'Learning Study' as a model of collaborative practice in initial teacher education

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Ume University Library]On: 24 November 2014, At: 22:59Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of Education for Teaching:International research and pedagogyPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjet20</p><p>Learning Study as a model ofcollaborative practice in initial teachereducationPeter Davies a &amp; Richard Dunnill aa IEPR , Staffordshire University , StokeonTrent, UKPublished online: 18 Feb 2008.</p><p>To cite this article: Peter Davies &amp; Richard Dunnill (2008) Learning Study as a model ofcollaborative practice in initial teacher education, Journal of Education for Teaching: Internationalresearch and pedagogy, 34:1, 3-16</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02607470701773408</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp;Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjet20http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02607470701773408http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>Learning Study as a model of collaborative practice in initial teachereducation</p><p>Peter Davies* and Richard Dunnill</p><p>IEPR, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK</p><p>Learning Study provides a distinctive model for collaborative practice in teacherdevelopment. It combines the intensive planteachreview model developed bythe Japanese Lesson Study model with a focus on the outcomes of learning usingvariation theory. We present an argument for expecting this approach to helptrainees in initial teacher education to progress to more sophisticated conceptionsof teaching. We also present findings from the implementation of Learning Studyin the initial teacher education programme at one UK university over a period oftwo years. We conclude that it is practicable and beneficial to use Learning Studyin this context and that the representational device of a Learning OutcomeCircle helps trainees to understand the implications of variation theory andopens up their vision of teaching.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>The development of trainees in initial teacher education has been characterised</p><p>(Wood 2000) in terms of shifting from more simple to more complex conceptions of</p><p>teaching. However, like most kinds of substantial conceptual change, this shift is</p><p>troublesome to accomplish (Kagan 1992; Valli 1992). This paper examines whether</p><p>the practice of Learning Study (Pang and Marton 2003, 2005) offers a valuable</p><p>response to this problem. Learning Study combines a model of collaborative plan</p><p>teachreview teacher development with a focus on the structure of learning</p><p>outcomes. Following the Japanese model of lesson study, teachers work intensively</p><p>together in lesson preparation, teaching and reflection. In Learning Study, lesson</p><p>preparation is preceded by an attempt to identify variation in ways of understanding</p><p>a phenomenon that is the focus of the lesson. This phenomenographic activity</p><p>frames the learning objectives for the lesson and also features prominently in</p><p>teachers review of the lesson. As such, it might be interpreted as a particular</p><p>approach to creating high goal clarity (Seidel, Rimmele and Prenzel 2005) for</p><p>teachers and students.</p><p>In the first section we explain the nature of Learning Study and offer an</p><p>argument for expecting this practice to be helpful in the context of initial teacher</p><p>education. We then describe how Learning Study was incorporated in a</p><p>postgraduate initial teacher development programme in one university. This</p><p>second section also describes how data were gathered during two years of</p><p>implementation of Learning Study. In section three we present some findings</p><p>drawing upon interview data and field notes. Our final section offers some</p><p>conclusions.</p><p>*Corresponding author. Email: p.i.davies@staffs.ac.uk</p><p>Journal of Education for Teaching</p><p>Vol. 34, No. 1, February 2008, 316</p><p>ISSN 0260-7476 print/ISSN 1360-0540 online</p><p># 2008 Taylor &amp; FrancisDOI: 10.1080/02607470701773408</p><p>http://www.informaworld.com</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>59 2</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>What is Learning Study?</p><p>The application of Learning Study we describe incorporated three elements:</p><p>collaboration between trainees that focused on planning, teaching and reviewing a</p><p>small number of lessons; focusing the planning and reviewing of lessons on learning</p><p>outcomes described in terms of variation theory; and using the collaborative review</p><p>process to help trainees to progress towards a more complex understanding of</p><p>learning and teaching. It is the combination of these three features that makes the</p><p>approach distinctive.