22 SES 13 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Originating from Japan and predominantly used by teachers within the school sector, ‘Lesson Study’ is a collaborative practitioner research activity, that has been the subject of a number of research studies in Japan, the USA and more recently the UK (Tall, 2008; Dudley, 2008; Ylonen and Norwich, 2012;). There have been claims that the approach is a very powerful dynamic approach to teacher education and development (Fernandez, 2002; Lewis & Tsuchida, 1997; Puchner & Taylor, 2006), but there has been much less exploration of its use and usefulness in the higher education sector.
In Higher Education settings, tutors engaged in lesson study identify a learning objective which relates to perceived learning deficits e.g. the development of academic literacy or reflective discussion skills or ability to critique research literature in English. With collaborating colleagues, tutors jointly plan seminars, teach and observe those seminars and then evaluate them together. Subjected to systematic analysis, the seminars are called ‘research’ or ‘study lessons’.
International students often encounter a number of learning needs and barriers in the early months of post-graduate courses, particularly in relation to academic literacy skills such as analysing research papers, reflecting on evidence and developing referencing skills. This study focused on considering those needs and how they can be understood through lesson study research and then addressed through detailed discussion, planning and observation of seminars and lectures. By developing detailed understandings of the learning patterns of students, new insights can be gained, and new frameworks for learning can be developed to aid students to make rapid transitions to learning in new cultural environments. Consequently, the main aims of the research were to
1) evaluate the quality of students’ learning opportunities in ‘research lesson’ seminars/lectures developed by lecturers who participated in Lesson Study;
2) analyse students’ learning through the ‘research lesson’ seminars/lectures
3) explore student perspectives on their learning experiences
4) evaluate collaborative Lesson Study as a vehicle for the development of lecturers’ reflective practice.
This paper reports an innovative method for analysing and developing pedagogic practice with post-graduate students by transfer of a recognised pedagogical development tool from the school sector and working to demonstrate proof of concept in the higher education sector. As such, the paper reflects on the degree to which Lesson Study offers a reflective and developmental tool for those responsible for teaching, in particular with international students.
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 (2008) 1200–1216 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 Tall, D. (2008) Using Japanese Lesson Study in Teaching Mathematics. The Scottish Mathematical Council Journal 38(1), 45-50. Ylonen, A. and Norwich B. (2012): Using Lesson Study to develop teaching approaches for secondary school pupils with moderate learning difficulties: teachers’ concepts, attitudes and pedagogic strategies, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 27(3), 301-317.
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