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An inquiry process for solving problems of teaching and learning.


Define goals and assessments

Lesson Study

An inquiry process for solving problems of teaching and learning.


Lesson Study is professional learning that situates itself in the classroom.  Participants engage in lesson study for the purpose of improving learning and instruction.  It is part of a highly structured, process that includes significant time spend on study.  It is done over weeks.  Commentators contribute insights during the post-lesson discussion and during planning as well. (Takahashi, A. and McDougal, T. Collaborative lesson research: maximizing the impact of lesson study, ZDM, 2016)

Lesson Study is unique in that it depends on the expertise of teachers, and provides teams the time and a structured process to study and deeply plan their lesson.  This work is tested in classrooms collecting evidence of how students respond. The group's work is critiqued when educators and experts from outside the design group are given opportunities to observe the lesson, collect evidence of how students engage in the lesson, and discuss progress made toward the Lesson Study goals.  The outside perspectives both challenge and validate the work as well as offer insights..


Teaching is often an isolated profession where textbook lessons are a "one size fits all".  Teachers implement these lessons and have little time to reflect on their effects and precious little time for professional feedback to help analyze what students have or have yet to learn.

In contrast, Lesson study is a process where groups of teachers study the needs of their students and specifically choose a lesson designed by experts or they design and test a lesson to address those needs. Time is devoted to observing students as the lesson is implemented providing teachers insights into student learning and effectiveness of the lesson. Collaborative work time is an investment in overcoming our greatest teaching challenges by understanding student interactions with the lesson.

The Design Process

Lesson Study employs a design process that is worthy of the investment of teacher and student time and gives teachers pay back in knowledge about how students learn and the impact of teacher moves that extend well beyond the one lesson in other words, professional learning.

In this design process we:

  • Focus on making a claim about a learning issue and the evidence to back that claim,
  • Understand learning issues by interviewing students and studying standards, curricula, and research,
  • Define goals to address both content and learning dispositions,
  • Conceive of a learning trajectory for lesson / unit
  • Build the lesson,
  • Test the lesson iteratively, collecting evidence, and revising the lesson -  asking for critiques from others. and
  • Communicate findings to others.

Participants report that Lesson Study is

the best professional development I've experienced". 

And so...

We continue to invest in this design process that lives at the center of teaching and learning and is always focused on meeting the goals of the group based on the needs of the students.  Each iteration of the process adds depth and additional clarity to the very complex work of teaching and learning.