Nr. 27/2012 Integrating the essential elements of lesson study in pre-service mathematics teacher education
This study explored how integrating the essential elements of Lesson Study as a powerful intervention in the pre-service mathematics teacher education contributes to prospective teachers’ facility in realizing their theoretical knowledge in the actual practice of teaching. Whereas Lesson study is widely being performed in in-service mathematics teacher education, this investigation sought to explore practices in Japanese pre-service teacher education environments that potentially nurture amongst the prospective teachers their facility in being able to successfully participate in Lesson Study activities as they commence their actual in-service teaching. Thus, in this this investigation, the focal research question was “How are the essential elements of Lesson Study integrated in pre-service teacher education in Japan?” However, this umbrella question for this study was further divided into two main strands:
- What skills, competencies, or habits of mind are needed to be cultivated in pre-service mathematics teacher education in order for prospective teachers to optimize their experiences in student teaching programs, and, eventually, successfully participate in Lesson Study as they step into the actual teaching profession?
- In incorporating the elements of Lesson Study in pre-service teacher education, what mechanisms facilitate towards comprehensive reforms of mathematics teaching?
Using phenomenological case study, this inquiry sought to understand the underlying principles behind the accession of Lesson Study in pre-service mathematics teacher education, specifically in the context of student teaching practicum in a Fuzoku School. Five interconnected themes that pertain to skills, competencies, and habits of mind were elevated from the investigation: (1) acclimatizing to the school contexts and classroom (socio-mathematical) norms; (2) making sense of powerful resources for classroom instruction; (3) utilizing the school and classroom contexts as venues of inquiry; (4) engaging in critical reflections; and (5) forging the spirit of collaboration. On the other hand, four mechanisms that facilitated towards change were extracted from the analysis of student journals, together with other sources of data: (1) sensitization to images of reform; (2) forged reifications of learning experiences; (3) student feedback and communications; and (4) immersion in communities of practice.
Finally, the culmination of this research raised issues on deeper and more detailed investigations on the cultural and institutional conditions that make it possible for Lesson Study to be effectively integrated in the Japanese pre-service mathematics teacher education. This led to a future direction of a more robust body of research in this area (mathematics teacher education) – including those with comparative nature – that deems to reflect on the potential replicability or transferability of Lesson Study outside Japan.
Author: Levi Esteban Elipane
IND's skriftserie no. 27/2012