Improving Instruction in the Mathematics Methods Classroom through Action Research

October, 2015

Source: Educational Action Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, 497–513, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study is to examine whether using Lesson Study with preservice secondary mathematics teachers might better prepare students to be teachers.
Lesson Study enables individual teachers and their preservice colleagues to reflect in the context of the classroom on post-lesson discussions that connect thinking and action. This process dictates that the teacher who taught the lesson speaks first during the debriefing session. Then, the participants discuss what they think worked and what did not work in the lesson followed by comments, suggestions, or questions by the other people.

The participants were six preservice teachers who were enrolled in a mathematics methods course in an undergraduate teacher preparation program at a private university.
Data were collected through weekly reflections written by the participants, and semi-structured post interviews of the participants.

The main finding of this action research is that Lesson Study can have a strong influence on the efficacy of preservice mathematics teachers.
In addition, it was found that a key factor in establishing the confidence of the preservice teachers was the direct connection from the field-experience school to the methods classroom. The authors found that Lesson Study provided an effective bridge from the methods class to the field-experience classroom.

The present study also showed gains in similar areas for the preservice teachers.
The preservice teachers developed their knowledge of mathematics teaching through planning multiple lessons and revising those lessons after receiving feedback.
They also experienced a growth in their interpersonal relationships through collaboratively planning and critiquing lessons with their peers and field-experience teacher.

Finally, the preservice teachers discovered more about their personal teaching style through being able to practice-teach multiple times in the methods classroom and in the high school classroom.

This study has several implications for teacher education.
The authors suggest that programs in teacher education need to be designed to help preservice teachers develop the ability to learn from teaching that will enable them to grow beyond their university experience. The authors argue that pedagogy that is gradually integrated into the field experience allows preservice teachers the opportunity to learn from actual teaching rather than theory. 

Updated: Mar. 25, 2018