Think Piece

Lesson Study: a mechanism to support effective teacher engagement with and in educational research? A think-piece.
Stefanie G. Edwards
University of Leicester


In this think piece I reflect on the development of the Japanese practice of lesson study in UK schools. I consider a range of research literature relating to teachers’ professional development, lesson study, knowledge mobilisation and aspects of socio-cultural learning theory. Connections are made between some of the features of lesson study as a mode of teacher professional learning and current thinking about the features of such learning that are valued by teachers. The extent to which Vygotskian socio-cultural theories of learning, informed by Vygotsky’s own writings and the theories of Bruner and Mercer, provide some explanation for the apparent efficacy of lesson study is explored.  The relationship between individual, social and cultural learning with particular reference to Hodkinson et al. (2008), Salomon and Perkins (1998), and Levine (2010) is examined. I set my reflections in a contemporary context in which there appears to be systemic, political and academic support for a resurgence in the application of educational research in classroom practice and for increased teacher engagement with and in such research. I suggest that lesson study as a process appears to have the potential to provide a grass-roots mechanism for such engagement, since it may meet a range of critical conditions for learning. These conditions may facilitate the engagement of teachers with academic research as a catalyst for their own classroom-based inquiry.

Keywords: research lesson study; teachers’ professional learning; knowledge mobilisation; community of enquiry




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