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Lesson Study in a Turnaround School: Local Knowledge as a Pressure-Balanced Valve for Improved Instruction


by Vicki S. Collet — 2017

Background: Federal and state accountability policies attempt to improve educational outcomes but have been blamed for a breadth of ills, including minimizing local knowledge and reducing teachers’ ability to respond to contextual needs. Teachers in high-needs schools, especially, feel the effects of constrained curricula and increased testing, resulting in increased workload and anxiety.

Purpose: This article explores the impact of professional development on teachers and students in a time of high-stakes accountability. Specifically, we ask: Does Lesson Study impact teachers’ instruction and students’ achievement in writing? And how do pressures imposed by policy impact efficacy and collaboration in a high-needs school?

Research Design: This study uses data from 20 Lesson Study meetings at a high-needs, “Turnaround” school and considers changes in students’ writing achievement. The mixed-method approach and high-stakes context offer a unique contribution to Lesson Study research.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that instruction changed and students’ writing significantly improved, with the mean growth percentile increasing from the 30th to the 46th percentile on state assessments. Further, we found that during the Lesson Study process, teachers moved through six Stages of Transformation in response to a high-pressure context, moving from feelings of anger and blame-shifting to eventual feelings of empowerment.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 6, 2017, p. 1-58
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21788, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 7:06:37 AM

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About the Author
  • Vicki Collet
    University of Arkansas
    E-mail Author
    VICKI S. COLLET is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas. Her research interests are professional learning for in-service and pre-service teachers and literacy learning. Recently published articles include: "Transforming instruction: How collaborative professional development changed the teaching of argumentative writing" in English Leadership Quarterly and "Scaffolds for change: The gradual increase of responsibility model" in International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education.
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