Relating teaching to learning: Learning study in Hong Kong

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This paper explores how Learning Study, a Hong Kong version of the Japanese Lesson Study, serves to relate teaching to learning at the classroom level. Learning Study is premised on a conceptual framework that builds on three types of variation in a specific object of learning: variation in students’ understanding of the object of learning (V1); variation in teachers’ understanding and ways of handling the object (V2); and the use of patterns of variation based on the Theory of Variation (V3). Each Learning Study begins with a careful consideration of what pupils are supposed to learn (i.e. object of learning) and what is/are critical for them to be able to learn it (i.e. critical features). A pre- test is used to help the team to collect pupils’ prior understandings of the object of learning which may constitute their learning difficulties. Taking into account students’ different understandings of the object of learning, teachers collaborate with researchers from tertiary institutes to develop ways to structure the lesson in terms of pattern of variation aiming to make possible the learning of the critical features identified for the object of learning. Teachers in the team then teach the lesson in cycles. Lesson observation, post-lesson conference, post- test and post-lesson student interview are arranged after each cycle of lesson and the data collected are analyzed and triangulated to optimize the improvement that can be made in the next cycle. This paper draws on the data of two learning studies supported by the government-funded Progressive and Innovative Primary Schools Project of the Hong Kong Institute of Education and discusses how the teachers became aware of what was crucial in teaching the chosen topic – the critical features that students had to attend to, by relating the act of teaching to the corresponding student learning outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005


Ko, P. Y. (2005, August). Relating teaching to learning: Learning study in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 11th European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Biennial Conference: Multiple Perspectives on Effective Learning Environments, Nicosia, Cyprus.


  • Teacher Education
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development


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