Mentors and student-teachers “lesson studying” in initial teacher education

Wasyl Cajkler (School of Education, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)
Phil Wood (School of Education, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Publication date: 11 April 2016



The purpose of this paper is to study an adapted version of lesson used with mentors and student-teachers in a one-year initial teacher education (ITE) programme for prospective teachers of geography and modern languages. In partnership with eight secondary schools, the effectiveness of the lesson study cycle was evaluated as a vehicle for exploration of approaches to aid student-teacher learning during school placements.


In total, 12 lesson study case studies were completed and analysed.


Three principal findings emerged: first, most collaborating mentors and student-teachers reported that they engaged in a reflexive process, exploring the complexity of teaching, each learning more about the characteristics of teaching; second, in cases where collaboration allowed student-teachers a degree of autonomy, lesson study provided a collaborative scaffold for understanding the complexity of teaching, contributing to professional development along a continuum which the authors tentatively term “pedagogic literacy”; third and less positively, some mentors struggled to shed the shackles of traditional roles, dominating the discourse as advice-givers so that a traditional “parallel” approach to mentoring continued.


The work expands the experiential base of lesson study efforts in ITE in the UK and elaborates a view of teacher learning that challenges reductive approaches to the preparation of new teachers. For the first time, it presents student-teacher and mentor perspectives on the use of lesson study in teaching practice in England.



Wasyl Cajkler and Phil Wood (2016) "Mentors and student-teachers “lesson studying” in initial teacher education", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 84-98

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