Exploring the Use of Lesson Study with Six Canadian Middle-School Science Teachers
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This qualitative case study explores the use of lesson study over a ten-week period with six Ontario middle school science teachers. The research questions guiding this study were: (1) How does participation in science-based lesson study influence these teachers’: (a) science subject matter knowledge (science SMK), (b) science pedagogical content knowledge (science PCK), and (c) confidence in teaching science?, and (2) What benefits and challenges do they associate with lesson study? Data sources for this study were: teacher questionnaires, surveys, reflections, pre-and post- interviews, and follow-up emails; researcher field notes and reflections; pre- and post- administration of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument; and audio recordings of group meetings. The teachers demonstrated limited gains in science SMK. There was evidence for an overall improvement in teacher knowledge of forces and simple machines, and two teachers demonstrated improvement in over half of the five scenarios assessing teacher science SMK. Modest gains in teacher science PCK were found. One teacher expressed more accurate understanding of students’ knowledge of forces and a better knowledge of effective science teaching strategies. The majority of teachers reported that they would be using three-part lessons and hands-on activities more in their science teaching. Gains in teacher pedagogical knowledge (PK) were found in four areas: greater emphasis on anticipation of student thinking and responses, recognition of the importance of observing students, more intentional teaching, and anticipated future use of student video data. Most teachers reported feeling more confident in teaching structures and mechanisms, and attributed this increase in confidence to collaboration and seeing evidence of student learning and engagement during the lesson teachings. Teacher benefits included: learning how to increase student engagement and collaboration, observing students, including video data, observing colleagues teach, time to collaborate, plan, and reflect, teaching the same lesson to two classes, more intentional teaching, and increasing social interactions. Teacher challenges included: teacher unfamiliarity with the students being taught, time spent taking part in lesson study, teachers in the role of observers, and impact of observers and videotaping on students and teachers during lesson enactments.