Sustaining High Quality Professional Learning: Japanese Lesson Study

Sustaining High Quality Professional Learning: Japanese Lesson Study

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4622-2.ch004

Abstract

This chapter first explains the essential features of Japanese Lesson Study and then examines the advantages of using JLS as a model of professional learning. It asks the readers to consider if their own model is sustainable and connected to classroom practice. This chapter also explains the challenges of using JLS in the culture of the United States.
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Introduction

Teachers’ beliefs and commitments are the greatest influence on student achievement.

-John Hattie

As stated previously, teacher professional development is driven by the need both to extend and renew teacher practice and content knowledge (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012; Doig & Groves, 2011; Scanlon et.al., 2005; Desjean-Perrotta & Buehler, 2000). However, research suggests that despite time and effort put into professional development for teachers, the outcomes are not always as teachers had hoped. Reporting on findings from a large- scale study of secondary mathematics teachers, found that much professional development is not effective (Ingvarson, Beavis, Bishop, Peck, & Elsworth (2004). Further, Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andre, Richardson, and Orphanos (2009) suggest that U.S. teachers do not engage in professional collaboration around curriculum content planning. After examining the findings from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), Stigler and Hiebert (1999) concluded that American teaching has no system in place for getting better. A critical component of educational reform efforts should encourage sustained critique of pedagogical practice (Fullan, 2007; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1996). “Lesson Study”, a model for professional learning, has been used for over a century in Japan (Makinae, 2010). This method has been examined for global applications in teacher education and training models.

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Sustaining High Quality Professional Development Through Lesson Study

Japanese Lesson Study, as a method of professional development, may be a way to encourage sustained professional learning for teachers. While studies primarily focus on mathematics, JLS has a capacity to affect instruction in all content areas. JLS encourage teachers to develop their own learning communities, reflecting on teaching practices and content. This type of learning community is a necessary component today, as the teaching profession has become more demanding. The Common Core State Standards put in place by many states in 2010 warrant a necessity to begin to study instruction as it happens in the classroom setting while putting the new standards in practice. Additionally, districts have begun to infuse technology into the classroom, placing more demands on teachers to engage students though the use of technology. Classroom instruction has adapted to address changes to curriculum that is more rigorous and structured around 21st Century learning skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

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