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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Christine Kim-Eng Lee and Lo Mun Ling

Much has been written about the failure of curriculum reforms to bring about pedagogical transformation in classrooms. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the…

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Abstract

Purpose

Much has been written about the failure of curriculum reforms to bring about pedagogical transformation in classrooms. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue about facilitating curriculum reforms through lesson study.

Design/methodology/approach

The guest editors introduce the papers while also discussing key themes and concepts.

Findings

The collection of papers shows that it would be naïve to assume that the intended, enacted and lived curriculum would be the same. Teachers play a very important role in bringing the intended curriculum to life in classrooms, and lesson study provides a process through which the intended, enacted and lived curriculum could be brought closer together.

Originality/value

It is only through such collaborative discourse among teachers supported by “knowledgeable others” that reform ideas can take root in classrooms and bring about lasting change.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Mohammad Reza Sarkar Arani, Yoshiaki Shibata, Kim-Eng Christine Lee, Hiroyuki Kuno, Masami Matoba, Fong Lay Lean and John Yeo

The purpose of this paper is to reveal the cultural script of the teaching of a lower secondary science lesson on the topic “Classification of Non-living Things” in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reveal the cultural script of the teaching of a lower secondary science lesson on the topic “Classification of Non-living Things” in Singapore through the eyes of Japanese and Singaporean researchers and teachers. In particular, the study analyzes the structural content, i.e. organization of learning activities of a lower secondary science lesson of Singapore and the culture of teaching, i.e. views about teaching held as tacit knowledge of science teachers. It focusses on students’ inquiry skills in a participative and problem-driven science lesson in the Singapore classroom.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study adopts a cultural approach of viewing teaching and learning and compares classroom practice in two countries – Japan and Singapore. Contextually, the cultural differences in beliefs and values define how educators learn about what is “good” teaching.

Findings

The cultural script of teaching of the science lesson case values the setting of learning tasks that encourage a variety of ideas. It also sets a tone of inquiry-based learning where students are open to questioning, the formulation of ideas and the presentation of solutions. In the science lesson case, the teacher aimed at providing opportunities for students to think for themselves and to engage in group discussion. This study identifies key aspects of the science lesson for revealing the teaching script based on a cross-cultural lesson analysis. Figure 1 summarizes such facets of teacher teaching and student learning in detail as a result of the lesson analysis. Furthermore, it draws attention to recognizing areas of the lesson script which the Japanese team found effective/ineffective as well as identifying the Singaporean team's reflections on feedback from Japanese educators.

Research limitations/implications

Through this study, the research team raises the following questions. Are there common practices that make for effective learning and if so what are these? From the perspectives of Japanese and Singaporean researchers and educators, what might be the different elements of teaching that will bring about better student learning?

Originality/value

An important avenue for inquiry in teaching is how to create teaching-learning processes that nurture students’ ability to deal with the unexpected as well as their application skills – competencies that are required of students to function in the twenty-first century. The research team suggests a cross-cultural analysis approach for future research investigating the cultural script of teaching.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Catherine Lewis and Akihiko Takahashi

The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe the role of lesson study in implementation of national curriculum reforms in Japan, identifying key features that may be…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe the role of lesson study in implementation of national curriculum reforms in Japan, identifying key features that may be of interest to policy-makers in other countries.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature review, observation, and artefact collection were used to study the role of lesson study in educational reform in Japan.

Findings

One key characteristic of implementation of national curricular reforms in Japan is that lesson study allows primary and secondary schools, universities, district and prefectural offices, and subject-matter associations to collaborate in implementation. Some key features of the lesson study-supported system of implementation of curricular reform in Japan includes: the ability of school-based lesson study groups to leverage regional and national subject-matter expertise; school learning routines that enable systematic study, refinement, and dissemination of practice (e.g. kyouzai kenkyuu, public research lessons, grade-level collaboration); and policy structures that support implementation (e.g. grants for designated research schools, a period to try out new standards before they are required by law).

Research limitations/implications

While some features of lesson study transfer readily from Japan to other countries (such as the usefulness of curriculum study, live lessons, and interchange with more experienced teachers), comprehensive systems for using lesson study to support curricular reform are yet to develop outside Japan. This paper identifies the policy, cultural, and infrastructural elements of the Japanese system that allow lesson study to effectively support implementation of new curriculum.

Originality/value

Successful implementation of curricular reform at the classroom level is a persistent difficulty in many countries. Japan's system illustrates how the strengths of teacher leadership and research-based content can be joined to support curriculum implementation, through interlocking systems of lesson study.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Lydia Tan-Chia, Yanping Fang and Pow Chew Ang

The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study, Project En-ELT (enhancing English language learning and teaching), which used lesson study to mediate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study, Project En-ELT (enhancing English language learning and teaching), which used lesson study to mediate curriculum innovation to enhance student learning by engaging teachers in learning and implementing effective English language teaching strategies and formative assessment practices in seven lower secondary schools in Singapore over two years. It aims to portray how lesson study can be adapted to build teacher pedagogical capacity in carrying out the language development goals formulated in the revised national English Language Syllabus 2010.

