Teacher Learning in Lesson Study

How do educators learn in Lesson Study? Video clips and reflection questions provide windows into educators’ learning.

An elementary-age male student points while his female teacher stands beside him and observes

Lesson Study Phase

What activities support educators’ learning during each phase of a Lesson Study cycle? What kinds of professional growth occur?

Click the arrow inside each phase to watch video clips from Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers conducting a Lesson Study cycle on addition-subtraction. For each clip, consider:

  • What kinds of professional growth might be occurring?
  • What specific activities support this growth?
Additional video clips, from the teams studying fractions, can be accessed by clicking “more clips.”
The reflection questions below support teams to reflect on each phase of the Lesson Study cycle.
Lesson Study Phase Reflection Questions


  1. Has our team developed efficient, effective and inclusive processes for learning together? For example, do we have meeting and note-taking processes that allow us to build and carry forward knowledge?
  2. Do we have a long-term vision of student development and a topic of focus for our lesson study that we genuinely want to learn about?
  3. Have we accessed frameworks, standards and research important to our topic, and made sense of them?



  1. Does the Teaching-Learning Plan describe our long-term vision for students as well as the specific goals of the lesson and unit? Does it capture what we learned about the content, student thinking, standards and research?
  2. Did we try the task ourselves in order to anticipate student thinking?
  3. Does the Teaching-Learning Plan propose a plausible bridge from students’ current knowledge to the desired new learning? Can a reader understand how varied students will respond, and how they will grow during the lesson? Does an observer know what data to collect to inform our learning?
  4. Did we try a “close approximation to practice,” such as a mock-up lesson, to help us think through lesson elements that might not come out in team discussion–for example, specific teacher questions, visuals on the board, etc.?
  5. What did we learn from our study and planning? How might we tweak the process next time to increase every team member’s opportunity to learn something useful to them?


  1. Did the Teaching-Learning Plan provide good guidance about data collection? Was the data collected useful? What “tweaks” next time would make it more useful?
  2. Did observers have a chance to read the Teaching-Learning Plan and understand the team’s goals?
  3. Did observers understand and take up their role, by closely observing students and collecting data, without interfering with student learning?


  1. How did the post-lesson discussion add to our learning?
  2. What learning (about content, students, teaching) do we want to carry forward from this lesson study cycle?
  3. How will what we learned during this lesson study cycle influence our daily practice as individuals? As a school? The profession more broadly?
  4. What questions or ideas sparked by this cycle do we want to investigate in future lesson study cycles?

With acknowledgment and appreciation to:

Acorn Woodland Elementary School, Oakland, CA

Lesson Study team members: Sofia Castro, Zinia Gangopadhyay, Francisco Llaguno, Evanne Ushman. Math Coach: Jana Morse.