From Lesson Study Alliance, based on an article in ZDM, 2016.
“Lesson Study” is a translation of the Japanese phrase jugyou kenkyuu, which refers to a set of practices that have been used in Japan to improve teaching and learning for over 100 years. Lesson Study is credited with enabling profound changes in math and science instruction in Japan in recent decades, but Japanese teachers use Lesson Study to hone instruction in all content areas, including p.e. and foreign language.
Many educators outside of Japan have tried to use Lesson Study in the hope of effecting similar changes in their locales. Lacking first-hand experience with Japanese Lesson Study, and lacking some of the structural supports enjoyed by Japanese teachers, they have implemented lesson study in ways that sometimes varied significantly from how it is practiced in Japan. It should not be surprising that the impact of lesson study on teaching and learning in these circumstances has been uneven.
Dr. Akihiko Takahashi has 19 years of personal experience with Lesson Study as a teacher in Japan. Tom McDougal, who has been working with Dr. Takahashi since 2008, has traveled twice to Japan to observe Lesson Study there first-hand. But we, too, have had a lot to learn about how to effectively translate the practice into the U.S. context. This article summarizes what we have learned.
collaborative lesson research