Lesson Study (LS) has been promoted in many countries all over the world as a collaborative structure to promote teachers’ professional development and support improvement in teaching and learning. Yet, whether and how LS can be sustained in various education contexts is yet to be explored. This symposium aims to provide a panoramic view about the implementation and sustainability of LS in seven counties the Netherlands, Japan, the United States, China, Sweden, Singapore and the United Kingdom. It concludes with implications for further development and advancement of Lesson Study in the world.
Lesson Study (LS) has been promoted in many countries all over the world as a collaborative structure to promote teachers’ professional development and support improvement in teaching and learning. Yet, whether and how LS can be sustained in various education contexts is yet to be explored. This symposium aims to provide a panoramic view about the implementation and sustainability of LS in seven counties. The symposium consists of two parts and seven presentations. Part I features the experiences of the Netherlands, Japan, the United States and China. Prof Hiroyuki Kuno is the chairperson and Prof Peter Dudley is the discussant. Part II features the experiences of Sweden, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Mr Henrik Hansson is the chairperson and Prof Wouter van Joolingen is the discussant.
The seven presentations help enrich our understanding of the following components of LS development in seven different education contexts, i.e., people, programmes, processes and places. Lesson Study is a collaborative structure for teacher professional learning involving all kinds of stakeholders in education, teachers, students, teacher leaders, pre-service teachers, teacher trainers, scholars and researchers. LS programmes include mainly collaborative endeavors and professional dialogues by various stakeholders of planning, teaching, reviewing and refining lessons LS processes can be organized in different formats, such lesson analysis, collaborative action research, open lessons, or even integrated into teaching routines. These LS activities are enacted in different contexts, ranging from a classroom, a school, a district trusts, networks to an education system, locally and/or internationally. LS can be a pedagogy/ structure of teacher learning (Singapore and the US), a framework to support teachers’ improvement of teaching (The Netherlands), a part of school culture (Japan), a model for a new focus for teacher collaboration (Sweden), a platform to link up local and international teachers’ professional learning communities (the UK).
The rich experiences from seven countries highlight how LS activities are shaped and continuously supported by contextual forces. These critical factors include the availability and quality of LS facilitators or adviser, the use of guiding frameworks or organizational routines enhancing teachers’ analysis of subject matters, theories and students’ learning needs, intrinsic or extrinsic motivation of teachers, integrating LS practices into existing teaching routines and allowing flexibility of developing adapted localized LS practices, leadership, funding, resources and research. The challenges encountered in different countries are also discussed and implications provided for further development and advancement of Lesson Study in the world.
Symposium paper 1 (200 words):
1. Lesson Study Facilitator: What we learned so far
In the Netherlands we use a multi-tiered logic and the inclusion of case pupils as a framework of Lesson Study to support teachers in designing educational interventions for differentiated educational needs in inclusive education settings (Goei & Bosma, 2019). Teacher-teams in the Netherlands have been facilitated in the Lesson Study cycles since the introduction of Lesson Study in the Netherlands. Reasons lay in the educational culture and the difficulty to go from practical lesson designs to in-depth discussions. The critical lens as Fernandez (2002) described, needs to be supported. To grow the scope of Lesson Study in the Netherlands an educational training for facilitators was developed. In this symposium contribution we will describe the content of this training, share the experience of trainers and several trained facilitators. We will discuss the potential of this training for various educational systems and school-cultures.
Symposium paper 2 (200 words):
2. How Japanese professional culture sustaining ‘Lesson Study’: Role and function of “Shido-in”
The aim of this presentation is to provide an investigation on how Japanese school supports teacher professional development systematically in practice.
As Japanese school culture, there are a few Shido-in who are working under the “Shido Shuji” from local board of education for advising school reform and lesson improvement (Chichibu, 2013; Yamamoto et al., 2017). Shido-in contributions his experiences and professional knowledge to young teachers and collegially try to create an alternative mission for improving teaching and learning in practice, mostly through ‘lesson study’ process.
Around 10 hours of such contribution among Shido-in and teachers in school and through lesson study are provided for analysis and providing an effective argument. Especially, data from pre- lesson and post-lesson discussions as well as interviews with both Shido-in and teachers.
From this presentation it can be realized that how Japanese professional culture revises teaching systematically in practice and support teachers to enhance learning through satisfying and continuously lesson study.
Symposium paper 3 (200 words):
3. Sustainability of lesson study: A US case
This case examines a U.S. district where five elementary schools built and sustained school-wide lesson study over 4 years and are currently leading spread of lesson study to other schools. Our original theoretical model for sustainability of lesson study included three major elements:
Lesson study first produces proximal changes in teachers (e.g., knowledge, beliefs, information-seeking) and organizational routines;
To support instructional improvement, school-wide organizational routines must be (a) anchored in instruction, (b) support and maintain interactions among teachers about instruction, (c) make classroom instruction public, and (d) link to the prescribed curriculum or standards (Desimone, 2009; Louis & Kruse, 1995; Resnick & Spillane, 2006; Spillane, et al., 2011).
Supporting teachers’ intrinsic motivation to sustain the hard work of instructional improvement is crucial (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002); sense of agency, belonging, and competence are key contributors to intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985).
Using video and artifacts from the schools, we examine how each element of the model actually played out, and add three elements that were not originally anticipated: (1) shared subject matter focus (e.g., mathematics) throughout a school; (2) district professional learning structures; (3) outside “knowledgeable others” and (4) large public research lessons.
Symposium paper 4 (200 words):
4. Learning to learn to teach: Theory-oriented lesson study and sustainable development of student teachers
According to Hiebert et al. (2003), initial teacher education is not about providing teachers with a battery of ‘finished product’ skills, but focusing on how to learn to teach. LS can contribute to student teachers’ implementing theoretical knowledge in a social learning context and mastering self-learning strategies in learning to teach. The purpose of this study is to explore key characteristics of theory-oriented LS model and how participation in ToLS enables sustainable learning of student teachers. Unlike the traditional LS, the topic of a ToLS is derived from a pedagogical theory rather than a practical problem. Student teachers should select a theory related to the subject teaching and implement it in a research lesson. Through several “planning- teaching- observing- discussing- reflecting- reconstructing” circles, student teachers can integrate the theory with teaching practice and build their own practical knowledge. Based on multi-sources qualitative data, it is found that student teachers can perceive the complexities of teaching and decontextualization of theory with a more investigate lens. Student teachers also acquire tools they need for sustainable learning to teach, by observing, discussing, and reflecting on the process of practical and situational knowledge of both their classmates and mentors.