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Metapetagogy

Concept

Historically, scholars have made unfailing efforts to position education as a standard


science, but no solid success has been achieved regardless of the positivistic paradigm,
quantitative approaches, or value-free neutral stances they adopted. In China, scholars
have set up a so-called “three independency” standard for the scientific study of
education, but it has been finally proved invalid in practice. As interdisciplines permeate
the field of education, education experiences a crisis of being colonized. After serious
rethinking, interdisciplines were widely believed to do more good than harm to
education. Therefore, education is beginning to transform from a “colony” to an
“empire”. In this transformation, education finds it necessary to break the traditional
disciplinary boundaries and make it a field in which interdisciplinary communication is
contributory to the enrichment of scholarship.

As
teacher-scholars, we investigate teaching strategies, pose hypotheses
about learning that can be tested, and assess outcomes in the context of
various disciplines and various learning paradigms. The result is a
reflective, on-going process and a "meta-pedagogy" that is dynamic.

Professional Development
Why?
There are two main approaches that people use to organize and make sense of their
experiences: logical thinking and narrative thinking. Both of these approaches have a
long history of providing useful structures for organizing experiences. Narrative and story
telling has a long history of use in structuring, organising and communicating human
experience. This paper describes a narrative based interactive intelligent learning
environment which aims to elucidate practical reasoning using interactive emergent
narratives that can be used in training novices in decision making. Its design is based on
an approach to generating narrative from knowledge that has been
modelled in specific decision/reasoning domains. The approach uses a narrative model
that is guided partially by inference and contextual information contained in the particular
knowledge representation used, the Generic/Actual argument model of structured
reasoning. The approach is described with examples in the area of critical care nursing
training and positive learning outcomes are reported.

The promise of Narrative Interactive Learning Environments is that the


various notions of narrative can be harnessed to support learning in a
manner that adds significantly to the effectiveness of the learning
environment.
Abstract
The Networked Research Lesson Study project set out to study the development and
effects of one particular UK approach to Japanese Lesson Study, developed initially in
the Redbridge Networked Learning Community. This interpretation sees lesson study as a
powerful means of innovating and transferring pedagogic practices - including
metacognitive approaches - across classrooms, subjects, schools and networks.
Begun in 2003, the project has been developing an experimental design for research
lesson study practices with colleagues across England in a number of school settings,
both secondary and primary, and in a range of curriculum areas. These have been within-
school, cross-school ' networked ' forms, cross-phases, and cross-subjects. Assessment
for Learning (AfL) and Thinking Skills have been the common metacognitive
approaches.
Teams of teachers have collaboratively planned, analysed and presented the outcomes of
sequences of Research Lessons (studies) for use by others. Use of video and the internet,
as well as means of communication feature, strongly in this work.
The project has been led by one of the authors as a development and research project
within the National College for School Leadership ' s Networked Learning Group. It is
jointly supported by the National College for School Leadership, the Centre for British
Teachers (CfBT) and the (ESRC) Economic and Social Research Council ' s Teaching
and Learning Research Programme.

The RLS Metapedagogy Project


The Research Lesson Study project has spent four terms working with teachers in schools
in a number of networks of schools across England to design an initial approach to
research lesson study for English schools. All those teachers involved are engaged in
developing a pedagogic approach - either AfL or Thinking Skills.
The group has conducted development work in schools and attended four residential
seminars aimed at elucidating designs from theory and emerging school-based
experimentation - producing a toolkit for research lesson study, supported by examples of
practice.

The Research Lesson Study is a way of:


• Collaboratively innovating new teaching techniques; and,
• Presenting the techniques so they can be learned by, or transferred to, others.

It is also a way of exploring impact of the innovations on both teaching and learning.
With its origins in Japan, the Research Lesson Study is a process by which groups of two,
three, or more teachers improve teaching by identifying aspects of teaching and learning
that could be improved or where a new practice is necessary. They identify potential
strategies and jointly plan a research lesson that one person will teach while the others
observe in a focused and structured way - this observation may be recorded on video. The
lesson is then analysed by the group to consider the impact of teaching a particular
strategy, to refine and hone the lesson in preparation for it being re-taught. The dominant
pedagogic focus for this work has been around putting the assessment for learning and
thinking skills knowledge base into practice in classrooms.

