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a standardized open-ended format lasting approximately 45 minutes, about their experi- ences with lesson study, and the participants were asked to read and review the transcripts (Seidman, 2006). The interview transcripts, audio recordings of meetings, and field notes were analyzed, focusing on the participants’ reactions and reflections related to the project goals of creating a professional development learning community and increasing awareness of the value of formative assessment.

Project Analysis and Results

Professional Learning Community

Based on the analysis of the qualitative data collected, participation in the lesson study proj- ect promoted the formation of a school-based professional development learning commu- nity. The collaboration and communication inherent in the lesson study process were iden- tified by all participants as positive aspects of the lesson study process that promoted the development of such a learning community.

One of the classroom teachers expressed the importance of regular collaboration between team members, noting that lesson study instilled a sense of unity among the teachers:

The ability to come together instead of being stuck in a room planning my own lessons, being able to collaborate and bounce ideas off the other teachers and see how they think… it’s just a good way to improve student learning… It helps to remind you that everyone is working everyday for the kids – every- thing we do is for the benefit of the students.

The importance of communication was highlighted by one participant, who felt that the increased dialog and constant communication between lesson study team members was crucial to the success of the project, creating a shared desire to expand instructional plan- ning across grade levels. Another participant felt that lesson study allowed teachers to share their expertise, enabling her to consult team members as colleagues to develop instructional strategies that help all students succeed. Another felt the collaboration fostered increased teacher empowerment:

Each team member had an equal voice in making instructional decisions… It’s everyone together… it’s all of us looking at the curriculum to make it work for everyone.

Formative Assessment

In regard to the project’s impact on teachers’ awareness of the value of using formative as-

Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

Spring 2010

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