Lesson Study - University of Cumbria
Lesson Study - University of Cumbria
Can a “Lesson Study” adaptation have a
positive impact on the development of
trainee Teach First Mathematics teachers?
Jennifer Shearman, Canterbury Christ Church University
Japanese Lesson Study is a collaborative approach to planning and
teaching that has been attributed as a major factor in
achievement of Japanese High School students in mathematics
Research literature evaluating Lesson Study groups suggested that
an adaptation of Lesson Study undertaken with Teach First
trainees may be a successful sustainable approach to accelerating
development of the participants’ pedagogy and reflective skills
A mixed-method, interpretive case study pilot was undertaken,
with 3 participants taking part in an adaptation of Lesson Study
Results suggest that a single iteration of collaborative planning has
a measurable impact on pedagogy development and reflective
Why Lesson Study?
“Lesson study is a simple idea. If you want to improve instruction, what
could be more obvious than collaborating with fellow teachers to plan,
observe, and reflect on lessons?” (Lewis, 2002)
Teach First participants – high achieving
Focus on subject-specific pedagogy and reflection
Mission to “close the gap” – role in whole school improvement
Focus on increasingly school-led ITE
Existing Lesson Study Groups involving Teach First teachers
Why Lesson Study?
Perceived superior achievement of Japanese High School Students “the
highest scoring classroom in the US (and UK) sample did not perform as
well as the lowest-scoring classroom in the Japanese example” (Stigler and
“Bottom-up” CPD, driven by teachers – Japanese culture
Correlation between incidence of Lesson Study and constructivist teaching
methods (Lewis & Tsuchida,1998) – personal values
“Kounaikenshuu”; no teacher ever becomes totally ‘competent’ but all
teachers can and must improve over weeks, months and years – contrast to
‘standards’ and ‘criteria’.
Evidence of Effectiveness
Japan (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1998)
Distribution of new content and
Connecting practice in the classroom
with the broader goals of education
Forum for exploring conflicting ideas
Improved the standing of teachers
UK, since 2001
Positive effect upon pupil learning,
achievement and engagement
No evidence of negative effects
Correlation between school
improvement and incidence of Lesson
Study (McKinsey and company, 2007)
Limited evidence of ‘bottom-up’ CPD
(Burghes & Robinson, 2009)
USA, since 1990s
• Rapid growth in popularity
• Lesson Study effective in a
USA school setting if the
teachers learn skills of
applying critical lenses to
planning, observing and
evaluating the lesson
(Fernandez, et al., 2003)
• Increased positive feedback
from teachers (Perry and
ITE, since 2008
“Microteaching” Lesson Study
Development in the teachers’
Reduced ‘teacher led instruction’
Increased ‘class discussion’ and
‘student exploration’ (Fernandez,
Is learning ‘tutor-student’,
‘mentor-student’ or ‘studentstudent’? (Carroll, 2013)
Does Lesson Study have an impact on pedagogy?
Does Lesson Study have an impact on reflective skills?
Will Lesson Study be sustainable?
“Will an adaptation of Lesson Study have a measurable short-term and
long-term impact on Teach First participants’ pedagogy and skills of
Most previous research interpretivist (Fernandez, 2002), (Perry & Lewis, 2008),
(Ricks, 2011), (Carroll, 2013)
Some positivist research (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999), (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1998),
(Dudley, December 2008) and (McKinsey and company, 2007)
Mixed-method, interpretive case study pilot
Develop pedagogy (including mathematical pedagogy)
Develop an awareness of what ‘good’ teaching is and pedagogical strategies.
Encourage creativity, a willingness to take risks, try out new ideas
Improve subject knowledge for teaching within the topic taught during the
Develop the participants’ skills of evaluation and reflection
Develop reflective, critical analysis of teaching.
Develop participants’ ability to evaluate.
Develop sustainable partnership
To share creative ideas generated by the process with colleagues.
Create a test bed and forum for trialling and evaluating new ideas
Involve participants and colleagues in their own professional development for
the benefit of the whole school.
Japanese Lesson Study
Define the problem that Lesson Study will
Participants identify a date for the observed
lesson and the participant will decide the class to
be observed, the focus of the observation and any
Plan the lesson in collaboration, which is,
critiqued and a revised plan produced.
Participant writes an initial full lesson plan on the
proforma of their choice , commented on by at
least one person. Participant adapts lesson plan
given the comments and will resubmits plan for
Teach the lesson, whole group assists fully in the The participant teaches the lesson, researcher to
preparation and the planning group observe the observe the lesson and all collaborators to be
Evaluate the lesson on the same day by a
Semi-structured interview in the style of a neriage
feedback conversation led by an expert with
contributions by some of the observers.
Revision of the lesson (again, over several weeks). Participant submits an evaluation of their choice
Re-teach the lesson to different students and
Evaluate revised lesson and reflect upon process. Opinions gathered as part of neriage
The Lesson Study group write a report (Kenkyu
no Matome) shared with either the school or a
Opinions gathered as part of neriage and/or
Development of pedagogy
• Self-assessment scale of
0-10 used on at least 3
occasions; after the first
draft (created by
participant), after the
second draft (following
mentor, tutor and peer
comments), after a third
draft (if necessary) and
after evaluating the
• Lesson Plan, not the
lesson or the teacher that
• Adaptation of the Ofsted
criteria for ‘features of
teaching’ (Ofsted, 2008).
