A design for teacher education based on a systematic framework of variation to link teaching with learners’ ways of experiencing the object of learning

Keith Wood (Institute of Education, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Publication date: 4 January 2013



The purpose of this paper is to address two questions: Can student teachers use variation theory to design and review lessons? Can exposure to variation in designs for lessons with the same intended object of learning develop student teachers understanding of design?


The student teachers were undertaking an English‐medium education degree, a feature of which was peer teaching, with the teachers collaborating planning, teaching and reflecting on lessons. A sample of individual student teachers’ written reflections on the design and effect of 15 lessons involving seven objects of learning was collected and analysed using a comparative method. The lesson designs in terms of the pattern of variation and critical aspects afforded, and the teachers’ evaluations of the lessons, are described.


Four critical cases show how variation in the enacted object of learning created by the student teachers in their lessons, and in the lived object of learning of their students, impacted on the lived object of learning to teach of those student teachers. In the design and enactment of their lessons, student teachers used variation to effect in ten out of 15 lessons taught.


The use of the variation framework appeared to be successful in varying what had previously been invariant for many student teachers, who had themselves been educated in teacher‐centric classrooms. Its use offered a systematic, evidence‐based approach to designing, teaching and reviewing lessons, and, therefore, an opportunity to integrate the roles of teacher and learner in pursuit of the object of learning. By specifying the variation framework as a design tool, and not a method of teaching, the opportunity is opened up for further critical investigation of its usefulness in initial teacher education.



Wood, K. (2013), "A design for teacher education based on a systematic framework of variation to link teaching with learners’ ways of experiencing the object of learning", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 56-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/20468251311290132

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