Re-Envisioning the One-Room Schoolhouse: A New Look at Lesson Study

From ASCD Express, 2010.


Lesson study is a form of professional development in which a small team of teachers collaborate to plan a research lesson. It provides a systematic process that involves four steps:

  1. Identifying an aspect of student learning that needs improvement.
  2. Planning a research lesson that generates discussion about the teaching of that concept.
  3. Conducting the lesson with teachers observing and collecting data on student thinking.
  4. Reflecting on the data and its implications for teaching and learning.

In 2009–10, three groups of teachers from Westport, Conn., participated in a research project under the direction of Catherine Lewis and Rebecca Perry of the Mills College Lesson Study Group. As the building math administrator, I agreed to facilitate lesson study with a team of five 5th grade teachers who had different teaching experiences, instructional styles, and student academic levels. I hoped to discover if lesson study could provide a process for professional learning that would support diversity among teachers and students.


instructional improvement, mathematics instruction, small schools