Lesson study: enhancing mathematics teaching and learning

David Burghes

Derek Robinson

This report looks at lesson study, a school-based professional development initiative that aims to enhance teaching and learning through the methodology of professional sharing of practice.

A group of teachers collaborate, identifying a research theme or overarching aim that is student centred and relates to the school’s vision of what qualities they wish to encourage in their students. Having decided on the overarching aim, the group meet to plan a research lesson that will bring this aim to life.
The team now follow the process summarised below:

  • choose a suitable topic to study;
  • identify the goals of the unit of study;
  • jointly map out a series of lessons that will achieve these goals;
  • identify the key lesson in this series which then becomes the research lesson;
  • jointly plan the research lesson;
  • one of the group teaches the lesson;
  • the others observe the lesson;
  • review and reflect on the lesson;
  • revise the lesson plan and continue the cycle.

Ultimately the group will produce well-tried and tested lesson plans, contributing to both the chosen research theme and the topic under study. It is an excellent form of CPD (continuing professional development), which has the potential to make real improvements to teaching and learning that are sustainable and not just short-term gains. This is, in part, due to the fact that the teachers are dealing with their own classrooms and their own students rather than theoretical situations with virtual students, the model used for much CPD work in the past two or three decades.