Case pupils
Specific to this interpretation of lesson study is that the lesson study team always look at
three (or multiples of three) ' case pupils ' , who they bear in mind when planning the
lesson. They may represent groups of learners within the class who will have different
issue with the learning - typically higher, middle and lower attaining. The research lesson
team plans with the ' case pupils ' in mind and specifically for the part of the lesson that is
really under the microscope. They predict what they want these pupils get from, and do,
during this section of the lesson. The analysis starts from a discussion - for each pupil -
around what was supposed to happen for them, what actually happened and how the
difference can be accounted for.
Did the innovation work for them and, if not, what might work in the future? The lesson
will then be redesigned and re-conducted again, either with the same member of staff as '
teacher ' or delivered by a different teacher working in a different context. Most research
lesson groups are involving pupils in the process of designing or analysing the learning.
When the teachers are definitely ' onto ' something - there is some new practice that
works, in that it improves behaviour, motivation and enthusiasm - and to some degree at
least learning and progress, they will share the practice with colleagues. This ' principled
explanation ' (Resnick, 2001) is an important feature of research lesson study. The
teachers on the project have become adept at creating PowerPoint-embedded videos of
their practice - but many do demonstration lessons or lead a staff meeting in order to
disseminate what is working differently in their classrooms.
A review of the literature and an initial analysis of data collected to date (over 100
research lessons, a number of video presentations of practice and development over a
sequence of research lessons, interview transcripts and focus group data) have led to the
identification of the following as essential components of research lesson study.
Ten components of research lesson study (from ' Getting Started with Research Lessons
' : A sourcebook for practitioners ' , NCSL, 2004) include:
• Ground rules for working in joint research mode ;
• Use of ' case pupils ' who typify a subgroup of learners within the class (three or
multiples of three);
• Identification of what you want to learn (innovate or transfer) and why - your
research or enquiry focus, underpinned by a quality enquiry question;
• Connecting with, and drawing upon, what is already known about your focus;
• Joint planning;
• Joint observation (and data capture);
• Deconstruction, analysis and recording of what has been learned by case pupils,
other pupils and by researchers for subsequent honing, tweaking or sharing;
• Capturing and distilling practice/data (e.g. using video, stills or audio);
• Finding ways of helping others to learn from what you have learned - innovated,
refined or modified; and,
• Creating an artefact to convey this (a staff meeting, a PowerPoint, a video, a
coaching guide) and using it for real.

The following points have also emerged from the data so far in terms of apparent efficacy
of research lesson study.
• Research Lesson Study (this mode, Dudley 2003) is proving (to project members)
to be a powerful and replicable process for innovating, transferring and improving
teaching and learning practices. The RLS process has been found to be a useful
tool for innovating and transferring ' learning how to learn ' pedagogical practices
- notably Assessment for Learning and Thinking Skills in primary and secondary
schools.
• The process has been developed and used successfully in the core subjects in Key
Stage 3, in schools ranging from those in challenging circumstances to others in
more affluent areas. Some schools consider they are addressing under-
achievement, whilst others have amongst the highest value-added scores in the
country in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
• The RLS process encourages risk-taking in a culture of professional learning both
from what does not work as well as what does - “failing forwards towards
success― (Edison, T. in Hargreaves, D., 2004, p.68).
• ' The process is being found to be useful for transferring practices across subject
areas in ways previously not encountered or envisaged by participants ' . It may,
thus, have potential significance in reducing within-school variation.
• The process has been found to help teachers - experienced and less experienced -
to ' see things differently ' (project member), to be able to critically view their
own practices without being blinded by familiarity or ' blinkered by assumptions
about [their] immediate settings ' (Desforges, C.W., 2004).
• The process is viewed positively as a mechanism which lends itself to cross-
school and cross-phase working particularly as a result of the fact that the unit of
study and delivery is a ' lesson ' .
• Teachers in their first three years of teaching have found the process has given
them an opportunity to engage in ' deep ' professional learning, experienced
through existing models such as the standard diet of the induction year. RLS
provides a structure which enables NQTs to a lead role in teaching, planning and
gathering data in a series of research lessons - developing in their formative years
a common language for exploring teaching and learning
• The process is providing a useful means of addressing common questions and
problems encountered by teachers in pedagogic fields of metacognition found
within Assessment for Learning and Thinking Skills. Schools are putting these
into practice across the curriculum as a result of the Key Stage 3 and Primary
National Strategies.
• In all cases, teachers are finding that the value of the research lesson study is
significantly increased if pupils are involved in the process.
• There is evidence of some significant impact on pupil progress and outcomes -
but this is early and partial data.
• Schools have begun to develop cross-school or networked approaches to RLS,
where they are implementing a network-wide pedagogy. This has occurred in
Northumberland and Essex. All networks plan to develop this aspect in the
autumn term.
• Schools and networks of schools involved in the project are now building RLS
into their performance management policies, school improvement strategies,
network development plans and their CPD models.
• The process has not merely focused on pedagogy but teachers have also engaged
in learning about research processes - the gathering, analysing and coding of data
and moving into the realms of data capture and use of learning logs. There is a
growing sense of engagement both in, and with, research.
(The Research Lesson Study Toolkit, ' Getting Started with Research Lessons ' , can be
downloaded from: www.nlcexchange.org.uk - first register as a user and then choose the
Research Lessons community (left-hand side of screen). Once the details appear on the
right-hand side of the screen, click the link to the download).

