Using Lesson Study to Support Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Learning to Teach Mathematics


  • Evrim Erbilgin University of the People
  • Serkan Arikan Bogazici University


preservice elementary teachers, lesson study, reformed teaching observation protocol, reform-minded teaching, teacher education


This study sought to investigate what dimensions of didactic-mathematical knowledge preservice teachers discussed when engaged in lesson study and how lesson study supported the preservice teachers in implementing reform-minded teaching of mathematics. We employed an interpretive case study methodology with the intent of conceptualising the lesson study experience of the preservice teachers. The present lesson study took place in methods of teaching mathematics course at a state university in Turkey. We studied the experiences of two cohorts of preservice teachers during two consecutive years. The current study found that the lesson study experience engaged preservice teachers in discussions about the didactical dimension of teacher knowledge and supported their learning to teach from a reform-minded teaching approach.


Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. (2006). Standards for excellence in teaching mathematics in Australian schools. Retrieved from

Baba, T. (2007). Japanese education and lesson study: An overview. In M. Isoda, M. Stephens, Y. Ohara, & T. Miyakawa (Eds.), Japanese lesson study in mathematics: Its impact, diversity and potential for educational improvement (pp. 2-7). Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching. What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407.

Boston, M., Bostic, J., Lesseig, K., & Sherman, M. (2015). A comparison of mathematics classroom observation protocols. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 3(2), 154-175.

Cobb, P., & Bowers, J. (1999). Cognitive and situated learning perspectives in theory and practice. Educational Researcher, 28(2), 4–15.

Cobb, P., Stephan, M., McClain, K., & Gravemeijer, K. (2001). Participating in classroom mathematical practices. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 10(1&2), 113–164.

Corcoran, D., & Pepperell, S. (2011). Learning to teach mathematics using lesson study. In T. Rowland, & K. Ruthven (Eds.), Mathematical knowledge in teaching (pp. 213-230). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Darling-Hammond, L., & Bransford, J. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fernandez, C. (2005). Lesson study: A means for elementary teachers to develop the knowledge of mathematics needed for reform-minded teaching? Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 7(4), 265-289. doi: 10.1207/s15327833mtl0704_1

Fernández, M. L. (2010). Investigating how and what prospective teachers learn through microteaching lesson study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2), 351-362. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2009.09.012

Fernandez, M. L., & Zilliox, J. (2011). Investigating approaches to lesson study in prospective mathematics teacher education. In, L. C. Hart, A. Alston, & A. Murata (Eds.), Lesson study research and practice in mathematics education: Learning together (pp. 85–102). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Godino, J. D., Batanero, C., & Font, V. (2007). The onto-semiotic approach to research in mathematics education. ZDM, 39(1-2), 127-135.

Grant, T. J., Hiebert, J., & Wearne, D. (1998). Observing and teaching reform-minded lessons: What do teachers see? Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 1(2), 217-236.

Greeno, J. G. (2003). Situative research relevant to standards for school mathematics. In J. Kilpatrick, W. G. Martin, & D. Schifter (Eds.), A research companion to principles and standards for school mathematics (pp. 304–332). Reston, VA: NCTM.

Helgevold, N., Næsheim-Bjørkvik, G., & Østrem, S. (2015). Key focus areas and use of tools in mentoring conversations during internship in initial teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 49, 128-137. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2015.03.005

Hiebert, J., Morris, A. K., Berk, D., & Jansen, A. (2007). Preparing teachers to learn from teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 58(1), 47-61. doi: 10.1177/0022487106295726

Hiebert, J., Morris, A. K., & Glass, B. (2003). Learning to learn to teach: An “experiment” model for teaching and teacher preparation in mathematics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 6(3), 201-222. doi: 10.1023/A:1025162108648

Hunter, J., & Back, J. (2011). Facilitating sustainable professional development through lesson study. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13(1), 94-114.

Leavy, A. M., & Hourigan, M. (2016). Using lesson study to support knowledge development in initial teacher education: Insights from early number classrooms. Teaching and Teacher Education, 57, 161-175.

Lewis, C. (2002). Lesson study: A handbook of teacher-led instructional change. Philadelphia, PA: Research for Better Schools, Inc.

MacIsaac, D., & Falconer, K. (2002). Reforming physics instruction via RTOP. The Physics Teacher, 40(8), 479-485.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. Revised and expanded from "case study research in education." San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Meyer, R. D., & Wilkerson, T. L. (2011). Lesson study: The impact on teachers' knowledge for teaching mathematics. In, L. C. Hart, A. Alston, & A. Murata (Eds.), Lesson study research and practice in mathematics education: Learning together (pp. 15–26). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook, second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Murata, A., & Pothen, B. E. (2011). Lesson study in preservice elementary mathematics methods courses: Connecting emerging practice and understanding. In, L. C. Hart, A. Alston, & A. Murata (Eds.), Lesson study research and practice in mathematics education: Learning together (pp. 103–116). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1991). Professional standards for teaching mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Piburn, M., & Sawada, D. (2000). Reformed teaching observation protocol (RTOP): Reference manual. (ACEPT Technical Report No.IN00-3). Retrieved from

Putnam, R. T., & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4–15.

Pino-Fan, L., Assis, A., & Castro, W. F. (2015). Towards a methodology for the characterization of teachers' didactic-mathematical knowledge. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 11(6), 1429-1456. doi: 10.12973/eurasia.2015.1403a

Polly, D., Allman, B., Casto, A., & Norwood, J. (2018). Sociocultural perspectives of learning. In R. West (Ed.), Foundations of learning and instructional design technology . Retrieved from

Rasmussen, K. (2016). Lesson study in prospective mathematics teacher education: Didactic and paradidactic technology in the post-lesson reflection. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 19(4), 301-324. doi: 10.1007/s10857-015-9299-6

Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-22.

Sims, L., & Walsh, D. (2009). Lesson study with preservice teachers: Lessons from lessons. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 724-733. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2008.10.005

Takahashi, A. (2014). The Role of the knowledgeable other in lesson study: Examining the final comments of experienced lesson study practitioners. Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 16(1), 4-21.

Temiz, T., & Topcu, M. S. (2013). Preservice teachers' teacher efficacy beliefs and constructivist-based teaching practice. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28(4), 1435-1452. doi:10.1007/s10212-013-0174-5

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society (M. Cole, S. Scribner, V. John-Steiner, & E. Souberman, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University (Original work published 1934).

Yu, P. W. D. (2011). Lesson study as a framework for preservice teachers’ early field-based experiences. In, L. C. Hart, A. Alston, & A. Murata (Eds.), Lesson study research and practice in mathematics education: Learning together (pp. 117-126). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.