Lesson Study Step-by-Step: How Teacher Learning Communities Improve Instruction

Published by Heinemann, 2011.


It’s a simple idea:  if we want to improve instruction, what could be more obvious than collaborating with fellow teachers to plan instruction and examine its impact on students?  Lesson Study empowers teachers to improve instruction.  Unlike one-size-fits-all professional development, Lesson Study allows teachers to bring their own pressing needs to the table.  They seek out answers from one another, from outside specialists and research, and from careful study of students during lessons that incorporate teachers’ collective knowledge.  The result is a shared vision of good instruction.

Lesson Study Step-By-Step shows new groups of teachers how to begin this journey, and experienced teams how to to deepen their work.  It provides guidance through each step of the Lesson Study process, from building a group and homing in on a topic to conducting and reflecting on a research lesson.  Strategies and materials are provided to support you each step of the way, including:

  • a schedule for the overall process
  • sample meeting agendas
  • protocols for observation and discussion of lessons
  • templates for development of the research theme and teaching-learning plan
  • suggested processes for norm-setting and effective group management.

Additional online resources allow you to explore video of teachers engaged in a mathematics lesson study cycle.

At a time when so many school districts are already suffering from reform overload, why is Lesson Study so important? Because it supplies a key missing element in reform:  a means to improving teaching and learning through a shared professional knowledge base. Lesson Study Step-by-Step shows us how to make our schools places where we will all continue to learn.


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