The theoretical background


The hypothesis behind Research Lesson Study (also known as ' lesson development ' ) is
that teaching can be improved systematically and in ways that can potentially be taken to
scale, if common language, expectations and practices are developed in relation to what I
term ' metapedagogy ' (sets of skills and behaviours involved in continuously learning to
learn how to teach).
Knowledge is both socialised and situated. The contexts in which teacher practitioner
knowledge is created make it hard to move around. The knowledge is ' sticky ' (Brown
and Duguid, 2002, p.29 & Hargreaves, 1999) because ' the knowledge that is produced
has embedded in it a substantial tacit dimension ' (Fielding, Eraut et al., 2003, p.34).
Metapedagogy depends upon the creation of processes, contexts and, eventually, habits
and cultures that surface this tacit knowledge and make it explicit and public. Evidence
from Japan indicates that this can happen (Heibert & Stigler, 1999; Lewis, 2000 & Akita,
2004). Therefore, the project hypothesis concludes that metapedagogy, developed
through research lesson study, can mobilise and create a vehicle for articulating
practitioner knowledge, enabling knowledge-flow between classrooms and schools - even
permeating subject and phase boundaries.
The hypothesis is formed against a background of historical barriers operating against
effective teacher learning. These include the isolation in which teachers have operated
and learned, (Hargreaves, 2004), a lack of evidence-informed practice or reform, low
professional status and the fact that pedagogy was, for many years, considered an alien
concept in England (Simon, 1980) and the USA (Bruner, 1996 & Shulman, 1987).
There have been notable changes in recent years but these remain the dominant
experiences of our ageing profession. (Over half the profession is over 45-years-old.
Seventy per cent of school leaders are expected to have retired within the next ten years).
Teacher professional development has also historically tended be ' divorced from practice
' (Stigler, 2002) away from classrooms. In this country, it typically takes the form of ' top-
down ' , ' cascade-style ' events, led by advisers who no longer teach themselves. They are
' attended ' by lone teachers who are seldom given space on their return to school to
implement any knowledge they may have gained (Ofsted 2002, p. 25). In 2002, Ofsted
called for the ' better definition of the effects of CPD in the classroom ' and ' better
dissemination processes to enable new knowledge to be shared ' (p.26).
Cordingley et al. ' s systematic review of the effect of collaborative CPD on pupil
learning (2003) found that sustained collaborative CPD was linked with a positive impact
upon teachers ' repertoires of teaching and learning strategies, their ability to match these
to student needs, their self-esteem, their confidence and their commitment to continuing
learning and development. It was also linked with a positive impact upon student learning
processes, motivation and outcomes. (p.11). It nearly always involved elements of
sustained collaborative enquiry, classroom observation and joint development -
mentoring or coaching.
James and Pedder (2004), reporting on a large scale study of the factors associated with
changed teaching, and were emphatic that teacher learning that affects the classroom (in
this case, Assessment for Learning practices), needs to take place in the classroom.
' 1. Classroom assessment for learning practices is underpinned most strongly by teachers
learning in the contexts of their own classrooms.
2. Emphasis on building social capital without a clear classroom focus does not appear to
be strongly related to change in classroom practice.
3. We need to be careful about allocating time, energy and resources to the building of
social capital that lacks explicit classroom focus. '
(James, and Pedder, 2004, p.14)
Recent developments, such as the primary literacy, numeracy and Key Stage 3 national
strategies have gone some way towards this, with the introduction of common lesson
formats, demonstration lessons, and modelling by strategy consultants. But evaluators of
the strategies (Earle et al., 2003) have joined others, such as Hargreaves (2003) and
Desforges (2002, 2004), in calling for a system that can support innovation and
knowledge creation in teaching.
Policy makers in England have responded to this by attempting to create an arena where
responsibility for professional learning and professional knowledge creation, which has
historically tended to rest with the academic and policy communities, may increasingly
