Featured Symposia

At the WALS2019 there will be featured symposia. The following featured symposia are presented:

School wide Lesson study implementation: an international perspective

Tuesday 3 September
Session 1: 13:00 – 14:30


Irene Stone, St Marks Community School;
Elaine Wilson, University of Cambrigde;
Tauilya Akimova, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools Kazakhsthan.
(More presenters will follow)

Although lesson study shows great potential to support both teacher and student learning in countries outside of Japan, many new contexts struggle to implement and sustain lesson study. To move beyond the oftentimes short-lived and simplified initiatives, schools need to carefully craft both their understanding and implementation of the lesson study cycle and of the organizational structures needed to set up lesson study in schools. In this symposium we will explore this crafting process from four different international contexts (Ireland, Kazachstan, the Netherlands, Singapore) to investigate how we can sustainably craft lesson study in each educational system.

The individual presentations will follow soon
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Emerging Lesson Study research within the WALS community – a PhD showcase symposium

Tuesday 3 September
Session 2: 14:35 – 16:05

Shirley Tan, Nagoya University;
Sandrine Breithaupt, University of Teacher Education 
Nicolette van Halem, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam;
Bridget Flanagan, Mary Immaculate College Limerick;
Tijmen Schipper, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences.

Tijmen Schipper

Sui Lin Goei

The aim of this special PhD showcase symposium is to highlight emerging Lesson Study (LS) research from PhD’s and young researchers in the WALS community. Five short presentations will showcase PhD and young researchers’ research that takes place in various cultural contexts. This symposium covers a broad array of research topics situated in Japan, Switzerland, Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. The first presentation focuses on Japanese board writing, bansho, as an important feature of Japanese LS. The second presentation examines how and what a LS team learns during LS in Swiss Geography education. The third presentation determines the impact of LS on the quality of teacher learning in the UK. The fourth presentation examines the implementation of LS in STEM early years education in Ireland. The final presentation examines LS in relation to adaptive teaching, self-efficacy and the school context in Dutch secondary education 

General summary

This unique PhD showcase symposium is organized as a means to highlight Lesson Study (LS) research from PhD students and young researchers in the WALS community and aimto strengthen and expand the important work of emerging researchers. Despite the differences between the studies in terms of focus and cultural as well as educational contexts in which the research is situated, the commonality in this symposium is that the studies have been conducted and will be presented by PhD students and young researchers. This symposium may encourage potential PhD students to explore possibilities to examine LS practices in a PhD trajectory and it may strengthen the work and network of current PhD students within the WALS community. But not only is this symposium of interest for (future) PhD students and young researchers, this symposium particularly aims to present a ‘fresh’, creative and dynamic approach to LS research from which experienced LS researchers and practitioners, and thus the WALS community in general, may benefit. 
The first presentation on bansho analysis will be presented by Shirley Tan from Nagoya University, Japan, and it is the continuation and refinement from the previous study presented at last year’s WALS conference. The current study aims to investigate the bansho styles of teachers; whether the same teacher has the same bansho style across school subjects. The findings that provide visualisation of bansho-related data could serve as a key aspect during observation and reflection stage of LS. The second presentation by Sandrine Breithaupt from Lausanne, Switzerland, aims to discover how and what a LS team learns during a LS in Geography education using discourse analysis. Also, the research suggests how educators could increase their creativity and productivity through collective thinking. The third presentation by Nicolette van Halem (VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) presents a collaborative study situated in the UK, which is recently published in Teaching and Teacher Education. The study is concerned with understanding the impact of LS on the quality of teaching using longitudinal and cross-sectional data from three waves of data collection from 214 teachers engaged in LS during one full academic year. One of the main findings of this study is that participating in LS increases meaning-oriented and application-oriented teacher learning and decreasing problematic learning. The fourth study is presented by Bridget Flanagan from the University of Limerick and is situated in Irish early years primary education, focusing on STEM education. The study reports the impact of LS on teachers’ skills and knowledge, and discusses the obstacles and barriers to effective implementation of LS. The last presentation by Tijmen Schipper from the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands focuses on the influence of LS on teachers’ adaptive teaching competence, self-efficacy and the school context. A brief overview will be presented of the most important findings of four studies as part of this PhD research.  
The symposium will be introduced by PhD student Tijmen Schipper and discussed by the chair of the WALS2019 conference, Dr. Sui Lin Goei (VU University Amsterdam).  

Bansho analysis: One teacher, one bansho style?

