Organizational factors for conducting lesson study to manage curriculum

Chi Keung Eric CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This presentation will report an ethnography study to identify the onto-culture for operating Japanese Lesson Study effectively. It also examines the leadership support required for successfully transplanting Lesson Study into other countries. It proposes a curriculum implementation model that involves incorporating the Nonaka’s SECI knowledge creation model into Lesson Study. The model provides guiding activities to further help school leaders and teachers manage knowledge for effective curriculum implementation.
Lesson Study has proved so successful in improving teaching skills and attaining educational goals in Japan that attempts have been made to transplant it to other countries. Sadly, they have not always been successful. Japanese work culture includes emphases on collaborative knowledge sharing, organizational trust and a routine of improvement (Kaizen Kata), that have become key to the success of Lesson Study. Lesson Study in Japan thrives in a specific social and cultural context that may not exist elsewhere.
Much research on Lesson Study has focused on how to transpose the knowledge embedded in Japanese teaching materials and curriculum to other countries. However, there is still a research gap in terms of explaining how Lesson Study creates individual, groups and organizational knowledge in schools. What is needed for the successful transplantation of Lesson Study is a fertile soil. It is likely neither possible nor desirable for education systems of other countries to recreate the Japanese social context in its entirety. However, there are strategies that can be adopted to allow Lesson Study to take root in other cultural environments.
Method     Ethnography study is conducted to explore cultural phenomena and involves the researcher attempting to observe society from the perspective of the subject of the study. Such a study is a way of representing in writing the culture of a group.
Result     The onto-culture incorporates elements of professional accountability, trust, dialogue, and systems thinking, as well as Kaizen Kata, the concept of continuous improvement. Japan is a high trust society and trust is a fundamental enabler of knowledge sharing. This trust enables the Japanese to work effectively in teams and groups to complete tasks through professional dialogue and collective reflection. Combining the routine of PDCA cycles with Kaizen Kata allows teachers to refine hypotheses and solutions to improve teaching and learning.
Conclusion     In Japan, Lesson Study has proved itself able to increase teaching competencies and to establish dynamic collaborative learning communities. However, attempts to transplant this process to other countries have proved less than inspiring, largely because its effectiveness in Japan is based very much on certain environmental and contextual characteristics. It is hard for a plant to survive in alien soil. School leaders should nurture conditions that support and sustain knowledge retention and creation processes of Lesson Study, e.g., school leadership support, an organizational learning culture, and a school policy for teacher professional development, that will enable effective management of the curriculum of their schools. Copyright © 2018 WALS.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
EventThe World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2018: Lesson Study and Teacher Education: International Dialogue - Beijing Normal University, China
Duration: 23 Nov 201826 Nov 2018


ConferenceThe World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2018: Lesson Study and Teacher Education: International Dialogue
Abbreviated titleWALS 2018


Cheng, E. C. K. (2018, November). Organizational factors for conducting lesson study to manage curriculum. Paper presented at the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference 2018: Lesson Study and Teacher Education: International Dialogue, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.


  • Lesson study
  • Curriculum management
  • PDCA cycles
  • SECI model
  • Knowledge management


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