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What is lesson study?

Lesson Study is a facilitated peer-group approach to improving your lesson preparation, delivery and practice with the goal of becoming a more effective instructor.

Instructors work together to choose a new technique, approach or curricular theme. The group then plans, teaches, observes, and evaluates the lesson under study. Lesson Study groups are often composed of instructors who come from the same subject area or discipline or who want to integrate the same theme into their particular discipline (e.g. sustainability across the curriculum).

What is the process for lesson study?

  1. Groups of 2 to 6 instructors meet with facilitator (an Instructional Development Consultant) and they plan the study.
  2. The group determines what kind of approach or teaching strategy or lesson topic they would like to explore. They then formulate guiding questions that will determine the focus of the observations. These take the form of research questions that the group would like to investigate and improve upon.
  3. Design the lesson. The group determines the learning goals and a lesson to achieve this goal.
  4. Everyone takes turns teaching the lesson while the other members observe the lesson being studied. Observers document all their observations regarding the lesson, the instructor, and the students, to inform the evaluation of the lesson. All participants deliver the lesson in their classes and are observed. The purpose of the observation is to research the effectiveness of the lesson. The purpose of the observations is not to evaluate individual instructors.
  5. The team meets to analyze the results and the effectiveness of the lesson being studied.
  6. Often, teams prepare written reports of their Lesson Study to share with their communities.

What is the time commitment?

You can expect to commit between 16 to 20 hours over the span of a Lesson Study. The entire span could take up to five months, depending on the schedule and frequency the group is able to meet. Ultimately, we determine the schedule together to ensure ease of participation with your current workloads. You will be asked to commit to the entire process.

Originating in Japan, Lesson Study is now practiced by educators across North America. Find more background on Lesson Study.


The Instructional Development Consultant will facilitate the planning and implementation of the study as well as provide pedagogical consultation through each step along the way. Lesson Study is a process that works particularly well for a group of instructors from a single program who would like to explore teaching practices and strategies. The IDC will support the group in exploring new teaching practices and strategies. As an option, the group can contribute to a paper documenting their study for dissemination. The group can also present the results of their study to the greater teaching community.

How do we get started?

Lesson Study can be started at any time of the year. If you are interested in participating please contact:

We will develop a list of interested people and contact you as soon as a group can be formed. Call us too if you already have fellow instructors who are interested. Start and end dates are flexible so call any time.