01 SES 10 B, Focussing on the Lesson and Collaboration
Parallel Paper Session
Lesson study (LS) is a collaborative research-oriented learning activity originating from Japan that has been the subject of studies not only in Japan but also in China, the USA and UK (Fernandez et al. 2003; Park, 2008; Dudley, 2008). To summarise, teachers work together in lesson study groups to identify a challenge that their students have with an aspect of learning. They then jointly plan a lesson, teach and evaluate it. Such lessons, subjected to systematic analysis by participating teachers, are called research or study lessons. A growing body of evidence suggests that LS is a powerful dynamic approach to teacher education and professional learning (Fernandez, 2002; Lewis & Tsuchida, 1997; Puchner & Taylor, 2006). Therefore, we have undertaken small-scale qualitative research, combining informant style interviewing (Powney & Watts, 1987) and discourse analysis, to understand more about the collective learning processes at play in lesson study contexts. To explore what is distinctive about lesson study, we formulated the following research questions:
1. Through what processes do teachers learn in LS groups?
2. How do teachers work collaboratively in LS groups?
3. How do teachers plan, talk about, and learn from changes in classroom practice in LS lessons?
4. What kinds of talk and language use mediate professional learning, knowledge creation and transformation in LS groups?
5. What criteria do teachers apply to evaluating the quality of LS lessons?
Underlying these questions is a framework for thinking about teachers’ learning that draws on social constructivism with its emphasis on how learning is influenced by social interaction with others and by active processes of constructing understandings, making sense of new experiences and building on one another’s knowledge and expertise. A particular interest pursued through the research relates to the kinds of talk and interaction between teachers in lesson study groups that mediate teachers’ learning collectively and individually.
The setting for the project is an East Midlands urban secondary school in England, from January to June 2012. Four Mathematics and two Modern Languages teachers have volunteered to work with us to understand more about how collaboration in LS contributes to their learning, both individually and collectively.
The project will investigate this by analysing the discursive processes that teachers engage in while participating in LS groups, how they work collaboratively in the groups and how they plan, talk about and learn from research lessons. As a result, the research team is recording the kinds of talk and language used to mediate professional learning, knowledge creation and transformation in LS groups.
The teachers bring an active agenda of reflection and enquiry centred on optimising three related learning outcomes through participation in LS processes:
a) enhanced quality of professional learning and pedagogic content knowledge;
b) improvements in the quality of pupils’ classroom learning opportunities in lessons developed collectively;
c) evaluation of the quality of their participation in LS groups, as a possible vehicle for future professional development.
Dudley, P. (2008) Lesson Study development in England from school networks to national policy: the development of Lesson Study in England and its growing use as a professional learning process for the development and transfer of pedagogic practice. World Association of Lesson Studies Annual Conference, Hong Kong, December 2008. Fernandez, C. (2002) Learning from Japanese approaches to professional development: The case of lesson study. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(5), 393–405. Fernandez, C. Cannon, J. & Choksi, S. (2003) A US-Japan lesson study collaboration reveal critical lenses for examining practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19, 171–185. Lewis, C. & Tsuchida, I. (1997) Planned educational change in Japan: The case of elementary science instruction. Journal of Educational Policy, 12(5), 313–331. Parks, A.N. (2008) Messy learning: Preservice teachers’ lesson-study conversations about mathematics and students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 1200–1216. Powney, J. & Watts, M. (1987) Interviewing in Educational Research. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Puchner, A. & 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.
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