Design Based Research to Develop the Teaching of Pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD): Evaluating Lesson Study in terms of Pupil, Teacher and School Outcomes

Jul. 01, 2013

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 34, (July, 2013), p. 162-173.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this article was to show the use of a design-based research approach to refine the use of Lesson Study methods to develop the teaching and learning of pupils identified as having moderate learning difficulties (MLD) in secondary schools.

Design-based lesson study research approach used.
Lesson study process examined in 29 secondary schools in UK over a 2-year period.
This two-year project was in two distinct phases.
LS development and research project in secondary schools with a focus on pupils with MLD.


The findings suggest beneficial outcomes for pupils and teachers.
The Lesson Study procedures used in phase 2 involved two key changes, first, to monitor more systematically the gains in learning arising from the LS cycles and, second, about the context in which Lesson Study was to be used.

Analysis showed that there was progress from the start to the end of the LS cycle for just under half of the pupils with MLD at expected or beyond the expected levels.
The rest made progress but less than expected.
The findings about pupil demonstrate of positive pupil learning outcomes in a particular context and use of Lesson Study.

In addition, participating teachers at the end of phase 2 reported much more support from senior teachers for Lesson Study than teachers in phase 1.
Evidence from both phases indicated not only variability in senior teacher support but also in how Lesson Study activities were arranged.
The findings indicate that senior teacher support can establish a school timetable that makes time for professional learning, such as Lesson Study, to take place.
In terms of the overall teacher outcomes for both phases, teacher level evaluation data found largely similar and very positive outcomes for the teachers concerned.
These were about the collaborative aspects of the Lesson Study process, improved planning of teaching and confidence to try new approaches, insights for Lesson Study observations and more awareness of the individual needs of pupils.

The findings indicate that the Lesson Study process enabled teachers to develop teaching approaches and a focus on the learning requirements of the pupils with MLD, who then showed some gains in their learning.
That phase 2 Lesson Study operated without the outside project support used in phase 1, also shows that project teachers could adopt Lesson Study procedures under more typical school conditions.
However, despite the positive outcomes of using Lesson Study, this research highlights the critical importance of contextual factors in the continuing use of LS in participating schools after the support and funding of the project ends.
Other international research has also shown the importance of contextual factors for effective use of the Lesson Study method in schools.

Updated: Feb. 09, 2015