Benefits and challenges of lesson study : a case of teaching Physical Sciences in South Africa

03 Apr 2019

This study explored teachers’ experiences in the teaching of electricity and magnetism during a Lesson Study intervention. Using a case study research design, a sample of 4 physical sciences teachers was conveniently selected from schools in rural and suburban areas. Due to logistical challenges, the 4 participants were grouped into 2 separately functioning lesson study pairs. Data were collected through multiple sources including semi-structured interviews, observations of classroom teaching and Lesson Study meetings, field notes, participants’ initial lesson plans and reflective writings. It was found that collaboration through Lesson Study enhanced teachers’ professional teaching strategies, networking skills, lesson plan writing, classroom management, self-efficacy and positive attitudes towards teaching. However, challenges such as lack of time, lack of institutional support and insufficient instructional materials pose a threat to teachers’ participation in Lesson Study. It is therefore recommended that policy makers develop strategic plans to promote the use of Lesson Study as a school-based professional development initiative. Further research on Lesson Study in pre-service science teacher education may pave the way towards professional collaboration as a sustainable practice amongst science teachers. This may ultimately improve the performance levels of science learners in South Africa.