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Designing and delivering an online lesson study unit in mathematics to pre-service primary teachers: opportunities and challenges

Wanty Widjaja (School of Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Susie Groves (School of Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Zara Ersozlu (School of Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Article publication date: 8 January 2021

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021

605

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the design and delivery of a lesson study unit in mathematics to pre-service primary teachers and to identify the opportunities and challenges resulting from the need to deliver the unit wholly online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross-case analysis, using a before-and-after design, was used to compare the development and delivery of the unit in 2019 and 2020, with the pivotal event of interest between the before-and-after cases being the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

The content and structure of the unit, as well as its collaborative aspects, remained substantially the same in the before-and-after cases. While there was a low level of engagement with pre-recorded lectures, there was a high level of engagement and participation in the online synchronous seminars, together with a marked increase in overall satisfaction with the unit. Pre-service teachers were unable to teach and observe one another's planned research lessons in school. Instead, after a detailed examination of the task, the lesson plan and student solutions, they observed a pre-recorded video of a research lesson at a local school and participated in a streamed post-lesson discussion. Pre-service teachers regarded this new component as a highlight of the unit and an important connection between the theory and practice of lesson study.

Originality/value

The inclusion of the video-recorded research lesson in 2020 introduced a new level of authenticity for pre-service teachers, allowing them to observe a high quality structured problem solving mathematics lesson taught in a local public school, as part of a local implementation of lesson study-something that is not generally possible. While there is often a view that the benefits of lesson study result mainly from collaborative planning and teaching of the research lesson, this paper highlights the value of involvement for all participants in research lesson observation and post-lesson discussion, as well as the opportunities afforded by the use of “virtual lesson study”.

Keywords

Citation

Widjaja, W., Groves, S. and Ersozlu, Z. (2021), "Designing and delivering an online lesson study unit in mathematics to pre-service primary teachers: opportunities and challenges", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 230-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLLS-10-2020-0080

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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