Lesson Study Group at Mills College

New to Lesson Study?

If you need an overview to learn whether lesson study is right for your site, we recommend the following articles and videos:


  • Lewis, C., Perry, R. & Hurd, J. (2004). A Deeper Look at Lesson Study. Educational Leadership. February 2004, pp.18-22.
  • California Science Project
  • Takahashi, A. & Yoshida, M. (2004) Ideas for establishing lesson-study communities. Teaching Children Mathematics. 10(9), 436-443.
  • Stigler, J. & Hiebert, J. (1999). The Teaching Gap. New York: The Free Press. (See chapter 7).


    “Three Perspectives on Lesson Study"

    An introduction to lesson study by three researchers.

    “How Many Seats?"

    A mathematics lesson study cycle in the U.S.

    Viewable excerpt

    “Can You Lift 100 Kilograms?”

    A science lesson study cycle in Japan.

    Viewable excerpts

    Visit the Ordering page to purchase DVD's containing excerpts.

    If you have decided to begin lesson study, we recommend that you try to attend a lesson study meeting or research lesson and read Lesson Study: Step by Step, which provides step-by-step support for building lesson study. In addition to protocols and concrete guidance for lesson study practitioners, the handbook provides a “big picture” and lesson study rationale that is useful for administrators.

    If you are wondering how your site might use lesson study, the following models may be of interest:

    • Teacher-initiated lesson study group. Often, lesson study is initiated by a small group of teachers who read about it and try it. Teachers are drawn to lesson because of the central role of teachers and the opportunities to observe and analyze student learning.  The longevity, success, and spread of some teacher-initiated lesson study efforts is noteworthy.  Accounts can be found in two articles listed on our resources page: What is successful adaptation of lesson study in the U.S.? and Lesson study comes of age in North America.

    • Lesson study as part of a curriculum adoption or reform initiative. Lesson study can support the implementation of a new curriculum or instructional reform.  For example, several Math Science Partnerships have incorporated lesson study; teachers plan, teach, observe and analyze research lessons that bring to life the content and instructional approaches they are studying.  In this way, lesson study provides a link between summer workshops and school-year instruction.  Please see Lesson Study: Teacher-Led Professional Development in Literacy Instruction (Hurd, J. & Licciardo-Musso, L. Language Arts. Urbana: May 2005. Vol. 82, Iss. 5; pg. 388, 8 pgs) for one example. A Lesson Is Like a Swiftly Flowing River highlights the role of lesson study in reform in Japan.

    • School-wide lesson study.  Lesson study has particular power when practiced by all teachers in a school, supported by a school-wide vision. "Lesson study comes of age in North America" explains how a principal nurtured a small lesson study group into a school-wide effort over several years.

    • Lesson study as a partnership between K-12 teachers and a university, county office, regional educational laboratory or foundation. When practicing educators partner with an organization that has quick access to high-quality research-based curriculum, it can provide powerful support for lesson study. While teachers’ inquiry and goals remain central to the work of the lesson study group, the outside organization may support the teachers’ work by finding relevant tasks and research, providing group facilitators or other resources, asking productive questions (in person or by email), or providing expert commentary on research lessons.   Regional education organizations (e.g., the Sonoma County Office of Education, Regional Educational Labs and R & D organizations (e.g., the Education Development Center); foundations (e.g., the Noyce Foundation) and teachers’ professional organizations (e.g., the American Federation of Teachers) have successfully partnered with schools to support lesson study.

    • Lesson study in pre-service education. See Preservice.