The lesson study professional development process : exploring the learning experiences of elementary and middle school teachers
MetadataShow full item record
Lesson study has been introduced in the United States as a collaborative professional development process focusing on improving teachers’ content knowledge and instructional skills as teachers plan a research lesson, teach and observe students’ thinking and learning behaviors and then revise and re-teach the lesson. The origin of lesson study in the United States began shortly after, The Teaching Gap by James Stigler and James Hiebert was published in 1999. The researchers attributed Japanese students’ high achievement scores in mathematics and science to their teachers’ participation in the lessons study process. Lesson study professional development formally began with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 1999; however, research on effective professional development programs and practices have been studied and reported for decades. Results from these studies and findings on teacher and adult learning were examined and reported in this study. This case study examined the learning experiences of six elementary and middle school teachers as they participated in the lesson study process. The teachers first began with sessions on discussing lesson study research, the lesson study process and viewing other teachers participating in lesson study. The teachers later collaborated to create, teach, observe, revise and re-teach a 5th grade mathematics research lesson on elapsed time during summer school. The qualitative research incorporated teacher interviews, observations, written reflections and artifacts such as agendas, planning documents and lesson plans. The data collected helped provide insight in examining the three research questions: a) How do teachers understand lesson study as a professional development process?; b) How will engaging in the lesson study affect the teachers’ planning and practices?; and c) What are some challenges in learning and applying key lesson study concepts? The case study data affirmed existing research on quality professional development, effective teacher/adult learning and accurate lesson study practices and supported the emerging themes of the teachers’ valuing collaboration, teachers’ valuing the deepening of their mathematics understanding and enhancing of their instructional practices, and finally, the teachers’ valuing the incorporation of student thinking in their planning, teaching and re-teaching experiences.