Featured symposia

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

School-wide implementation of Lesson Study: an international perspective

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


Siebrich de Vries, University of Groningen;
Fenna Wolthuis, University of Groningen.


Sarah Seleznyov, London South Teaching School Alliance


Irene Stone, St Marks Community School;
Elaine Wilson, University of Cambrigde;
Tauilya Akimova, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools Kazakhsthan;
Sita Remesar, Vossius Gymnasium;
Martina Drieling, Vossius Gymnasium;
Tirza Bosma, VU Amsterdam;
Jennifer Pang, Singapore;
Siah Siew Ling, Singapore;
Jiang Heng, National Institute of Education Singapore;
Christine Kim-Eng Lee, National Institute of Education, Singapore.

Lesson Study shows great potential to support both teacher and student learning in countries outside of Japan. However, 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.

General summary

As the global spread of Lesson Study continues, more and more countries around the world are able to experience the potential Lesson Study offers to strengthen and support education. However, while in Japan Lesson Study is sustainably embedded into the educational system, in new contexts Lesson Study initiatives are often short-lived and simplified versions of the practice. As such, implementing and sustaining new Lesson Study initiatives requires a crafting process. Educators need to construct with care both the understanding and implementation of the Lesson Study cycle and the organizational structures that support Lesson Study.

In Japan, Lesson Study has been practiced for over a century and Lesson Study is both well-understood and well-supported in schools (Akiba, 2016; Lewis, 2015). Lesson Study is seen as a way to enhance curriculum knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge (Yoshida, 2012). During Lesson Study, teachers go through a plan-do-study-act cycle to investigate their research theme. Japanese scholars stress that studying curriculum materials and inviting knowledgeable others are important elements of the cycle (Fujii, 2014; Takahashi & McDougal, 2016). In addition, Japan has an extensive infrastructure supporting the improvement of teaching through Lesson Study on a national, district, and local level (Hiebert & Stigler, 2017). For example, at the school level, Lesson Study is sustained through various organizational structures, such as being well-planned into teachers work schedules (Akiba, 2016).

In countries outside of Japan, Lesson Study is a new practice. Research shows that Lesson Study can be interpreted differently and used for other purposes than in Japan. The research cycle can also differ from the Japanese cycle. For example, some versions add a specific focus on case pupils or remove the presence of knowledgeable others (Dudley, 2011; Seleznyov, 2018). Moreover, countries new to Lesson Study vary in the extent to which they already have the required infrastructure to support collaborative learning in schools and in whether they set this up once they adopt Lesson Study.

To understand how international Lesson Study can move beyond the simplified and shortened versions of the practice, we will be four countries (Ireland, Kazachstan, the Netherlands, Singapore) presenting from our own perspective on how Lesson Study is understood, implemented, and organized. Schools from each context will answer the following questions:

  • How has Lesson Study been adopted and with what purpose?
  • (How) Does the research cycle used deviate from Japanese Lesson Study and why?
  • How is Lesson Study organized into our educational setting?
  • What are challenges and successes of working with and organizing Lesson Study in schools?


In the symposium the different approaches will be presented and critically compared and discussed with the public.


Structure of the session:

Chair  – 3 min.

Presenter 1 from Ireland – 15 min.

Presenter 2 from Kazachstan – 15 min.

Presenter 3 from the Netherlands – 15 min.

Presenter 4 from Singapore – 15 min.

Discussant – 15 min

Q&A – 12 min

Lesson Study in Ireland

The Lesson-Study programme I am involved with focuses on developing teachers’ craft in teaching mathematics through structured problem solving. It is closely aligned with the Japanese model. I have been involved in three Lesson-Study cycles as a post-primary mathematics teacher and as a facilitator – in a national Lesson-Study programme run by the Professional Development Service for Teachers in Ireland. A Lesson-Study cycle comprises 5 x 2.5 hour meetings (which happen in teachers’ own professional time) followed by teaching and observation of the research lesson and finally by a post-lesson discussion meeting (which happens in school time).

Through collaborating with colleagues during the Lesson-Study cycle, we have become reflective in our practice and strengthened our professional relationships. Trust has developed among us to the point where we feel able to constructively critique the lesson in the post lesson reflection. The process has allowed us to have ownership of our own professional development as we are focusing on areas that are relevant to our own context. Our subject knowledge has improved through our shared study of primary and post-primary curricula. We believe that Lesson Study has a role in supporting teachers to be lifelong learners and can help implement education policy in other areas.