Shirley Tan
Nagoya University, Japan

Bansho (board writing) is a key feature in lesson study which is increasingly becoming an area of interest among researchers. Hence, this study proposes bansho analysis as a research tool for teachers to evaluate and reflect on their own lessons. This in turn helps teachers to see themselves contributing to their own professional development. In my previous study, a coding scheme has been developed to identify bansho styles in a Japanese school. The results show that there exists a variation of bansho styles across school subjects. This current study intends to explore further, to understand if the variation of bansho style exists when the same teacher teaches different subjects. Data was drawn from a primary school in Japan. All lesson observations were recorded and then analysed. Subsequently, bansho features are represented in bansho choreography and bansho transition diagrams. Data analysis suggests that the same teacher has different bansho styles depending on the school subjects. This could indicate teacher’s beliefs about teaching and the type of knowledge valued in the lesson. Visualisation of bansho-related data from this study could serve as an invaluable resource for teachers during observation and reflection stage of lesson study.  

How and what we learn during a lesson study?

Sandrine Breithaupt
University of Teacher Education Lausanne, Switzerland

This research is part of a cultural-historical perspective of development and more broadly of a vision of social brain hypothesis that encourages us to investigate cooperative intellectual activities (Mercer, 2016).  For Littleton and Mercer (2013), language is a powerful cultural tool for collective thinking.  Of course, it serves communication, but above all it contributes to think the world and increase the capacity to think. Having a long history in Japan, lesson study (LS) “was discovered” in the French-speaking world in 2010. The English literature presents LS as a model, a way of thinking professional development, a means of increasing teaching capacities and pupil’s learning. This research aims to better understanding how and what a LS group learn during a LS in Geography education, how we can be creative and productive by thinking collectively. My corpus includes transcripts of the preparation and analysis phases of research lessons conducted in 2015. I analyze content and discourse of interactions between teachers and teacher educators (the facilitators). The preliminary results provide some insights about the role of the facilitators. The results also highlight some tensions related to the evolution of concepts of geography education that should prepare pupils to think about environmental issues. 

The impact of Lesson Study professional development on the quality of teacher learning

Nicolette van Halem
VU University, Amsterdam

Jan D. Vermunt, University of Cambrigde, United Kingdom;
Maria Vrikki, University of Cambrigde, United Kingdom;
Paul Warwick, University of Cambrigde, United Kingdom;
Neil Mercer, University of Cambrigde, United Kingdom.

This paper aims to increase our understanding of the impact of Lesson Study (LS) on the quality of teacher learning. It draws on longitudinal and cross-sectional data from three waves of data collection from 214 teachers engaged in LS during one full school year. The findings showed positive effects of Lesson Study on meaning-oriented and application-oriented teacher learning and a negative effect on problematic learning. Less experienced teachers showed the highest gain in meaning-oriented learning. The paper contributes to advancement of our theoretical understanding of teacher learning as it provides evidence of mechanisms through which professional development impacts teacher learning. 

The influence of participating in Lesson Study on adaptive teaching competence, teacher self-efficacy, and the school context

Tijmen Schipper
Windesheim University op Applied Sciences, Zwolle

As a result of inclusive education policies, contemporary classrooms tend to become increasingly diverse in terms of students’ learning needs, abilities, interests and cultural background (UNESCO, 2017). While teachers are expected to adapt their teaching to these diverse classroom populations (Corno, 2008), this turns out to be complex (Van der Lans, Van de Grift, & Van Veen, 2017) and may relate to their feelings of self-efficacy as well (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2007). Lesson Study (LS) may address this issue due to its explicit focus on student learning (Dudley, 2013). There is evidence that participating in LS improves adaptive teaching practices (Norwich & Ylonen, 2013) and feelings of self-efficacy (Sibbald, 2009). However, this evidence is limited, particularly in the context of Dutch secondary educationTherefore, this PhD research focuses on the influence of LS on teachers’ feelings of self-efficacy and adaptive teaching. As LS takes place in the school context, promoting and hindering conditions and cultural elements are included as well. This PhD research consists of four empirical studies using both qualitative and quasi-experimental mixed-methods designs, including a variety of research instruments. In this presentation a brief overview of these studies and its results is provided 

Preview of WALS 2020 in San Francisco:  Using School-wide Lesson Study to Accelerate the Learning of Underserved Students 

Tuesday 3 September
Session 3: 16:35 – 18:05

Nora Houseman & Kathleen 
Helfrey, San Francisco Unified School District;
Karen Cortez, San Francisco Unified School District;
Lauren Goss, San Francisco Unified School District;
Sara Liebert, San Francisco Unified School District.

