Catherine Lewis has pioneered use of Lesson Study (jugyou kenkyuu) in US schools. Lesson Study is a collaborative, practice-based form of professional learning that allows Japanese educators to continuously improve their instruction. With funding from the US Department of Education and NSF, she has developed and tested a series of resource kits to support lesson study in the US, including key resources translated from the Japanese elementary mathematics curriculum. Her randomized controlled trial of lesson study with mathematical content resources was identified by a What Works Clearinghouse-criteria review as one of only two professional learning programs (of 643 reviewed) to meet scientific criteria and positively impact students’ mathematical proficiency. Lewis has served as an advisor to lesson study projects in the US and abroad, and has hosted national and international conferences that have attracted capacity groups of educators for public research lessons in California schools. Her video, research, and materials can be found at www.lessonresearch.net.
The proposed research would create 8-12 brief videotaped vignettes of practices in Japanese and American elementary schools, designed to trigger discussion and reflection on the goals and methods of education. These videotapes would be tested with diverse groups of educators in the two countries, and revised, based upon this testing. Major project goals are (1) to create "trigger" videotapes that can be used as tools for both cross-national research and research on educators' thinking; and (2)to deepen our understanding of methods to promote cross-cultural learning in general (i.e., to promote reflection rather than defensiveness.) The vignettes would center on topics of interest to researchers and educators in the two countries, with particular foci of interest to each side (e.g., creativity, cooperation).