The Influence of Lesson Study on Teacher Practice: A Case Study

High-quality, professional learning can improve educator effectiveness and is linked to improved student learning (Jaquith, Mindich, Chung-Wei, & Darling-Hammond, 2010; Odden & Picus, 2014; Timperley & Alton-Lee, 2008). By creating a professional learning system focused on collaborative, practitioner led inquiry practices directly connected to the classroom, school leaders can positively influence teaching and learning practices such that they lead to improve student achievement. Recommended by the California Department of Education as a promising practice, the Lesson Study model of professional learning provides an inquiry process that builds the instructional capacity of teachers leading to student achievement (Lewis, 2010; Lewis, 2015; Lewis & Hurd, 2011). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to determine how participation in Lesson Study influenced the professional learning, efficacy, and agency of four high school science teachers. Grounded in both a theoretical and conceptual framework, the literature review included theories of adult learning, self-efficacy, and agency, as well as the Quality Professional Learning Standards (QPLS) framework, the teacher inquiry movement, and Lesson Study. Utilizing case study as the research method, the researcher collected data through interviews, classroom observations, and document review. Findings from this case study showed that participation in Lesson Study influenced the professional learning of the participants as they took advantage of the opportunity to deepen their Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) content knowledge and apply it to their classroom practice. As they applied their learning, data showed the participants incorporated the following NGSS components into their classroom practice: higher order questioning during classroom instruction; students’ development of models to represent ideas; student discourse to solve problems; and guided inquiry during phenomena labs. Interview data also showed case study teachers’ positive individual teacher efficacy prior to Lesson Study, and their collective efficacy developed through collaboration during Lesson Study, as well as a greater ability to address problems and weaknesses in a lesson and make improvements. Teachers stated that Lesson Study participation also gave them greater confidence as agents of their own growth and fostered their contributions to one another’s learning. Also, the Lesson Study content expert positively influenced the interactions of the participants.