The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Lesson Study in Initial Teacher Education: Affordances and constraints in teaching mathematics through inquiry

James Calleja, University of Malta (Malta)


As a collaborative professional development process, lesson study offers teachers an opportunity to collaboratively research, plan, teach, reflect upon and assess a lesson (Huang et al., 2019). The lesson is usually selected in an attempt to address a challenging aspect with teaching and learning, related to either content or pedagogy. The case presented in this paper focuses on the teaching of mathematics through inquiry which, in the Maltese context, is found to be challenging for teachers (Calleja, 2022). Pre-service teachers in Malta, reading for the Master in Teaching and Learning (MTL) at the Faculty of Education (University of Malta), are offered an 18-hour course on how to use inquiry as a pedagogical tool to teach mathematics to secondary school students. To do this, a mathematics teacher educator – referred to as ‘the lecturer’ – used lesson study as a teaching methodology with pre-service teachers enrolled in the MTL course during the 2022-2023 academic year. Being a first experience, this paper will focus on the affordances and constraints that lesson study, as a teaching and learning methodology, offered to both the lecturer and his two students. Using Gibson’s (1977) theory of affordances and constraints, data analysis sheds light on how lesson study was adapted and experienced and to what extent it provided learning opportunities. Given the widespread and global use of lesson study (Dudley, 2015), the aim of this paper is to critically analyse outcomes that could prompt a discussion around why lesson study might be a useful and promising approach in initial teacher education (ITE). This paper will delve into the lesson study model adopted by the lecturer and its workload on students, the MTL course philosophy and requirements, the existing knowledge and beliefs of pre-service teachers and the influence of the school context on pre-service teachers’ enactment of inquiry teaching. Hence, the paper intends to highlight potential enablers and hindrances that lesson study in ITE may offer and how it can shape teaching and learning for pre-service teachers of mathematics.

Keywords: Initial teacher education; inquiry teaching; lesson study; mathematics education; teacher professional development


[1] Calleja, J. (2022). Changes in mathematics teachers’ self-reported beliefs and practices over the course of a blended continuing professional development. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 34, 835-861.

[2] Dudley, P. (2015). Lesson Study: Professional Learning for Our Time. Routledge: New York.

[3] Gibson, J. J. (1977). The theory of affordances. In R. E. Shaw and J. Bransford (Eds.), Perceiving, Acting, and Knowing: Toward an ecological psychology, (pp. 67-82). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, NJ.

[4] Huang, R., Takahashi, A. & Ponte, J.P. (2019). Theory and Practice of Lesson Study in Mathematics. Springer International Publishing: New York.

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