Improving Teaching Does Improve Teachers: Evidence from Lesson Study

By Lewis, Catherine C.; Perry, Rebecca R. et al. | Journal of Teacher Education, November-December 2012 | Go to article overview

Improving Teaching Does Improve Teachers: Evidence from Lesson Study


Lewis, Catherine C., Perry, Rebecca R., Friedkin, Shelley, Roth, Jillian R., Journal of Teacher Education


We comment on three aspects of Hiebert and Morris's article, "Teaching, Rather Than Teachers, As a Path Toward Improving Classroom Instruction." First, we add modestly to their ideas about why teachers, instead of teaching, receive so much attention. Second, we support their call for a focus on improving teaching (we suggest teaching and learning), and we discuss evidence that such a focus improves teachers as well. Finally, we argue that teachers need practice-based, collegial learning structures.

Hiebert and Morris advance several explanations for the dominant focus on improving teachers (rather than teaching). We add one more explanation: policy makers' disappointment with many results of investments in instructional materials and interventions. A number of curricula "proven" effective in rigorous small-scale research have not succeeded when tried more broadly (e.g., What Works Clearinghouse, 2009, 2010). So, the logic goes, the problem is the quality of the educators who use these "proven" curricula and programs. However, many U.S. educators lack three very basic supports needed to implement any program well: high-quality instructional resources (especially teacher's manuals), practice-based opportunities to learn, and collegial learning that enables development of shared knowledge and commitment among teachers. Our research on U.S. lesson study shows that when such supports are made available to teachers, they are able to improve their knowledge, to build habits and dispositions that support improvement, and to improve student learning (Perry & Lewis, 2011).

A Brief Background on Lesson Study

Lesson study is an inquiry cycle conducted by a team of teachers that is centered around a "research lesson"--an actual classroom lesson designed to investigate and improve the teaching of a particular topic (Lewis & Hurd, 2011). During the research lesson, team members gather data on student thinking and learning, studying selected students to see how their thinking evolves (or fails to), and what aspects of the lesson design enhance or pose barriers to learning. Team members present these data during a postlesson discussion, drawing out implications for teaching and learning the specific topic and for teaching and learning more broadly.

In Japan, lesson study occurs as a school-based, district-based, and national activity, with the different layers working synergistically, to allow innovations to spread across the country through live public research lessons (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1997). The Japanese mathematics teaching through problem solving that attracted such attention through the 1999 Third International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS; StiLler & Hiebert, 1999) video study was developed, refined, and spread through public research lessons. In addition to spreading the annotated instructional plans highlighted by Hiebert and Morris, public research lessons provide an opportunity to see, critique, and refine how the plans are actually brought to life, to meet colleagues who can be called on when questions arise, and to build a shared commitment to the ongoing work of changing one's practice. For teachers, watching lessons from the student's perspective can build knowledge of student thinking and motivation to improve their own instruction. A Japanese teacher in her 10th year of teaching recalls how, early in her career, she cried after seeing a research lesson taught by her fellow first-grade teacher:

I felt so sorry for my own students. I thought their lives would have been so much better if they'd been in the other teacher's class. You realize you have had a big impact on your students. You see how authoritarian teachers have very quiet classes. Teachers who value students' ideas have very active classes. You see how teachers are creating a class, not just teaching a lesson. (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1997, p. 16)

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Three Supports Needed to Improve Teaching

Although Hiebert and Morris make the case that annotated instructional products and common assessments are needed to improve teaching, we identify an overlapping and somewhat broader set of supports, illustrated in Figure 1: high-quality instructional resources (including teacher's manual and assessments), structures for learning within practice, and collegial learning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Improving Teaching Does Improve Teachers: Evidence from Lesson Study
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.