Researchers offer evidence of lesson study’s benefits

By Learning Forward
April 2020
Vol 41, No. 2
Lesson study is a time-tested approach to professional learning that exemplifies the Standards for Professional Learning: It is ongoing and sustained, embedded in classroom practice, focused on student outcomes, and occurs in professional learning communities. In this approach, teachers collaboratively observe and discuss classroom lessons by analyzing data they collect related to teaching and learning. Developed and initially practiced in Japan, lesson study has been used for decades. This recent study from researchers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands adds to a growing research base that suggests a positive impact of lesson study and contributes to an international body of evidence that professional learning improves teacher practice. A learning patterns perspective In lesson study, a team of teachers collaboratively decide on a focal lesson.

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Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster ( is vice president, research & standards at Learning Forward. In each issue of The Learning Professional, Foster explores recent research to help practitioners understand the impact of particular professional learning practices on student outcomes.

The study

Vermunt, J.D., Vrikki, M., van Halem, N., Warwick, P., & Mercer, N. (2019). The impact of Lesson Study professional development on the quality of teacher learning. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 81(1), 61-73. Elsevier Ltd.


Collet, V. (2017). Lesson study in a turnaround school: Local knowledge as a pressure-balanced valve for improved instruction. Teachers College Record, 199(6), 1-58.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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