Lesson Study and History Instruction: Rewards and Challenges

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 9:00 AM
Nantucket Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Anne-Lise Halvorsen , Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Alisa Kesler-Lund , Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
This presentation by the two education curriculum specialists for the project assesses the results of a qualitative study of history teachers as they planned for, implemented, and reflected upon lesson study twice during the school year.  Did the teachers find lesson study effective in improving their teaching of U.S. history?  What facets of this lesson development process were most conducive to improving instruction, and which were not?  A significant preliminary finding of this study has been the relationship between the level of trust within the planning group and the effectiveness of this model; successful planning groups had developed a community of trust, mutual respect for both intellectual and pedagogical skills, and a shared commitment to the importance of collaborative planning and reflection as essential features of good teaching.  The teachers also noted a number of obstacles specific to the lesson study process that need to be addressed if it is to gain acceptance in history education in-service and professional development settings. This study helps shed light on both lesson study’s potential as a pedagogical practice as well as the conditions in which it appears to be most productive.
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