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What is Lesson Study?

For the past two years teachers involved in the Teaching American History grant in Oakland have been applying the "lesson study" model of professional developmen to their history lessons. This section contains background information and other resrources relating to this part of the grant.

As part of the Teaching American History grant, Oakland teachers of history collaborate on lesson planning and evaluation using the Lesson Study method.

Lesson Study is a structured process in which a group of teachers identify an instruction problem, plan a lesson using primary resources, teach the lesson (one member of the group teaches the lesson while the others observe), evaluate and revise the lesson and share the results with other teachers.

By collaboration and an emphasis on lesson revision, the insights of several teachers are brought to bear on the problems of effectively teaching challenging historical concepts.

Lesson Study methodology is widely used in Japan and has been credited for the shift from “teaching as telling” to “teaching for understanding” in Japanese mathematics and science classrooms.

For more information on Lesson Study see the article by Catherine Lewis, " What are the Essential Elements of Lesson Study?" The California Science Project Connection. Volume 2, No. 6. November/December 2002.)
  • Lesson Study Group at Mills College C. Lewis, Mills College, Education Department This site offers a comprehensive examination of Lesson Study by one of the leading researchers in this area and one of the staff members of the Oakland project. Check out the Quicktime video Perspectives on Lesson Study in which Catherine Lewis answers a series of questions on Lesson Study

  • Lesson Study Research Group
    Teachers College, Colombia University The Lesson Study Research Group (LSRG) of Teachers College organizes this web site. 

  • What Is Lesson Study?
    Research for Better Schools This web site has links to many other resources on lesson study.

  • The Fine Print Interview with James Stigler An interview from February 17, 2001 with James Stigler about The Teaching Gap and a discussion of how teachers in Nashville reacted to be part of a lesson study project. You need Read Audio plug-in to listen to this audio.