Type of Document Dissertation Author Smith, Robin R. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04142008-130123 Title Lesson Study: Professional Development for Empowering Teachers and Improving Classroom Practice Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Linda Schrader Committee Co-Chair Peter Easton Committee Co-Chair Laura Lang Committee Member Sherry Southerland Committee Member Keywords
- empowerment evaluation
- student learning
- math teaching
- science teaching
- elementary teachers
Date of Defense 2008-02-08 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Teacher professional development is, by all admissions, absolutely central to improving educational quality in our schools. A promising approach that has been successful in its home country is Japanese lesson study. It is a teacher-led, learning community form of professional development that is embedded within the regular role of teachers. This study used a multiple case study approach to investigate to what extent and how Japanese lesson study conducted in one elementary school enabled teachers to direct their own professional growth in the areas that they identified as in need of improvement. Other goals were to identify the context-dependent supports and barriers to lesson study and to provide insight into the personal and professional benefits that lesson study provided the teachers as a major source of professional development. The cases were two groups of four elementary teachers as they engaged in lesson study and their subsequent evaluation of the process. The evaluation took the form of an empowerment evaluation approach to help insure that lesson study could become embedded into the school’s professional development plan. Data consisting of narratives from interviews, teacher reflective journals, and researcher reflective memos were analyzed using constant comparative methods. Other data were documents such as the school improvement plan, teachers’ professional development plans, the empowerment evaluation results, researcher field notes and observations, audio tapes of planning meetings and discussion sessions, and videotapes of the study lessons. A facilitator served as a “knowledgeable other” in the process, helped develop the procedure for analyzing teacher benefits achieved as a result of engaging in the lesson study process, and facilitated an empowerment evaluation of lesson study.
In seeking answers to the research questions, themes that emerged especially during the interviews included the positive perceptions of lesson study as a collaborative, teacher-led process for improving practice; the insight that the factors that enable or inhibit lesson study may be intrinsic to individual teachers; and the understanding that lesson study can instill a sense of empowerment and professionalism to those who engage in the endeavor. Although these themes are consistent with the research on lesson study in Japan and elsewhere in the United States, they also extend the research on empowerment theory and empowerment evaluation. The benefits uncovered by this study were related to teachers improving their practice and gaining a sense of professionalism about their growth as educators. The study also revealed that not only was the extent of lesson study experience an important consideration when attempting to determine the specific lesson study benefits, but the teachers’ level of teaching experience seemed to be an important influence. As the teachers collaborated in lesson study, the data suggested that they developed a greater sense of self-determination to seek ways to improve their individual practice, as well as teaching and learning throughout the school, using lesson study. There also is evidence that each of the principles of empowerment evaluation was important to some degree in lesson study and that the process provided a tool for directing their own improvement, which also is the goal of empowerment evaluation. In addition to the commonly cited contextual barriers and enabling factors that could impact a teacher’s from participation in the process, this study revealed a number of others were intrinsic to both individuals and the process itself.
In the end, this study supported some of the conclusions from empowerment research that empowerment is different for different people, in different places and at different times. The interactions between lesson study teachers, other teachers , and the school community that were observed during the lesson study project confirm that individual, organization, and community cannot be separated but are best examined as a whole. This study also confirmed that lesson study provided many of the experiences that the literature on high-quality professional development has identified. It also can provide the organizational context for engendering empowerment through a collaborative process similar to empowerment evaluation. From this study it is apparent that teachers who are collaboratively involved in a supportive setting such as lesson study can become empowered to determine the activities which will best lead to improvement in teaching.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access SmithRDissertation.pdf 930.46 Kb 00:04:18 00:02:12 00:01:56 00:00:58 00:00:04