Possibilities and challenges of implementing Lesson Study in initial teacher education

Abstract

Inspired by the Japanese Lesson Study model (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999), there has been an extensive interest from researchers in a wide range of countries to use Lesson Study as a context for mathematics teacher professional development. In recent years, there has also been a growing interest to adapt a Lesson Study approach in initial teacher education (Fernandez & Zilliox, 2011; Munthe, Bjuland, & Helgevold, 2016). This keynote lecture reports from a larger, cross-disciplinary project Teachers as Students (TasS) (2012–2015), in which an adapted version of Lesson Study was used in a time-lagged design experiment (Hartas, 2010) in Norwegian teacher education. The project included data from a control condition and an intervention condition – both of which involved groups of student teachers from the four subject areas mathematics, science, physical education and English as a second language. Based on analysis of video observations from student teachers’ conversations with their mentor teachers during mentoring sessions in field practice, Helgevold, Næsheim-Bjørkvik and Østrem (2015) found that groups of student teachers in the intervention had a stronger focus on content, and they focused more on students and their learning compared to student teachers in the control condition. However, mathematics represented a different picture from the other subjects since it did not work out the way it was expected (Helgevold et al., 2015). In this keynote lecture, I will discuss possibilities and challenges of implementing Lesson Study in initial teacher education with a point of departure in three studies, situated within the TasS project, that are concerned with student mathematics teachers’ learning in field practice (Bjuland & Mosvold, 2015; Bjuland, Mosvold, & Fauskanger, submitted; Mosvold & Bjuland, 2016). Theoretically grounded in terms of cultural-historical activity theory, regular field practice and Lesson Study are seen as two different activities with three seemingly similar components: planning the lesson, teaching the lesson, and evaluating the lesson. Using this theoretical perspective, potential differences emerge on the levels of activity, on these three components considered as goal oriented actions as well as operations that are embedded in these actions. For a successful implementation of Lesson Study in field practice, teacher educators, student teachers and mentor teachers need to be conscious about these differences that could lead to possible challenges (Mosvold & Bjuland, 2016).

About Raymond

Raymond Bjuland
Raymond Bjuland

Raymond Bjuland is Professor of Mathematics Education at the Department of Education and Sports Science at the University of Stavanger, Norway. His research interests are related to mathematical knowledge for teaching, collaborative mathematical problem solving and classroom research with a special focus on the use of gestures in teacher-student dialogues. Bjuland is research group member in the NORHED project (2013–2018), aiming at improving quality and capacity of mathematics teacher education in Malawi. He has also been the Principal Investigator in a larger cross-disciplinary research project “Teachers as Students” (TasS, 2012–2015) supported by the Norwegian Research Council where Lesson Study was implemented in the field practice component in two Norwegian teacher education programs.