Development of evaluation and reflection,
assessment of sustainability
GREEN: Initial plan only
RED: Additions after 1st and second iterations
BLUE: Additions after post-lesson feedback and evaluation
Lesson Context: Compound Shapes
Learning Objective: To…
Grade C: Describe…
Grade B: Explain…
Grade A: Analyse…
To apply knowledge of areas of triangles and rectangles
All: To calculate the area of a triangle.
Most: To calculate the area of a simple compound shape. (Grade D)
Some: To calculate the area of any compound shape including GCSE style
examination questions. (Grade C+)
Learning Cycle phase
Date: 6th March 2014
Starter- paper based
enquiry task to
given to students as
they enter the room.
Share LO and
Name and spell 2D shapes. Literacy focus. Peer assessed.
Extension: What is the formula for each?
Big Picture – The relevance of compound shapes in floor plans and reality.
Keywords – Addressed in spelling of 2D shapes.( 8 mins)
1 or 2 VAK activities to
engage students, new
and group work.
Students to choose 2 out of 4 questions linked directed to learning outcomes to
assess prior knowledge. Post it notes on the board. Students to set personal targets
of what they want to achieve. Provide enough time to allow students to think
about high levels questions and provide the questions to each pupil on paper (7
minutes) (10 minutes).
H/L was Set on Monday.
Students that can complete the area of a triangle present how to the other
students. 3 questions on area of triangle. Green or Red based on difficulty. Red to
address the thought process of those who could easily assess the first question.
Introduction of compound shape and show one way to solve. Students to discover
how many different ways they can solve the same problem (6 minutes). Compound
shape demonstration with not all lengths provided.
• Qualitative assessment
of changes in lesson
• Qualitative assessment
• Power relationships
and bias, focus on
evidence not tutor
Analysis – Development of pedagogy
All participants perceived that their lesson plans increased in effectiveness
no aspects of pedagogy were perceived to have worsened
Average scores increased by 1.5 points through collaboration
All the participants spoke positively about the effects of collaboration
Diminishing returns in taking part in more than one iteration of collaborative
Average increase of 0.2 of a point after the second collaboration
Challenges in managing differences of opinion
Time constraints of taking part in such a task.
On average, participants perceived their plans more favourably after teaching
Post lesson feedback and evaluation scores increased by 0.2
Participants were encouraged to take more of a ‘risk’ following collaboration
Specific categories that reported large score increases (an overall increase >2.5
points) relate to pupil activity and assessment for learning
Specific categories that reported small score increases (an overall increase <1
point) relate to level of challenge and use of subject knowledge
Both participants’ lesson plans changed considerably in format – more focused
on objectives and questioning, less on ‘logistics’ and timing
Analysis – Reflection, and sustainability
Development of evaluation and reflection
Process of collaboration developed evaluation skills in the participants
Pinpoint specific points in the lesson where effective learning occurred, and how
collaboration influenced these points
Justify a particular approach, was taken sometimes acknowledging that the new approach
post-collaboration had greater impact than would have happened originally
Concentration on LEARNING (neriage enhanced this effect).
Process of periodic self-assessment of lesson plans in itself developed evaluation skills
‘unpick and unpack’ plan in order to reach a score
Participants found it challenging to remain focused on the lesson plan during the feedback
Development of sustainable collaboration
Participants all felt that the collaboration process improved their practice..
Two participants felt process was too time-consuming to be repeated in the same way.
Participants demonstrated that the process of lesson-planning was very specific to the school,
department, and makeup of the class and timing of lessons.
Implications and future research
Was it Lesson Study?
What would increase participation?
Microteaching at Summer Institute – partnership between school and University
The effect of self-assessing lesson plans using a ‘good practice’ framework on trainee
The relationship between the perception of Lesson Study by teachers and the culture of
the school they are working in
The effectiveness of a ‘pure’ Lesson Study project in a Teaching School with a Lesson
Study group that has a mixture of trainees, NQTs and experienced teachers (including
Specialist Leaders in Education)
The impact of an adapted Lesson Study at the Teach First Summer Institute
Burghes, D. & Robinson, D., 2009. Lesson Study: Enhancing Mathematics Teaching and
Learning, Reading: CFBT Education Trust.
Carroll, C., 2013. Lesson Study: Helping Pre-service Teachers to Bridge the TheoryPractice gap. Cork, University of Cork.
Dudley, P., 2011. Lesson Study Development in England: From School Networks to
National Policy. International Journal of Lesson and Learning Studies, 1(1), pp. 85-101.
Fernandez, C., 2002. Learning from Japanese Approaches to Professional Development:
The Case of Lesson Study. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(5), pp. 393-405.
Fernandez, M., 2010. Investigating how and what prospective teachers learn through
microteaching Lesson Study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(1), p. 351–362.
Lewis, C., 2002. Does lesson study have a future in the United States?. Nagoya Journal of
Education and Human Development, Volume 1, pp. 1-23.
Lewis, C. & Tsuchida, I., 1998. A lesson is like a swiftly flowing river: Research lessons
and the improvement of Japanese education. American Educator, Volume Winter, pp. 1417 and 50-52.
McKinsey and company, 2007. How the world's best performing school systems come out
on top, London: McKinsey and company.
Ofsted, 2008. Mathematics: Understanding the Score - Improving practice in mathematics
teaching at a secondary level, London: Crown.
Perry, R. & Lewis, C., 2008. What is successful adaptation of lesson study in the US?.
Journal of Educational Change, 10(4), pp. 365-391.
Stigler, J. & Hiebert, J., 1999. The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world's teachers for
improving education in the classroom. Kindle ed. New York: Free Press.