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Student voice in Lesson Study as a space for EFL teachers’ learning: a case study in Kazakhstan

Olga Khokhotva (Faculty of Psychology and Education, Deustuko Unibersitatea , Bilbao, Spain)
Iciar Elexpuru Albizuri (Faculty of Psychology and Education, Deustuko Unibersitatea , Bilbao, Spain)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Article publication date: 2 January 2020

Issue publication date: 31 March 2020




The purpose of this paper is to report the findings from a case study of an action research project in the context of a secondary school in Kazakhstan where, for the first time in their teaching practice, three English as a Foreign Language teachers introduced student voice (Flutter and Rudduck, 2004) into their practice within the Lesson Study (LS) framework. The research aimed at conceptualizing Student Voice Space in LS as one of the valuable factors capable of triggering situations of disjuncture (disorienting dilemma, disruption) for teachers which could potentially lead to teacher’s transformative learning, educational beliefs change and improved practice.


The study adopts the qualitative research design and follows narrative inquiry methodology (Lyons and LaBoskey, 2002) with a series of narrative interviews (Bauer, 1996) as the main method of data collection within a single case study (Bassey, 1999) of an action research project. The data were analyzed as text following a general inductive approach (Thomas, 2003) where emerging themes were identified by means of data reduction.


The findings suggest that listening to student voice triggers teachers’ going through certain stages of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory including critical assessment of own assumptions, testing new options for behavior and reflecting critically on the teaching practice. Therefore, the authors suggest that Student Voice Space in LS is one of the important factors capable of triggering the teacher’s transformative learning. Moreover, it has an enormous potential not only to bring about positive changes in teachers’ practice but also challenge the ossified teachers’ educational beliefs, and thus, potentially, pave the way for a gradual change from “inappropriate beliefs” (Mayrhofer, 2019), or subconscious assumptions that lie in the core of teachers’ folk pedagogies (Torff, 1999), or taken-for-granted frames of reference (Mezirow, 2000) into true, justified or informed educational beliefs.

Research limitations/implications

Further analysis of teachers’ narratives is required to elicit and categorize reported changes (shifts, transformations) concerning specific teachers’ educational beliefs, and draw a more clear line between student voice and its impact on the research lesson planning and its modification in LS. Finally, a supplementary study utilizing classroom observation methods is needed to explore if student voice intervention results in tangible (actual) changes in teachers’ classroom practice and educational beliefs, rather than potential transformations that are mainly reported in this study.


Carried out in the largely overlooked by the academic literature context of the Reform at Scale (Wilson et al., 2013) in Kazakhstan and building on the original combination of theoretical lenses, the research contributes to the academic literature aiming at illuminating “the black box of teachers’ learning” in Lesson Study (in Widjaja et al., 2017, p.358) since it is one of the rare studies attempting to connect teacher learning, student voice and Lesson Study (Warwick et al., 2019). Additionally, approaching teacher learning in Lesson Study from the transformative learning perspective combined with the literature on teachers’ educational beliefs and student voice, this study contributes to the further development of a shared vocabulary for discussing teacher learning in Lesson Study.



This part of the PhD project could never have seen the light without the authors’ three enthusiastic colleagues, life-long learners and hard-working professionals who had agreed not only to open the doors of their classrooms for the author but also their hearts and minds. Also, the author would like to thank the authors’ supervisor and co-author for the patient guidance, encouragement and advice she has provided throughout the writing process, and the University of Deusto for providing the financial aid through the FPI grant. This research came to light owing to the financial aid provided by the University of Deusto (Vizkaya, Spain) through FPI scholarship.

Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the article Olga Khokhotva and Iciar Elexpuru Albizuri “Student voice in Lesson Study as a space for EFL teachers’ learning: a case study in Kazakhstan” published in the International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies had an error in Author Biography section. The biography for Iciar Elexpuru Albizuri should be corrected to “Iciar Elexpuru Albizuri, the researcher, is a professor in Curriculum Development at the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain.” This error was introduced by the authors and has now been corrected in the online version. The authors sincerely apologise for this.


Khokhotva, O. and Elexpuru Albizuri, I. (2020), "Student voice in Lesson Study as a space for EFL teachers’ learning: a case study in Kazakhstan", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 153-166.



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