Lesson Study in Kazachstan

Kazakhstan has been engaged in a whole county programme of education development since 2011. This has included extending teaching and learning approaches. To facilitate this the Government set up the Centre of Excellence (CoE).  Their focus has been to increase pedagogical knowledge and opportunities for teacher collaboration leading to collective inquiry. Lesson Study forms a key driver in this process.

Kazakh teachers have a long history of ‘open lessons’ where teachers invite colleagues to view their lesson. Lesson Study has extended this by using Pete Dudley’s model of teachers working together to plan a lesson with one or two pupils’ learning in mind, and a review which focusses on learning rather than behaviour.

Lesson study is now used widely in schools in Kazakhstan as part of ongoing school improvement.  Teacher groups carry out collective inquiry and this promotes critical reflective practice.  Many teachers have published papers about their Lesson Studies and contributed to WALS conferences.

Lesson Study has shifted teachers’ focus onto pupils’ learning and has increased knowledge sharing and improved pedagogical content knowledge. The main constraints have been in allocating time for planning and review. When done in haste there is a tendency for teachers to lack criticality.

Lesson Study at the Vossius Gymnasium in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Vossius Gymnasium is a secondary school with one type of education: gymnasium. Regarding academic achievement, student satisfaction and reported wellbeing, results are above average compared to schools with a similar student population.

We were introduced to the method of Lesson Study while participating in a program of the Dutch Ministry of Education. Despite the positive school reports, school staff felt the need to differentiate the instruction to the student’s needs and became aware that our students weren’t all alike. There was a variety, or better, diversity in their learning needs, skills and motivation per subject.

Starting off with a pilot in 2015 of volunteering teachers expressing their desire to develop their didactic and pedagogical skills, more and more teachers of our school became interested and enthusiastic. Motivation for teachers to participate was in particular the collaboration between colleagues, the shared feedback and support that developed between colleagues .

We can certainly conclude that LS has been a successful, sustainable development in our school, amplifying the sense of togetherness in an environment where autonomy and competence already existed. The current year we participate with the VU university in a LS program regarding group dynamical situations.  LS enhancing an ongoing movement.

The case of a primary school in Singapore

Lesson Study has gained significant momentum worldwide in the past decade. As a professional learning approach based on collaboration and deliberate practice, Lesson Study supports teachers to develop expertise in knowledge, beliefs, and practices as well as facilitating focused conversations and reflections in the professional community. Lesson Study is a cultural activity and is embedded in Japanese schools for over a hundred years. How schools outside of Japan strategically adopt and adapt Lesson Study to their cultural contexts remain elusive. This presentation attempts to unpack the complexity of Lesson Study implementation in one elementary school in Singapore. Lesson Study was selected as part of its Professional Development framework to bring about quality teaching. It affords the platform for the school to make a major shift towards ‘Collaborative Inquiry’ as school-wide pedagogy for student engagement. Moving teachers from compliance to commitment, to “knowing”, “doing” and “being” in this process requires painstaking efforts and collaboration beyond the school. This process is iterative as we learn from challenges, mistakes and ideas such as Fullan’s “triangle of success” (2008) – school leadership, system-ness and deep pedagogy to inform our work as we move towards a sustainable model of Lesson Study implementation in the school.


Akiba, M. (2016). Traveling teacher professional development model: Local interpretation and adaptation of lesson study in the U.S. In F. Astiz, & M. Akiba (Eds.), The global and the local: New perspectives in comparative education (pp. 77-97). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Dudley, P. (2011). Lesson study: A handbook. (). Retrieved from http://lessonstudy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/new-handbook-revisedMay14.pdf

Fujii, T. (2014). Implementing japanese lesson study in foreign countries: Misconceptions revealed. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 16(1), 65-83.

Fullan, M. (2008). The “Triangle of Success”. Presented at International Education Leaders’ Dialogue, Melbourne, Australia.

Hiebert, J., & Stigler, J. W. (2017). Teaching versus teachers as a lever for change: Comparing a japanese and a U.S. perspective on improving instruction. Educational Researcher, 46(4), 169-176. doi:https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X17711899

Lewis, C. (2015). What is improvement science? do we need it in education? Educational Researcher, 44(1), 54-61. doi:https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X15570388

Seleznyov, S. (2018). Lesson study: An exploration of its translation beyond japan. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 7(3), 217-229.

Takahashi, A., & McDougal, T. (2016). Collaborative lesson research: Maximizing the impact of lesson study. Zdm, 48(4), 513-526. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-015-0752-x

Yoshida, M. (2012). Mathematics lesson study in the united states: Current status and ideas for conducting high quality and effective lesson study. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 1(2), 140-152.

