Effects of lesson study on theory-practice gap in mathematics teaching practices in selected secondary schools in Monze district,Zambia

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Hangoma, Edgar
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of the study was to establish whether Lesson Study supports teachers of Mathematics in bridging theory-practice gap in their Mathematics teaching practices in selected Secondary Schools of Monze District of Zambia. To achieve this, the study endeavoured to: (a) ascertain the role of Lesson Study as a professional development process; (b) evaluate the effectiveness of Lesson Study in Mathematics teaching practices and (c) examine school-based factors influencing effective implementation of the Lesson Study approach in schools. Lesson Study is a professional development practice with roots in Japanese schools. The Lesson Study is a structured process, a form of classroom inquiry, involving small groups of teachers that collaboratively plan, teach, observe, analyze, revise and refine actual classroom lessons (Cohan, & Honigsfeld, 2007). It has shown great promise in improving the quality of teaching Mathematics in ways that are sustainable and generative in nature. Despite Zambian teachers conducting Lesson studies for a considerable period of time, we do not know the effectiveness of the practice in teaching Mathematics in Zambian Secondary Schools. The study employed a quantitative research design. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire to a sample of 35 teachers of Mathematics consisting of 29 male and 6 female, who were sampled from seven Secondary Schools. The data collected was analysed to generate descriptive and inferential statistics. The results revealed that the Lesson Study approach enabled teachers to make significant improvements in both their lesson planning and implementation. In lesson planning, Lesson Study improved teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter to be taught. It also enabled teachers to integrate Mathematics knowledge of content to be taught with knowledge of teaching methods. In practice, the approach improved teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and enhanced pupil motivation for conceptual understanding. Furthermore, the results revealed that time was a major challenge to successfully implement Lesson Study, both scheduling time to meet as a group and the amount of time required to devote to Lesson Study. The most frequently cited factors fostering success were related to characteristics of Lesson Study. Overall, the findings revealed that a majority of the teachers believed that Lesson Study helped them to become better Mathematics teachers, and that it was an effective way to continue their professional development. The study concludes that Lesson Study was an effective tool to bridge theory-practice gap in Mathematics teaching practice. Therefore, there should be a paradigm shift in educators’ beliefs about effective professional development. Educators should make changes in their thinking and in practice, and embrace the Lesson Study which has proved to be a significant tool in development of practical wisdom.
Mathematics--Study and teaching practices--Zambia , Mathematics--Theory-practice gap--Zambia