A Social Constructivist Approach toward Teacher Learning: A Case Study Aimed at Revitalizing the Japanese Teacher Development Approach, ‘Jugyokenkyu’, Internationally Recognized as Lesson Study

Abstract

The material in this presentation describes the results of several teachers going through a teacher-learning process in Japan known as ‘Jugyokenkyu’, referred to internationally as ‘Lesson Study’ (LS). We argue that LS is effective because it coheres with a Vygotskian view that ‘learning is social’ and therefore, with principles found in educational psychology aligned with social constructivism. In LS, teachers go through several stages constructing knowledge as they go through a cycle working in collaboration from planning the lesson to reflecting on the lesson in post lesson discussions. During the LS cycle, social interaction is at the core of classroom inquiry as teachers build a lesson by actively collaborating at each stage of the LS process. LS originated in Japan as a method to facilitate professional development among teachers. At the elementary school level, LS is conducted successfully in collaboration. However, in secondary schools, opportunities for teachers to collaborate with peers is drastically lower in the actual implementation of LS in Japan. The purpose of this research project is to revitalize LS in high schools by specifically designing a teacher development model that is underpinned by social constructivism through redefining the process as it is practiced. Qualitative data on teachers going through the LS process were collected in the following ways: the planning stages and demonstration classes were video-taped, interviews with the participants were conducted and subsequent data were gathered through the use of questionnaires and field notes. Data show that positive professional growth has been determined among the participants.



Author Information
Terry Laskowski, Kumamoto University, Japan
Marc Waterfield, Buntoku Senior High School, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2014
Stream: Professional concerns

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