Shelley Friedkin (Mills College) 

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) currently supports Lesson Study through its Teacher Leader Fellowship program, a leadership and professional learning opportunity jointly funded by the district (SFUSD) and local taxpayers.  As a result of this, Lesson Study has steadily grown as an established professional development practice for teachers throughout the district. Starting in 2015 Lesson Study teams interested in building school-wide improvement initiated a School-wide Lesson Study model to explore the use of lesson study as a school change lever and as the primary professional learning structure at 5 public schools seeking to close the opportunity gap amongst historically underserved students. 

General summary

In School-wide Lesson Study, teachers throughout a school focus on a long-term vision for student learning and use Lesson Study to test and refine ideas to bring that vision to life. Through cycles of Lesson Study across grade levels, all centered on careful observation of students, teachers make sense of the content standards and refine their enactment of them, warranted by observation of their own students’ learning.  After internal study, schools may also choose to share their work in public research lessons­–attended by educators from other schools and regions who can observe lessons, obtain copies of lesson plans and other materials, question teachers about the school practices that lie behind the observed instruction, see records of students’ responses to prior lessons of the unit, and hear about what was tried and discarded. 


During this session, you will learn how the District and school sites provides a stable base to support and nurture the complex work of Lesson Study. Key ideas and lessons learned will allow others to build such a model in their own settings.   


Teacher Leaders integral to building the School-wide Lesson Study at their site will share how they grew Lesson Study from one team to school-wide involvement.  You will see examples of the flow back and forth across three types of activity: working as a whole staff; working in Lesson Study teams; and working daily in classrooms.  Challenges addressed at the schools will also be discussed, including how to interest and involve teachers who are initially reluctant or too busy; and how to select, spread and develop important learnings from the Lesson Study cycle across classrooms. 


Equity is central to Lesson Study work in San Francisco and has supported improvement of learning for students who are historically underserved.  An up-close view of the changes in pedagogy and instructional routines will be provided, using video and student work.  


Teachers and schools have leveraged the power of a cross-school network to structure and deepen their Lesson Study work.  Network activities and tools that have allowed the work to spread and improve will be introduced, including: cross-site observations; collaboration between Teacher Leader Fellows to learn from the successes and challenges across schools; sharing planning templates and learnings; co-hosting onboarding and professional development events as well as open house public research lessons. 


Following the presentations, there will be time allotted for a Q&A. There will also be a brief overview highlighting some of the school experiences you can expect to participate in during WALS 2020 San Francisco. 

Facing the complexities of implementing Lesson Study: what we can learn from school in the North of the Netherlands

Wednesday 4 September
Session 4: 10:30 – 12:00

More information will follow soon.

More information will follow soon.

The individual presentations will follow soon
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Lesson study in initial teacher training: an international perspective

Wednesday 4 September
Session 5: 13:50 – 15:20

Aisling Leavey, Mary Immaculate College;

Mairead Hourigan, Mary Immaculate College;
Therese Dooley, Dublin City University;
Miriam Ryan, Dublin City University;
Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, University College Dublin;
Tetsuo Kuramoto, Aichi University of Education;
Carien Bakker, University of Groningen;
Deborah L.S. Larssen, University of Stavenger.

A prerequisite for sustainable Lesson Study (LS) in schools is that teachers develop a research stance towards teaching practice. One way to establish this is by already starting with LS in initial teacher education (ITE). In this featured symposium, we discuss how lesson study nowadays is used in ITE four different cultural contexts, how adaptations are used in ITE contexts, the challenges that implementation poses, experiences of student teachers and teacher educators, and outcomes for student teachers. The different approaches from Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway will be presented and critically compared and discussed.

The individual presentations will follow soon
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Lesson Study to leverage domain specific pedagogies

Thursday 5 September
Session 6: 09:00 – 10:30

Shannon M Pella, California State University Sacramento;
Zulkardi, Universitas Sriwijaya Indonesia;
Astrid Wijnands, Utrecht University of Applied Science.

