Published Research

Using the Lesson Study Approach to Plan for Student Learning

From Middle School Journal

The Lesson Study approach is a method of professional development that encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching practice through a cyclical process of collaborative lesson planning, lesson observation, and examination of student learning. This results-oriented professional development model is an ideal vehicle for improving instructional practice in middle schools. Characteristically, middle schools are (a) learning communities where teachers and students engage in active learning, (b) places with high expectations for every member of the community, and (c) organizational structures that support meaningful relationships (National Middle School Association, 2003). Middle school teachers have to know their students well—who they are and how they learn best—and use this information when planning instruction and assessing student performance (Jackson & Davis, 2000). Most teacher planning focuses primarily on teacher actions rather than on student results (Ornstein, 1997). The Lesson Study approach, however, can provide an opportunity for middle school teachers to work together to strengthen the link between instructional planning and student learning.