</p><p>Collaboration focused on planning, teaching and reviewing lessons</p><p>The value of lesson-focused collaboration for professional development of teachers</p><p>has been widely advocated.</p><p>Collaboration a process considered central to successful professional developmentprograms ensures that what is discovered will be communicable because it isdiscovered in the context of group discussion. Collaboration, then, becomes essential forthe development of professional knowledge, not because collaborations provideteachers with social support groups but because collaborations force their participantsto make their knowledge public and understood by colleagues. (Hiebert, Gallimore andStigler 2002, 7)</p><p>When this approach to teachers professional development has been adopted, the</p><p>outcomes for students attainment have tended to be positive (Little 2002; Borko2004). Sim (2006) reports on nine years of implementing a collaborative practice</p><p>model within initial teacher education. She reports that the model has been</p><p>successful to a point although limited progress has been made in building trainees</p><p>critical analysis and the extent to which they value the relationship between theory</p><p>and classroom practice. The development of these capabilities is central to lesson</p><p>study.</p><p>The Japanese model of lesson study provides a carefully structured articulation</p><p>of collaborative professional development, which has recently gained some strong</p><p>adherents in the United States (for example, Hiebert, Gallimore and Stigler 2002;</p><p>Fernandez, Cannon and Chokshi 2003).</p><p>Small groups of teachers meet regularly, once a week for several hours, tocollaboratively plan, implement, evaluate and revise lessons They begin the processof improving the targeted lessons by setting clear learning goals and then reading aboutwhat other teachers have done, what ideas are recommended by researchers andreformers, and what has been reported on students learning of this topic. (Hiebert,Gallimore and Stigler 2002, 9)</p><p>There are several important features of this style of collaboration. First, a group of</p><p>teachers spends many hours planning and reviewing a single lesson. The activity is</p><p>intensive. Second, the intention of this activity is to help teachers to revise their</p><p>professional knowledge, their theories of learning and teaching, in the light of their</p><p>experience of practice. Third, in order to achieve this, the teachers give great</p><p>attention to evidence from the classroom. For example, a report of a lesson study</p><p>collaboration between US and Japanese teachers:</p><p>observed the Japanese teachers continually encouraging the American teachers to seethemselves as researchers conducting an empirical examination, organized aroundasking questions about practice and designing classroom experiments to explore thesequestions. (Fernandez, Cannon and Chokshi 2003, 173)</p><p>4 P. Davies and R. Dunnill</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>59 2</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Lewis, Parry and Murata (2006) acknowledge two main weaknesses in the case for</p><p>Lesson Study: a relatively small body of research describing how the process</p><p>operates in western settings, and an insufficient body of evidence that might be used</p><p>to explicate the mechanism(s) by which Lesson Study achieves the effects reported</p><p>by participants. In short, there is a paucity of substantiated theory. In their defence</p><p>of Lesson Study, Lewis, Parry and Murata argue that the conclusions drawn by a</p><p>group of Lesson Study teachers should be regarded as local theory: what works</p><p>for them with these students. For Pang and Marton (2003, 2005) this warrant is</p><p>insufficient. They criticise Lesson Study for its lack of attention to a theory of</p><p>learning. In particular, they eschew the absence of a theory that accounts for</p><p>variation in the conceptions of different students before and after an episode of</p><p>learning.</p><p>Focusing on learning through learning outcomes</p><p>Lessons that are directed by intended learning outcomes are more likely to raise</p><p>student attainment (Seidel, Rimmele and Prenzel 2005), especially when these</p><p>intentions are understood and internalised by learners (Bereiter and Scardamalia</p><p>1989; Black and Wiliam 1998). It follows that initial teacher education programmes</p><p>can promote trainees development by helping them to focus on students learning</p><p>outcomes. However, each theory of learning generates a different way of defining</p><p>learning outcomes, and this carries implications for the type of support that is</p><p>appropriate to provide. For example, Stones (1992) suggests a 12-step heuristic for</p><p>teaching concepts, while Kinchin and Alias (2005) describe a strategy based on</p><p>concept mapping. These two examples provide useful reference points through which</p><p>to highlight the salient features of Learning Study.