Developing Teachers’ Professionalism through School Initiative-Based Lesson Study

Countries: 
Published: 
October , 2020

Source: European Journal of Educational Research, Volume 9 Issue 4, Pages: 1513-1526

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study seeks to describe a school-based initiative implementation of Lesson Study (LS).
Three questions guiding this study:
1) What are the features of teacher collaboration, scaffolding and reflection?
2) What are the consequences of the practice of these aspects? and
3) What are the reasons behind the practice?

Methodology

Participants
This study involved all teachers (thirteen) of an elementary school in Padang (the capital city of a province in Indonesia).
The principal also took part in the workshops and in the "Do" stage as an observer.
Six classes of pupils also became the participants to whom this program was applied.

Data Collection
The data were collected through observations and interviews.
The observation was organized in accordance with the three main stages - Plan, Do, and See.
Observation was intended to find out how the teachers implemented the framework of lesson study, focusing on the practices of collaboration, scaffolding, and reflection.
A focus-group interview in the middle (after the first cycle) and the other one at the end of the implementation of the first semester were conducted with the teachers.
Guided interview questions were constructed beforehand and were elaborated subject to the result of observation.
In addition, an experienced colleague checked and gave comments on the observation checklist and the guided interview questions.

Data Analysis
All data were analyzed qualitatively.
The results of observation were analyzed and classified based on three focused themes: collaboration, scaffolding, and reflection.

Findings and discussion
Even though the results of the LS implementation show gradual improvement, collaborative and classroom observation has promoted teachers' reflection.
This was due to two main factors, the principal’s strong commitment to improve the quality of the school and the bottom-up implementation strategy.
The first was indicated by the principal’s encouragement of his teachers, and active involvement in most lesson study for learning community (LSLC) activities at school.
Secondly, the school-based and self-initiative implementation of LSLC seems to be welcomed by the teachers of the schools.
The teachers’ intrinsic motivation to change and develop their own competencies might have increased because of voluntarily program implementation; the school was ready to build LS community (Bussmann & Trujillo, 2007).
The three themes in focus of the current study (collaboration, scaffolding, and reflection) reveal some improvement.
The practice of collaboration has positive impact on teacher-teacher relation, communication, and design of a lesson.
The latter affected the improvement of student learning (Dudley, 2013: Lewis et al., 2006) as the teachers gained better awareness of their pupils' needs (Schipper et al., 2017).
The teachers created meaningful activities which moved their students to participate actively.
It was also reflected in the improved lesson design, especially the design of sharing and jumping tasks, at the second Plan stage.
Through collaborative planning, the student-teachers and the teachers were able to design their lessons better.
On the down side, the result of this study also shows that the junior teachers’ reluctance to share ideas the first collaboration practice was due to their view about deferring to the seniors. This condition confirms Armstrong's (2011) statement; that is, collaboration is easier to value than it is to implement.
In fact, only after they were given an understanding that collaboration means everyone is equal in terms of idea sharing, they then began to speak up regardless of seniority.
Next, the teachers' way of assisting their pupils showed some improvement, but the teachers employed limited scaffolding strategies as suggested by some authors (see e. g. Dansie, 2001).
In the first cycle the teachers tended to use only "instructing" and "explaining" scaffolding means (van de Pol et al., 2010, p. 6).
In the second cycle they also used "hints" such as prompting questions, cueing, and directing.
Modelling was hardly used.
Furthermore, the teachers had limited ability to apply the concept of the key characteristics of scaffolding mentioned earlier, "contingency", "fading", and "transfer responsibility" (van de Pol et al., 2010).
It was evident that the teachers had difficulties in judging the pupils' current state to give suitable support.
Applying the strategies of withdrawing support gradually (fading) to increase learners' responsibility were problematic for the teachers.
It was found that transfer responsibility happened too early; in other words, "fading" strategy hardly occurred.
In this current study, from the teachers' answers, the problems of using fading and transfer of responsibility scaffolding strategies resulted from the teachers' misunderstanding of the concept of scaffolding.
With regards to reflection, articulating the result of self reflection in front of peers was not a common practice for the teachers.
They were reserved; they could only say a few things in a couple of statements.
At first the teachers tended to give general ideas about their teaching and they did not reflect on their teaching critically.
Only after a workshop about reflection was done they became more productive.
This current study shows that the teachers were reticent to convey what they felt about their teaching or/and they could not reflect upon their own teaching well.
As they become familiar with that activity, they may be more confident.

Conclusion
This article has reported the result of LS implementation at an elementary school.
The findings of this study support previous research in a way that Lesson Study brings about positive impact on teachers’ professional development.
Even though the progress was slow at the start, it increased gradually in the second cycle.
Working collaboratively to design a lesson the teachers gradually improved their academic collegiality and ability to create better and meaningful learning activities.
Collaborative work also boosted interaction among teachers, and thus apparently enhanced their communication skill.
Learning from the result of observation and reflection they also improved the way to scaffold the pupils.
In fact, they began using different scaffolding strategies for different pupils experiencing different difficulties.
Next, the teacher observers could focus their attention on pupils and could convey the result of their observation in Reflection stage.
Despite the positive impact, some areas that need improvement were also revealed.
This positive and promising result has been made possible by the full support of the principal and the commitment of all the teachers.

References
Armstrong, A. (2011). Lesson study puts a collaborative lens on student learning. Tools for Schools, 14(4), 3-7.
Bussman, S., & Trujillo, K. (2007). Integrating lesson study with existing school initiation. In K. Wiburg & S. Brown (Eds.), Lesson Study Communities: Increasing Achievement with Diverse Students (pp. 125-152). Corwin Press.
Dansie, B. (2001). Scaffolding oral language: ‘The Hungry Giant’ retold. In J. Hammond (Ed.), Scaffolding: Teaching and learning in language and literacy education (pp. 49-67). PETA.
Dudley, P. (2013). Teacher Learning in Lesson Study: What interaction level discourse analysis revealed about how teachers utilised imagination, tacit knowledge of teaching and fresh evidence of pupil learning to develop practice knowledge and so enhance their pupils learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 34(10), 107-121.
Lewis, C., Perry, R., & Murata, A. (2006). How should research contribute to instructional improvement? A case of lesson study. Educational Researcher, 35(3), 3-14.
Schipper, T. M., Goei, S. L., de Vries, S., & van Veen, K. (2017). Professional growth in adaptive competence as a result of Lesson Study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 68, 289-303.
van de Pol, J., Volman, M., & Beishuizen, J. (2010). Scaffolding in teacher-student interaction: A decade of research. Educational Psychology Review, 22, 271-296. 

Updated: Mar. 16, 2021
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