Lesson Study: A Japanese Approach to Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning

By Clea Fernandez; Makoto Yoshida | Go to book overview

2
An Overview of Lesson Study

Lesson study is a direct translation for the Japanese term jugyokenkyu, which is composed of two words: jugyo, which means lesson, and kenkyu, which means study or research. As denoted by this term, lesson study consists of the study or examination of teaching practice. How do Japanese teachers examine their teaching through lesson study? They engage in a well-defined process that involves discussing lessons that they have first planned and observed together. These lessons are called kenkyujugyo, which is simply a reversal of the term jugyokenkyu and thus literally means study or research lessons, or more specifically lessons that are the object of one's study. Study lessons are “studied” by carrying out the steps described next in an attempt to explore a research goal that the teachers have chosen to work on (e.g., understanding how to encourage students to be autonomous learners).


THE LESSON STUDY PROCESS

Step 1: Collaboratively Planning the Study Lesson

Work on a study lesson begins by teachers coming together to plan the lesson. This planning is of a meticulous and collaborative nature. Teachers share their ideas for how best to design the lesson by drawing on their past experiences, observations of their current students, their teacher's guide, their textbooks, and other resource books. The end product of this first step is a lesson plan that describes in detail the design that the group has settled on for their lesson.


Step 2: Seeing the Study Lesson in Action

The next step is for one of the teachers in the group to teach the lesson to his or her students. This implementation is of a public nature because it involves the other teachers as observers. These observers come to the lesson

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