Learning within Context: Exploring Lesson Study as an Aid in Enhancing Teachers’ Implementations, Conceptions, and Perceptions of the Mathematics Teaching Practices

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Prince, Kyle Matthew
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Middle Tennessee State University
With traditional teaching methods pervasive in the U.S., it is crucial that mathematics teacher educators and professional development leaders understand what methods result in authentic changes in classroom instruction. Lesson study presents a promising approach to developing reform-oriented instruction, as it is situated within the classroom, draws upon rich discussions about lesson development, and creates opportunities for reflection upon practice. Although the literature has shown the usefulness of lesson study, evidence of how lesson study can support teachers’ implementations, conceptions, and perceptions of reform-oriented instruction could be vital to the success of mathematics education locally and across the country. This study used an embedded case study design to explore how lesson study can be used to aid teachers in conceptualizing and implementing the Mathematics Teaching Practices and investigate how teachers’ perceptions towards reform-oriented teaching change while participating in a Chinese form of lesson study, called Keli lesson study.
The researcher approached analysis from both individual and holistic perspectives. From an individual perspective, each participant made meaningful changes with respect to his or her implementation, conception, and perception of the Mathematics Teaching Practices. From a holistic perspective, the group made enhancements to the research lesson with respect to setting goals to focus learning, using goals to guide instructional decisions, designing the task, connecting representations, and teaching through problem solving. As a result, the research lesson became more focused and created rich opportunities for students to learn through problem solving. A cross-case analysis revealed that the most prominent changes across the embedded cases occurred with respect to four specific Mathematics Teaching Practices. The results of this study also revealed certain aspects of Keli lesson study that influenced change to participants’ implementations, conceptions, and perceptions related to the Mathematics Teaching Practices. However, a disconnect was found, as there were 11 changes across the participants in this study related to conception and perception that were not associated with changes in implementation. The results of this study revealed the effectiveness of Keli lesson study in supporting teachers in transitioning to reform-oriented practices, as each participant made meaningful changes related to his or her implementation, conception, or perception. Moreover, this study revealed the aspects of professional development that influenced teacher change. Ongoing efforts are required, however, to influence sustained changes in implementation.
Interconnected Model, Lesson Study, Mathematics Teaching Practices, Teacher Change