Design/methodology/approach

Project evaluation is embedded systematically into the research design from the very beginning of the pilot to in between each step of lesson study process across three consecutive cycles in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program from the project advisors’, participating teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Both the quantitative and qualitative data were collected in and across the instructional steps and lesson study cycles to create immediate evidence-based feedback to inform continuous on-going adjustment and improvement.

Findings

Findings indicate that across the three cycles the lesson study teams moved from isolated to collaborative planning; from poor understanding and mechanical execution of the retelling strategy to a more sophisticated and skilful use of reciprocal teaching. An increase was found in teacher confidence and positive attitude towards the value of the project in developing their language and teaching effectiveness. There was enhanced student engagement and collaborative participation in the lessons while assessment for learning was fostered in the classroom.

Originality/value

Program evaluation provided feedback loops to ensure that each enactment stage and cycle learns from and builds on the limitations and strengths of the previous one(s) so internal consistency, continuity and coherence can be achieved for concrete implementation; different perspectives from the project officers/researchers, teachers and students were collected consistently and analyzed to gauge the accuracy of the findings; the collaboration between Ministry of Education curriculum officers, specialists and teachers, through lesson study, was able to create democratic relations rested upon interdependence, and mutual respect and trust; and it provides an illustrative case of how lesson study can be used effectively to help schools carry out national curriculum and pedagogical innovations. The project has important implications for addressing the issues of implementation and sustainability of innovative curriculum practices.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Mona Holmqvist Olander and Birte Sandberg

– The purpose of this paper is to describe a learning study with a complex object of learning – democracy.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a learning study with a complex object of learning – democracy.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consists of four research lessons in four different classes in grade 6. In the study two teachers, 78 students and two researchers participated. In the first lesson (A) 21 students participated, in the second class (B) 17, in the third class (C) 21 and in the last lesson (D) 19 students. The research lessons were 80 minutes each, designed based on variation. The students took a pre-test before the lesson and a post-test after.

Findings

The results show the relationship between the pattern of variation used by the teacher during the lesson and students’ learning outcome. In lesson A contrast was used between democracy and dictatorship. In lesson B the aspects were varied due to the discussions between the teacher and the students that resulted in less focus on the whole perspective. The design of lesson C offered students a sequential presentation of the aspects, the concepts were handled separately and simultaneity was not used. In lesson D the whole was in focus during the entire lesson and the aspects were presented simultaneously in relation to the whole. Group A's increased at the test scores was 63 per cent, B 32 per cent, C 29 per cent and D 91 per cent.

Originality/value

The results points at using learning study with complex objects of learning requires offering the relationship between aspects of the phenomenon presented by a background of the meaning of the concept develop the students’ understanding.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Akihiko Takahashi, Catherine Lewis and Rebecca Perry

The purpose of this paper is to describe the design and initial implementation of a lesson study network in the US intended to support implementation of the Common Core…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the design and initial implementation of a lesson study network in the US intended to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Design/methodology/approach

Participant observation and artifact collection document the development of the teaching through problem solving (TTP) network over a 14-month period.

Findings

The TTP network draws heavily on Japanese practices (e.g. lesson study) and Japanese materials (e.g. coherent, focussed mathematics curriculum) to support changes envisioned in the US CCSS related to students’ mathematical practices and dispositions. The reasons for choice of these key Japanese features are explicated, and teachers’ initial reactions described.

Research limitations/implications

The design shows promise for combining teacher “ownership” with implementation of high-quality approaches designed by others; and allowing instructional innovations developed in Japan to flow into US practice. TTP in mathematics has persistently resisted implementation in the US, so the network is designed to target a central problem in implementing the CCSS.

Originality/value

A method for instructional innovations to spread from classrooms in one country to another is suggested.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Xiangming Chen and Fan Yang

The purpose of this paper is to reveal how the meanings of the current national curriculum reform in China changed in its transmission from the outside authoritative…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reveal how the meanings of the current national curriculum reform in China changed in its transmission from the outside authoritative mandate to the local school practice through a case study of a lesson study on a reform practice called the “thematic teaching” in the Chinese language course.

Design/methodology/approach

By a longitudinal study of the case for more than two months in a primary school in Beijing, China, the authors of this paper followed all the steps of the lesson study cycle conducted by all the Chinese language teachers in the school. Observations, interviews and document analysis were employed to capture the teachers’ thoughts, actions and especially group interactions in trying to understand and implement this new reform practice.

Findings

The study found that due to the marked differences between the professional reform discourse and the teachers’ native discourse, the meanings of the reform tended to look alien to school teachers. In order to make meanings out of the reform, the teachers in this lesson study resorted to their own native discourse to understand the reform. Such strategies as “de-contextualization” and “re-contextualization” were found in the teachers’ joint efforts to reconstruct and reenact the reform.

Originality/value

This research points to the importance of school teachers’ own belief system in teaching as revealed by their native discourse. Only by finding an adequate link between the outside reform discourse and the teachers’ native discourse, can the national curriculum reform truly take hold in the school.

Details

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-8253

Keywords

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