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Using Lesson Study and Related Activities in Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

Using lesson study and related activities in initial teacher education (ITE)


Lesson study (LS) is a form of teacher research or study that uses curriculum and research knowledge, on one hand, and deriving knowledge from teacher enquiry, on the other. LS has been represented as involving a study-plan-teach-review cycle which acts as a formative process. It is a collaborative and reflective professional development approach which has its origins in Japan in the late nineteenth century, that has been adopted and adapted internationally especially over the last twenty years. LS combines practice and theory, with the aim of promoting a deep look into students’ learning, on one hand, and teaching and curricular programmes, on the other. For this reason it has relevance to practising and prospective teachers


Our interest in gaining a better understanding of the use of lesson study in ITE was triggered by an attempt to understand how LS practice might be integrated into ITE programmes in the UK. To start off we undertook an international review of literature about how LS is used in initial teacher education. Our article  about this review will be published in the journal Teacher Development, you can find the pre-print version here .


In this paper we do a mapping review of international research published in peer reviewed journals.  This has enabled us to identify variations in ITE LS practices  using a 7-dimensional framework to illustrate the range of practices and issues. We conclude that LS is an example of teacher enquiry-based practice; identified as one of the means of building the capacity for a self-improving education system. LS and related practices also play a crucial role in preparing teachers to adopt a research orientation to their own practice.  In the paper we also discuss the organisational and personal challenges for beginning teachers when introducing LS into ITE.


As members of the Lesson Study Network in the Graduate School of Education we are looking to work with teachers in 3 secondary schools over 2021-22 which are involved in the Exeter ITE partnership, and which use some form of enquiry-based approach to the education and training of teachers. By enquiry-based approaches, we mean that trainees engage in some form of collaborative enquiry into their learning to plan, teach and review their class teaching. This might be a form of action research, lesson study, a version of mentoring/coaching or some related practice.


If you are interested in this project or want to discuss any matter raised in this blog, please get in contact  .


Professor Viv Baumfield, Will Katene, Dr George Koutsouris, Professor Brahm Norwich

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