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

Iris Uffen, University of Groningen;
Siebrich de Vries, University of Groningen;
Sui Lin Goei, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam;
Klaas van Veen, University of Groningen;
Nellie Verhoef, University of Twente;
Roelof Datema, CSG de Kluiverboom;
Henk Lammerts, CSG de Kluivervoom;
Andrea Grüber, CSG Augustinus;
Sebastiaan van den Berg, CSG Augustinus;
Ritske Tulner, CSG Augustinus


Elaine Munthe

Siebrich de Vries


Implementing Lesson Study – or any other professional development practice – often leads to a variety of actual practices in different school contexts, which often does not immediately lead to positive results for every teacher. A challenge lies in not to give up, but to analyze instead the implementation process thoroughly to make informed decisions how to adapt Lesson Study to the own school context. In this featured symposium, a research team from the Dutch Lesson Study consortium (Lesson Study NL) and school-based Lesson Study facilitators from two secondary schools share how they are collaborating on understanding the process of implementing Lesson Study in their schools, and what they have learned so far.

General summary

Implementation of professional development practices are complex processes that lead to a variety of actual practices in different school contexts (Bryk, 2015; März, Gaikhorst, Mioch, Weijers, & Geijsel, 2017). When schools implement Lesson Study this is no different, not least because Lesson Study in itself is a complex learning activity of which many aspects appear to be interpreted in various ways outside of Japan (Fujii, 2014). This stresses the importance that if schools want to adopt Lesson Study they have to examine how Lesson Study fits to their own context. A challenge lies in not to give up when Lesson Study does not readily provide positive results for every participant as this seems rather logical and predictable than exceptional when schools experiment with professional development practices that are new to them (Bryk, 2015; Desimone & Stuckey, 2014). Instead, it is helpful to analyze the implementation process thoroughly to make informed decisions how to adapt Lesson Study to the own school context. This may prevent schools from falling into a pattern wherein they put a lot of energy into implementing professional development practices, discarding these practices when results are not forthcoming, adopting a new practice, and hitting the same brick unknowingly (Bryk, 2015, p.468).


In this symposium, a research team and two secondary schools in the North of the Netherlands share how they collaborate on implementing and on gaining an in-depth understanding of Lesson Study in their own school contexts. The collaboration is based on principles of practice-driven evaluation (for example: van Yperen & Veerman, 2007), which means that the aim is that the used research methods provide insights that are immediately applicable to support schools in embedding Lesson Study in their school context.


In the first presentation, we share a developed evaluation protocol in which we indicate five main mechanisms that contribute to informed decision making about effectively adapting Lesson Study to the own school context(based on März et al., 2017), and thus are important to understand. The five main mechanisms are:


1) the extent to which Lesson Study teams focus on core educational processes and student learning,

2) the extent to which the teams stick to the core principles of the Lesson Study cycle (mainly based on De Vries et al., 2016 and Takahashi & McDougal, 2016),

3) how teachers experience and perceive (the value of) Lesson Study,

4) what structural conditions are met, and

5) the characteristics of executive leadership.


In the second and the third presentation, school-based Lesson Study facilitators of both secondary schools share – through the framework of the developed evaluation protocol – how the implementation process works in their schools, what challenges they face during the implementation, what they have learned so far when evaluating this process, and what informed decisions they take when adapting Lesson Study to the own school context.

Making sense of the process of implementing Lesson Study: first steps to success

The Dutch Lesson Study consortium (Lesson Study NL) received a research grant in 2017 to investigate the working elements of Lesson Study and the effects on teacher learning in collaboration with five secondary schools. These schools’ long term goal of implementing Lesson Study is to positively impact teacher learning and with it educational improvement by implementing a Lesson Study cycle that fits the schools context.

The schools have varying contexts and they are provided with the Dutch version of the Lesson Study practice (adapted from Stepanek et al., 2007 and Dudley, 2014). The extent to which teachers perceive and experience (the value of) Lesson Study seemingly depends on how they interpret and execute Lesson Study and on the extent to which the Lesson Study practice is understood within the schools own context and adjusted accordingly (Bryk, 2015). In this presentation, we share a developed evaluation protocol which maps these processes of teachers and other important mechanisms such as structural conditions, leadership and the features of the Lesson Study process, to support high-quality implementation (based on research by März et al., 2017).