Lesson Study has a strong reputation as a means for supporting teacher professionaldevelopment. However, due to its focus on student learning,Lesson Study can also serve asa powerful tool to develop and evaluate domain specificpedagogies.Actually, since its firstincarnation Lesson Study has been very successful in leveraging the level of mathematicseducation in Japan.This symposium is dedicated to the use of Lesson Study in developing pedagogical contentknowledge and domain specific pedagogies for various school subjects: first (English)language education, mathematics and grammar (in the context of Dutch Language).Thethree contributionsdiscuss how Lesson Study assisted in developing and evaluating thedomain specific pedagogies, from the bottom up to the evaluation with a focus on studentlearning.In the discussion we will address the lessons learnt: can we derivegeneral principles forLesson Study in research and development of domain specific pedagogies?

Pedagogical Reasoning and Action in Lesson Study

Shannon M Pella,
College of Education, California State University Sacramento

The practice or context from which the work originates   
This study was designed and conducted in an educational climate in the US, specifically in northern California, where teacher professional development is often centered around training teachers to use published curricula that are designed to raise students’ test scores. The five participating middle school English teachers, sought to supplement their district-sponsored professional development with a practice-based, collaborative model: lesson study.  


Relevance for educational practice
Effective teacher professional development includes teacher collaboration, inquiry, and is grounded in practice (MarrongelleSztajn, and Smith, 2013; Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009). Lesson study is a model of practice-based teacher professional development that consistently fosters teacher learning (Lewis et al., 2012; Lewis & Hurd, 2011). Researchers and practitioners should understand why these models work, what happens that affords teacher learning, and what specific processes and practices promote the most optimal results. 


Theoretical framework
Pedagogical reasoning and action are a set of processes of central importance to the development of pedagogical content knowledge. According to Shulman (1987) pedagogical reasoning and action includes: (1) Preparation of text materials including the process of critical interpretation (2) representation of the ideas in the form of new analogies or metaphors (3) instructional selections from among an array of teaching methods and models (4) adaptation of these representations to the general characteristics of the children to be taught (5) tailoring the adaptations to the specific youngsters in the classroom. (p. 16). Pedagogical reasoning and action provides a compelling conceptual framework for examining practice-based teacher learning.  


Research questions
(a) How, if at all, does lesson study, afford opportunities for pedagogical reasoning and action? (b) What, if any, pedagogical shifts did teachers make and sustain beyond the lesson study?  

Each of the nine cycles over three years included planning, observation, analysis of student learning, and action. Qualitative analysis of extensive field notes, audio-taped discussions, structured interviews, focus groups, written reflections, teacher created artifacts, and student writing samples.  


Pedagogical reasoning and action were present in every feature of the lesson study cycle. Teachers reasoned through their planning process and adapted materials to fit the assets and needs of their students. During the observation and debriefing meetings and during their analysis of student learning, participants noted where changes should be made in their instructional approaches. The theme that characterized all five teachers’ knowledge development was in their shifts away from the view of writing instruction as the isolated teaching and learning of “rules” and toward the view of writing as an integrated communicative process. Examples of pedagogical shifts: 
– Shifted away from a tightly structured approach to teaching writing toward a more integrated literacy pedagogy that included reading, speaking, listening, language use, art, music, movement, and technology. 
– Shifted away from overly scaffolded interventions like sentence starters, templates, and outlines. Teachers progressively designed more opportunities for students to interact with each other and engage various learning modalities. 
– Shifted away from structuring student writing groups with rote, predetermined feedback criteria, which often focused on punctuation, spelling, and mechanics. 
– Learned to balance teacher-directed writing instruction with activities that encouraged critical thinking for and about writing.  


Conclusion and Discussion
Attending a class, a webinar, training, or workshop that includes a high level of active participation is valuable for teachers. In these types of information transmission models, high-leverage pedagogical shifts are advocated. However, to make such pedagogical shifts, and develop pedagogical content knowledge, practice-based collaborative inquiry models, like lesson study offer a clear advantage.  

Using Lesson Study and Design Research to develop Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Mathematics Teachers in Indonesia

Department of Mathematics Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Sriwijaya Indonesia

Since 1998 or about the last two decade, Indonesia has been reforming school mathematics using an instructional theory called Realistic Mathematics Education that has been started in the Netherlands. Indonesia adapted RME  into Indonesian version of RME called PMRI-Pendidikan Matematika Realistik Indonesia. As many countries in the world, Indonesia also uses Lesson Study approach to support teachers in improving the quality of their professional job. Despite the projects which bring these two innovations to Indonesia were over, they still continue both in the teacher educations and many schools.  


The aims of this paper to report the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating lesson materials using design research method and lesson study approach. Research suggests that a combination of design research on local instruction theories, and lesson studies that build on those theories might offer a powerful combination for improving mathematics education.  

