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Teacher professional learning through lesson study: teachers' reflections

Alison Fox (School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Val Poultney (College of Arts, Humanities and Education, University of Derby, Derby, UK)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Article publication date: 28 August 2020



This study examines the experiences of five teachers working in two English secondary school subject departments after being given the opportunity to engage with Lesson Study (LS) to increase student performance in their subject areas. This study aimed to reveal the drivers for the teachers' engagement in LS, and how this experience of Joint Professional Development (JPD) might be contributing to their learning as teachers.


This study applies an analytic approach to evidencing teacher learning, based on the work of Knud Illeris, offering this as a methodological contribution to the field of professional development literature.


Findings reveal that, despite all the teachers developing a passion for learning through LS, there are constraints on its sustainability and impact which can be attributed to the teachers' broader contexts and which affected them differently. The constraints centre on tensions between priorities and agendas within and beyond the school, related largely to budgets and visions of staff development.

Research limitations/implications

This focused study on two subject departments engaging in LS limits its generalisability in terms of findings. However, the study offers a practical research application of a model of learning for analysis of teacher reflections on collaborative learning experiences.


Understanding individual teacher reflections on LS experiences is under-represented in the literature, in particular studies providing insights into conditions conducive and constraining to JPD.



The authors wish to thank those teachers and leaders who provided the data on which this paper is based, appreciating the time they gave to this research and the fullness of their reflections. The authors wanted to offer a platform for your voices, albeit anonymised, to share your excitement about Lesson Study more widely. The authors also want to recognise with respect the school and Alliance leaders who supported us during this research and hope that, despite highlighting limitations, they have not identified you as individuals, have offered explanations for the external and internal constraints within which you worked and used this analysis to generate useful recommendations for others to benefit from.


Fox, A. and Poultney, V. (2020), "Teacher professional learning through lesson study: teachers' reflections", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 397-412.



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