</p><p>Each of these approaches to lesson planning emphasises the importance of</p><p>recognizing the gap between students initial ideas and the ideas that the teacher</p><p>hopes they will develop during the lesson. However, while Stones (1992) refers to</p><p>students understanding of concepts, Learning Study using the language of</p><p>phenomenography refers to students conceptions of phenomena. This distinction</p><p>is significant in two ways.</p><p>First, the language of understanding a concept provides the teacher with two</p><p>categories with which to label students thinking: understanding and not under-</p><p>standing. Phenomenography offers a different language: there are different possible</p><p>conceptions of any particular phenomenon. In the language of understanding a</p><p>concept we might speak of a student understanding the concept of price that</p><p>previously they had not understood. In the language of phenomenography we might</p><p>speak of a student replacing a more simple conception of price with a more complex</p><p>conception of price. Second, different conceptions of a phenomenon such as price</p><p>are, according to phenomenography, reflections of different ways in which the</p><p>phenomenon is experienced. That is, complexity of conception does not vary across</p><p>phenomena in a uniform way as suggested by Piagetian and neo-Piagetian (for</p><p>example, Biggs and Collis 1991) theories of learning. Therefore, from a</p><p>phenomenographic perspective, variation in conceptions should be identified</p><p>through detailed analysis of data gathered through phenomenographic interviews.</p><p>In these interviews, students are asked to explain a phenomenon that is rooted in</p><p>their experience. The interviewer must be careful to avoid prompting lines of</p><p>Journal of Education for Teaching 5</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>59 2</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>explanation, but must also be persistent in encouraging the student to expose the full</p><p>depth of their thinking. Extensive qualitative analysis is then used to identify</p><p>qualitatively distinct ways of experiencing a phenomenon that can be detected in the</p><p>range of interview data that have been gathered. The demands of this research tool</p><p>limit its practicability as a routine part of teachers practice. We return to this point</p><p>in our discussion of data collected in this study.</p><p>We now pursue the significance of these distinctions through a specific example</p><p>taken from Kinchin and Alias (2005) and reproduced in Figure 1.</p><p>Figure 1 presents a concept map in which the subsidiary features (cement,</p><p>water, etc.) are connected to the concept concrete. If students are asked to draw</p><p>concept maps of concrete, variations in their thinking will be suggested by the links</p><p>they include and the ways in which they categorise these links. In the terminology</p><p>used by Stones (1992) we might identify which of the features included in Figure 1</p><p>are criterial attributes; that is, essential to the proper concept of concrete.</p><p>However, Kinchin and Alias (2005) are less interested in acquisition of a proper</p><p>concept of concrete. For them, concept mapping is a way of expressing and</p><p>developing ever more complex, and thereby useful, ways of understanding of</p><p>concrete. As more links and categories are added, concrete becomes more</p><p>interconnected within an individuals understanding.</p><p>The conception of understanding that underpins Learning Study has some</p><p>characteristics of each of these approaches. But it combines these characteristics in a</p><p>way that gives rise to a distinctive prescription for teaching. We refer to the</p><p>Learning Outcome Circle diagram in Figure 2 to illustrate these points. First, as</p><p>with Stones, it is accepted that a conception highlights certain criterial attributes of</p><p>a phenomenon. For example, one conception of concrete might be that it combines</p><p>the features water, cement and aggregate as shown by the continuous bold edges of</p><p>three boxes in Figure 2. However, this conception of concrete would not allow for</p><p>any appreciation of variation within the characteristics of concrete. Another</p><p>conception of concrete might posit a relationship between the strength of concrete</p><p>Figure 1. A net-type concept map for a topic on concrete. Note: Reproduced from Kinchin</p><p>and Alias (2005, 580, Figure 5).</p><p>6 P. Davies and R. Dunnill</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Um</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>] at</p><p> 22:</p><p>59 2</p><p>4 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>and the relative proportion...</p></li></ul>


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