Masters Thesis

Lesson study : implications of collaboration between education specialists and general education teachers

The standards-based movement and the movement toward inclusion for students with learning disabilities have created a need for teachers to reform their teaching practices. Lesson Study, inspired from the Japanese Lesson Study model, is a professional development process that enables general education teachers to systematically examine their practice in order to become more effective teachers. The lack of research exploring the inclusion of an education specialist collaboratively participating on Lesson Study teams forms the basis of this study. First, a pilot study was conducted to test the language and substance of the research questions. The pilot study consisted of interviews and observations. Data from the pilot study determined the need for additional questions. Thus, follow up questions were drafted. Following approval for additional research, four Lesson Study teams were contacted. A multi-case study was conducted using qualitative research methods. Three education specialists and three general education teachers were selected among the four Lesson Study cohorts located in three different counties in northern California. Survey questions and subsequent follow up questions suggest a positive change in collegiality and teaching practice among general education teachers and education specialists, which may have a significant impact on current No Child Left Behind laws. Not with standing, long term effects of this professional development model and its impact on colleagues and student learning within the individual school sites and districts have yet to be studied.