.
This research utilises a Realistic Evaluation Framework, which is informed by the work of Pawson and Tilley (1997). Realistic Evaluation evaluates the Lesson Study programme in terms of the three key elements in a realist explanation of the programme; contexts, mechanisms and outcomes. A realist evaluation starts with constructing a process theory of the programme in terms of a series of contexts that trigger mechanisms to produce specific outcomes. The process theory is 'tested' in the field through varied data collection methods and the theory is then revised accordingly.
Desforges, C. (2006) Review of literature about pupils with moderate learning difficulties. London: Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Dudley, P. (2012) Lesson Study development in England: from school networks to national policy, International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 1 (1): 85-100. Lee, J.F.K. (2008) A Hong Kong case of Lesson Study – Benefits and concerns, Teaching and Teacher Education, 24: 1115-1124. Norwich, B. and Kelly, N. (2005) Moderate Learning Difficulties and the Future of Inclusion. London: RoutlegeFalmer. Pawson, R. and Tilley, N. (1997) Realistic Evaluation. London: SAGE. Puchner, L.D., and Taylor, A.R. (2006) Lesson study, collaboration and teacher efficacy: Stories from two school-based math lesson study groups, Teaching and Teacher Education 22: 922–934. Takahashi, A., and Yashida, M. (2004) Ideas for establishing lesson-study communities. Teaching Children Mathematics, May: 436-443.
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