Exploring Japanese research lessons study as a model of peer to peer professional learning

Cover of SCoTENS Compilation Report, August 2012This study seeks to explore the use of Research Lesson Study (RLS), a long-established professional development strategy in Japan, as a model of school-based and peer-to-peer professional development for teachers which is new to Northern Ireland and the Republic. Broadly stated, RLS involves between 3-5 teachers forming a group that plans lessons, observes them being taught by each other and analyses them with a view to improving practice. There are various approaches to RLS but this proposal seeks to adapt the successful work of Dudley (2005), which was arguably the first formal application of RLS techniques for professional development anywhere in Ireland or the UK.

The focus of this small-scale study is to examine this relatively new professional learning tool in a secondary level school in Sligo and Belfast. The key research questions are:

  1. Can RLS offer an effective school-based and peer-to-peer approach to staff development in schools?
  2. What factors facilitate or hinder the improvement of pedagogy and ultimately learning through RLS?