Slide 1

Lesson Study – an Introduction
“Being here with you Felicia, with the stars
twinkling high above, and the moon shining
down upon us, I realize more than I ever did
before, how little I know about astronomy.”
From “teaching as telling” to “teaching for
What is Lesson Study?
A systematic inquiry into teaching
Lesson study is an ongoing
practice used in schools
throughout Japan in which
teachers collaborate to plan,
observe, and refine a lesson.
Teachers’ Activities to Improve Instruction
Choose curriculum,
write curriculum,
align curriculum,
write local
Plan lessons
Plan lessons collaboratively
Watch and discuss each other’s
classroom lessons
“Successful teachers are effective in
spite of the psychological theories they
suffer under.”
Educational Proverb
The pervasive concern with student learning
throughout lesson study distinguishes it from
other types of teaching improvement activities. In
lesson study, teachers:
• Base the lesson design on their ideas about how
students learn
• Observe student learning when the lesson is taught
• Analyze observations of student learning after the
lesson is taught
• Use information about student learning to revise
the lesson.
Lesson Study differs from:
•Lesson planning
•Curriculum writing
•Demonstration lessons
•Basic research
Professional Development
Begins with answer
Begins with question
Driven by expert
Driven by participants
trainer -> teachers
Communication among
Relationships hierarchical
Relationship reciprocal
Research informs practice
Practice is research
By Lynn Liptak, Paterson School #2, New Jersey.
How is lesson study different from the
planning that my colleagues and I already do?
While planning units and activities is part of lesson study, it is
only one aspect of the process. Lesson Study also
encompasses observing students, testing new ideas,
discussing beliefs about learning and reflecting on specific
episodes of teaching. Lesson study enables teachers to learn
from their practice and to share professional knowledge.
Lesson Study Provides Opportunities to:
Think Deeply About Long-term Goals for Students
Carefully Consider the Goals of a Particular Content Area,
Unit, and Lesson
Study the Best Available Lessons
Plan Lessons that Bring to Life both Short-term and Longterm goals
Deepen Subject Matter Knowledge
Develop Instructional Knowledge
Build Capacity for Collegial Learning
Develop the “Eyes to See Students”
Seeing something once is
more important than
discussing it one hundred
What is a Research Lesson?
Actual classroom lesson with students, watched
by other teachers
Planned for a long time, collaboratively
Brings to life a goal or vision of education
Recorded: video, audio, student work
Discussed by faculty and sometimes outside
2. Develop Student
Learning Goals
1. Form a Team
Lesson Study Cycle
5. Teach
6. Gather Evidence
of Student
7. Analyze
Evidence of
4. Plan the
8. Reflect and
3. Research
10. Teach the
9. Revise
“What’s a successful research lesson? It’s not
so much what happens in the research lesson
itself that makes it successful or unsuccessful.
It is what you learned working with your
colleagues on the way there.”
- A Japanese teacher
1. Form a Team
• Groups of three to six people from the same discipline form a
2. Develop Student Learning Goals
• Team members discuss what they would like students to
learn as a result of the lesson.
• The learning goal is the backbone of a lesson and provides
the “reason” for teaching and observing it.
Be sure to consider how you will measure your goal- can you
state it as a testable question?
3. Plan the Research Lesson
• Teachers design a lesson to achieve the learning goals,
anticipating how students will respond.
Do Lesson Study groups have to
invent a new lesson?
• Whenever possible, groups should build on the
best available lessons, rather than writing a lesson
from scratch.
A library of lessons is a by-product of Lesson
Study, not the goal.
4. Figure out logistics
• Decide when to meet to plan, teach and observe the lesson.
5. Gather Evidence of Student Learning
• One team member teaches the lesson while others observe,
collecting evidence of student learning.
6. Analyze Evidence of Student Learning
• The team discusses the results and assesses student’s
progress made toward learning goals.
7. Revise the Process
• The group revises the lesson, repeating steps 2-5 as
necessary, and shares findings.
8. Repeat the Process
“The illiterate of the 21st century will
not be those who cannot read and
write, but those who cannot learn,
unlearn, and relearn.”
-Alvin Toffler
What Next?
Suggested Steps:
Lesson Study Resources
Lesson Study: A Handbook of Teacher-Led Instructional Change
Catherine Lewis (2002)
Teacher to Teacher: Reshaping Instruction Through Lesson Study
Jan Gahala, Ruth O’Brien and Linda Schuch, Eds. (2002)
Lesson Study: Teachers Learning Together, Northwest Teacher,
Spring 2001
The Lesson Study Research Group at Teachers College/Columbia
University in New York
Global Education Resources
Lesson Study for College Teachers

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