Three cycle steps of design research are preliminary design, teaching experiments, and retrospective analyses. Similarly, three cycle steps of lesson study are planning the lesson, teaching experiment and reflection. Then, the process continues with the revision and the redesign of the lesson. Researchers in collaboration with teachers conducted the steps. 


Results or product of lesson study is not limited within what each participant learned from the class and the post-class thoughtful discussion. Each participant reproduces the level with their developed theories of practice in each of their contexts. On the personal meaning, their approaches are just a kind of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), which is working as their local theory on teaching in each of their practices.  Likewise,  the product of design research is the hypothetical learning trajectory (HLT) which in the end become a local instructional theory (LIT) of such chosen topic and context. 


During the conference,  some examples of lesson materials or HLT and  LIT as the results of design research and lesson study will be presented.  It will also be argued that the combination of the two approaches do support teachers in developing their PCK.  


Key words: Design Research,  Lesson Study, PCK, RME, HLT  

Working on a new grammar pedagogy to develop nuanced thinking about language in pre-university education

Astrid Wijnands,
Utrecht University of Applied Science, Raboud University Docentenacademie

Traditional L1 grammar teaching suggests that language consists of well-formed sentences only, which can be analyzed indisputably. However, the analysis of spoken or written language rather shows that most sentences are not so well-formed or easy to analyse (Coppen, 2010). The aim of my PhD-research is to teach students this language reality to stimulate them to adopt a more critical and reflective attitude towards grammar, enhancing their engagement with and proficiency in grammatical analysis (Fontich, 2014). To this end, I developed a new grammar pedagogy on basis of literature study. To study the implementation of this new grammar pedagogy, lesson studies were carried out within two professional learning communities, one in the Netherlands and one in Belgium (Flanders). In this presentation I will show how we gained insight in pupils learning during lesson study cycles and how we refined the grammar model.  



Traditional L1 grammar teaching suggests that language consists of well-formed sentences only, which can be analyzed indisputably. However, the analysis of spoken or written language rather shows that most sentences are not so well-formed or easy to analyze (Coppen, 2010). Teaching pupils this language reality may stimulate them to adopt a more critical and reflective attitude towards (prescriptive) grammar, enhancing their engagement with and proficiency in grammatical analysis. To achieve this, a more reflective pedagogical approach of language is necessary (Camps, 2014).  Considering that,  the aim of education at school is learning pupils how to access literate society (see Fontich, 2014: 279), pupils should develop their reflective abilities and higher order thinking skills to deal with the complexity of languages. Current traditional language education fails to even address these issues.  


On the basis of a literature study, we designed a new model for grammar pedagogy, in which we intend to stimulate and facilitate pupils’ linguistic awareness by using language advices and reference grammars to confront them with grammatical problems. The model is based on Moseley et al. (2005) concerning learning cognitive thinking and on the Reflective Judgment Model of King and Kitchener (1994). It enables pupils not only to develop their thinking skills in investigating language and to develop their epistemological attitude toward linguistic resources.  


This research is conducted in pre-university education in the Netherlands (5 vwo) and in Belgium (Flanders, 5 a.s.o.), guided by the research questions 
1. What are the design principles for a grammar pedagogy to stimulate and facilitate the development of reflective and cognitive thinking about language?
Which effects do we observe when pupils work within this pedagogical model? 


Two professional learning communities participated: one in Belgium/Flanders (3 teachers) and one in the Netherlands (5 teachers). In each community two lesson study cycles were carried out, in which we developed an assignment based on an ill-structured language problem.  Pupils (N=189) worked on an assignment in groups of three pupils with the discussion tool Backchannel Chat. The chats showed us their discussions about the linguistic problems and the steps they made to develop their thinking (King & Kitchener, 1994; Mercer, 2000; Moseley et al. 2005).  


The analysis of the data is still in progress. The data of all professional conversations during the cycles, as well as the chats, observations and interviews of the pupils will be entered into Atlas-Ti and relevant fragments will be classified and analyzed through processes of open and axial coding. The analysis will be theory-driven and data-driven. Preliminary results show that this approach seem to trigger pupils by confronting them with ill-structured language problems. The lessons developed appear to facilitate and stimulate pupils’ linguistic awareness and critical and reflective attitude to tackle language problems, but scaffolding is needed. By taking those problems from the perspectives of language reality, the standard language rules and their own language intuitions, pupils will discover the complexity of language and the tensions between the three perspectives. In my presentation, I will elaborate on the results.