Lesson Study in different school contexts: lessons learned from practice

School-based Lesson Study facilitators from two participating secondary schools share their experiences regarding implementing Lesson Study. Both schools have different contexts: the smaller school (approximately 25 teachers, and 200 students, age 12-16) offers professional education, and the larger school (approximately 80 teachers, and 1250 students, age 12-18) offers general education.

The school-based facilitators share how they implement Lesson Study, what the schools’ significant features of the Lesson Study practices are, which conditions supported or made it more difficult to perform Lesson Study, what teachers learned so far and what they learned on how to strengthen the implementation process of Lesson Study.


Bryk, A.S. (2015). Accelerating how we learn to improve. Educational Researcher, 44(9), 467–477.

Coburn, C., Russell, J., Kaufman, J., & Stein, M. (2012). Supporting sustainability: Teachers’ advice networks and ambitious instructional reform. American Journal of Education, 119(1), 137-182.

Fujii, T. (2014b). Implementing Japanese Lesson Study in foreign countries: Misconceptions revealed. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 16(1), 65–83.

März, V., Gaikhorst, L., Mioch, R., Weijers, D., & Geijsel, F. P. (2017). Van acties naar interacties. Een overzichtsstudie naar de rol van professionele netwerken bij duurzame onderwijsvernieuwing. [From actions to interaction. A review on the role of professional networks in sustainable educational reform]. Amsterdam/Diemen: RICDE, Universiteit van Amsterdam/NSO-CNA Leiderschapsacademie.

Stepanek, J., Appel, G., Leong, M., Mangan, M.T., & Mitchell, M. (2007). Leading Lesson Study. A practical guide for teachers and facilitators. Thousand Oaks, California, USA: Corwin Press.

Takahashi, A., & McDougal, T. (2016). Collaborative lesson research: Maximizing the impact of lesson study. Zdm: Mathematics Education, 48(4), 513-526.

Veerman, J., & Yperen, T. (2007). Degrees of freedom and degrees of certainty: A developmental model for the establishment of evidence-based youth care. Evaluation and Program Planning, 30, 212-221.

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.


Siebrich de Vries, University of Groningen

Stéphane Clivaz, Lausanne University of Teacher Education

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.

General summary

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). Lesson Study in China originated in ITE, where student teachers learned the teaching profession together with their experienced colleagues through Lesson Studies (Huang & Shimizu, 2016). In contemporary Japanese teacher training LS is also incorporated, for example, as a form of final assessment in which the student teacher individually prepares a lesson that he/she then conducts, and on which the student teacher receives comments and suggestions for improvement from an internal or external professional mentor (Chichibu, 2016). For Lesson Study in ITE elsewhere in the world there are different variants, for example, in terms of team composition: teams of student teachers only (Chew, 2013; Lamb, 2015), teams of student teachers with an experienced teacher and teacher educator as knowledgeable others (Amador & Weiland, 2015), and duos of a student teacher with the school-based mentor, where the mentor gives the first research lesson and the student teacher the second (Cajkler & Wood, 2016). Other variations in implementation are that the research lesson is prepared during the lectures and given during internship (Mostofo & Zambo, 2015), or that the research lesson is not conducted at school with pupils, but that the entire Lesson Study takes place during the lectures at the teacher training institute (Myers, 2013). Further research is required on the implementation of Lesson Study in ITE to explore the features which encourage learning for student teachers (Larssen et al. 2018; Ponte, 2017).


In this symposium, we discuss how Lesson Study  is presently incorporated in ITE in different cultural contexts, how adaptations used in ITE contexts, the challenges that its 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 then critically compared and discussed with the public.


Structure of the session:

Chair  – 3 min.

Presenter 1 from Ireland – 15 min.

Presenter 2 from Japan – 15 min.

Presenter 3 from the Netherlands – 15 min.

Presenter 4 from Norway – 15 min.

Discussant – 15 min

Q&A – 12 min


Lesson Study (LS) is gaining traction in the Irish educational landscape. This is evident in the uptake of initiatives by Irish professional development bodies charged with the continuing professional development of teachers and in the increasing number of masters and doctoral theses focusing on Lesson Study. One factor supporting this growth in engagement with Lesson Study is the prominence of Lesson Study in Initial Teacher Education in primary and post-primary contexts. This presentation reports on Lesson Study initiatives with over 500 pre-service primary and post-primary teachers in MIC-University of Limerick, Dublin City University and University College Dublin. We describe some of the outcomes of engaging in Lesson Study in ITE which include bridging the theory-to-practice gap, promoting noticing and reflection, developing content and pedagogical content knowledge. We also report on the affordances and constraints of the variants of Lesson Study in use in ITE contexts in Ireland and provide recommendations for further developing its use within the Irish educational context.


