Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


his research addresses the power of collaborative, reflective teaching practice on teacher professional development in science education. Both the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS, 1995) and the NSF Local Systemic Change Project, Language Acquisition in Science Education for Rural Schools (LASERS, 1995-2000), studied the effects of collaborative, reflective teaching practice on science education. TIMSS identified the Japanese lesson study approach as an effective process for professional development in science. LASERS identified teacher professional development and instructional practices that result in improved science content understanding and English Language Development (ELD) with English Learners (EL). The Monterey Bay Science Project/LASERS Summer School Academy (MBSP/LASERS SSA) chose to implement lesson study with the summer school teachers. MBSP professional development integrates hands-on, inquiry-based learning and English language acquisition with garden-based learning in a summer school academy context. Lesson study, through this context, enables teachers to develop pedagogical knowledge of curriculum and instruction in both science and ELD through collaborative, reflective teaching practice. Teachers monitor their practice in terms of student learning outcomes and address issues of culture and equity in science education through engagement in the lesson study process. MBSP goals were measured through this study. Goals pertain to teachers' understanding of pedagogical approaches to science and language; enhancement of teachers' ability to provide quality science instruction that is accessible to all students; subsequently resulting in the enhancement of students' science and language learning with support from community resources and knowledge. Goals were measured in terms of the effectiveness of lesson study on teacher professional development and student perceptions of garden-based learning. Qualitative data analyses identified emergent themes from teacher and student interviews, focus groups, and written reflection, which were then compared to the effects of lesson study in terms of meeting MBSP goals. Findings from this study are presented based on a description of teachers' pre-service and in-service training with science education, ELD, and lesson study within the MBSP/LASERS SSA context. Findings show teachers' and students' perceptions of their experiences during the SSA, indicating that MBSP goals were met through lesson study within the SSA context of US schooling. The potential of lesson study for the future of teacher professional development in science education is addressed based on findings from this study as well. Through collaborative lesson planning, teachers were able to think about goals for student learning and study student learning and behavior in order to deepen their subject matter knowledge of science content and language instruction. They ultimately identified that they were able to develop powerful instructional knowledge through lesson study. As a final part of this discourse, recommendations to enhance the application of lesson study to the summer academy model are suggested.


Thesis (M.A.) Institute for Advanced Studies in Education

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