As a national educational policy in Japan, the Ministry of Education officially recognizes the concept of curriculum management, including lesson study, in the documents concerning school management as a nationwide standard. Lesson study in Japan, from the perspective of curriculum management, has been enthusiastically discussed as the key concept of the new national curriculum guidelines for 2020. Lesson study is well organized to contribute to developing school curriculums, deepening educational instruction and improving the quality of teachers. In addition, for initial teacher education (ITE), the compatibility between lesson study and knowledge management has been effective with an emphasis on the SECI model and KJ method. In Japanese teacher’s society, the KJ method is commonly used in the post-discussion after the lesson observation and even during it. This is a methodology fitting with ITE. The ITE often consists of personal thinking (Internalization/socialization), group thinking (externalization) and holistic thinking (combination) with the SECI model and KJ method. It is common that individual teaching experiences are shared with others (initial /veteran teachers) and the ideas of the group are organized. This presentation will elucidate the details of this process.

The Netherlands

In the Dutch context, educational research is seen as an engine for innovation and practical improvement. Teachers of the future are viewed as self-responsible and have decision-making power. They use educational research and do practical research themselves to develop their practice and vision. To develop knowledge and skills to be able to conduct practical research for the benefit of professionalization and practical improvement, the University of Groningen has opted for Lesson Study (LS) in ITE. In recent years, experience has been gained with various forms of LS in ITE: a variation in which three student teachers who share the same subject matter work together, and a form in which student teachers work together with experienced subject teachers at their school practice. In school year 2018-2019 school, all 120 students of the teacher training program carry out LS: the majority of the student teachers in the first variant, supervised by trained teacher educators, and some 10 student teachers in the second variant, in the context of a school-university partnership, supervised by trained mentors, and where their subject matter teacher educators can be consulted as knowledgeable others. The experiences and outcomes gathered this year will be reported at the WALS 2019 in Amsterdam.


From 2018, all students enroll on a 5-year Masters course in ITE course in Norway. The motivation for this extensively discussed change by the Ministry of Education, comes in part from the idea that schools need to become learning communities (OECD) if they are to be able to succeed in offering equal opportunities to an increasingly more diverse population of pupils. Therefore, our students need to be able to access and make use of others’ research but also be able to take part and share the results of small-scale classroom-based research in their schools.

In order to develop their research skills but also to give them a deeper awareness of the connections between teaching and pupil learning, 3 groups of teacher educators in English as a foreign language (BA & MA level), Physical education (BA level) and Mathematics (MA level) have embedded lesson study in their courses to support these aims. The approach that we use is loosely based on Dudley’s model and includes case pupil close observation and two repeated lessons. However, we have also been developing additional tools of recorded summaries and critical questions which support noticing and reflection and these will be described as part of the symposium.


Amador, J., & Weiland, I. (2015). What preservice teachers and knowledgeable others professionally notice during lesson study. The Teacher Educator50, 109-126.

Cajkler, W., & Wood, P. (2016). Adapting ‘lesson study’ to investigate classroom pedagogy in initial teacher education: what student-teachers think. Cambridge Journal of Education, 46(1), 1-18.

Chew, C. M. (2013). Learning to design geometer’s sketchpad activities for teaching mathematics through lesson study. Asia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 1(1), 62-74.

Chichibu, T. (2016). Impact on lesson study for initial teacher training in Japan: focus on mentor roles and kyouzai-kenkyuu. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies5, 155-168.

Huang, R., & Shimizu, Y. (2016). Improving teaching, developing teachers and teacher educators, and linking theory and practice through lesson study in mathematics: an international perspective. ZDM Mathematics Education, 48, 393-409.

Lamb, P. (2015). Peer-learning between pre-service teachers: Embracing Lesson Study. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 4, 343-361.

Larssen, D., Wasyl Cajkler, Reidar Mosvold, Raymond Bjuland, Nina Helgevold, Janne Fauskanger, Phil Wood, et al. 2018. “A literature review of lesson study in initial teacher education: Perspectives about learning and observation.”  International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies 7 (1): 8-22.

Mostofo, J., & Zambo, R. (2015). Improving instruction in the mathematics methods classroom through action research. Educational Action Research, 23, 497-513.

Myers, J. (2013). Creating reflective practitioners with preservice lesson study. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning8(1), 1-9.

Ponte, J. P. 2017. “Lesson studies in initial mathematics teacher education.” International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies 6 (2): 169-181.

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.