come to be located amidst the teaching profession itself, in an era of ' informed autonomy
' (Barber 2002) or ' informed professionalism ' (Hopkins, 2002). Organisations such as
the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and the General Teaching Council
(GTC) were created to help effect this transformation.
I will now argue that developments in teaching and learning and the resurgence of
pedagogy in recent years have also helped to counter these barriers.
Four contextual opportunities
Developmental shifts in the last five years have provided contextual openings in which to
engage in this area of development and research, with more hope of finding fertile ground
and receptive contexts than in even the recent past. These shifts are:
1. The resurgence of ' pedagogy ' ;
2. The move towards lateral networking;
3. A strategy for educational innovation; and,
4. A renewed focus on teacher coaching and mentoring.
1. The resurgence of ' pedagogy '
' Pedagogy ' , a term that was still largely alien to England, (Alexander, 2000 & Simon,
1980) in the late 1990s, is back ' in ' again. This is most clearly evident in the emergence
of distinct cross-curricular and cross-phase approaches to teaching and learning
exemplified by Assessment for Learning (ARG, 1999) based upon Black and William ' s
(1998) ' Black Box ' research on thinking skills (McGuiness, 1999)
These two amongst other ' pedagogical approaches ' have gained increasing credibility
and importance, both within the profession and amongst policy-makers (Miliband, 2004
& Dudley, 2004), who are increasingly convinced that they improve the cognitive and
metacognitive performance of pupils, and provide teachers with components of
coherently linked practices to “put into practice― in their classrooms (Leat and
Higgins, (2002) & Black et al., 2003).
2. The move towards lateral learning
Professional learning and knowledge creation, in this form, relies on the dynamic
existence of many lateral learning opportunities and relationships (Hopkins and Jackson,
2002; Bentley, 2003; Hargreaves, 2003 and 2004), which can be afforded by networks of
professionals and schools working together in communities of enquiry and development
(Leiberman, 1998). This has given rise to the development of Leadership Incentive Grant
groupings, the GTCE ' s Teacher Learning Academies and to NCSL ' s large-scale
national development and research ' Networked Learning Communities ' programme of
130 networks of schools.
This third example has three aims - to develop good networks, to learn about ' networked
learning ' and to help the system learn how it can reform itself in order to engender such
work (Jackson, 2004). Within these contexts, teachers, pupils and school leaders are
exploring a range of approaches to lateral learning and knowledge creation (Dudley and
Horne, 2004). These networks are also developing shared enquiry methodologies, which
they are using to improve practice (Dudley, Hadfield and Carter, 2003), focused in three
areas of lateral learning across school: pedagogic development, teacher enquiry
development and leadership learning (Dudley and Horne op. cit.). Both the networked
learning communities programme and the TLRP L2L project have helped to generate a
school and networked context for this metapedagogy research.
3. The strategy for innovation
The DfES Innovation Unit, set up in 2002, is tasked with identifying and stimulating
innovation in the system. Much of this focuses around large scale enterprises, such as
networking (it has been a key partner in the Networked Learning Communities project),
school remodelling or creative partnership initiatives. Classroom innovation that makes a
long-term difference is important in this context. This is where research lesson study fits
in: as a process that combines features of classroom collaboration, enquiry and coaching
with the aims of disciplined innovation and knowledge transfer. In order to become
system-based and to avoid some of the pitfalls it has encountered in the USA,
(Fernandez, C., 2002) it will require incorporating thinking which goes “beyond
individual and team learning to organisational learning and system change― (Fullan,
M., 2004, p.12) into its design.
4. Renewed focus on teacher coaching and mentoring
Largely as a result of studies cited above (Cordingley, 2003 & Earle, 2003), there is now
a policy move to increase the focus of CPD in English schools onto classroom-centred,
peer-led enquiry-based learning. At the time of writing, a policy initiative is consulting
on a national Framework for Mentoring and Coaching (CUREE, 2004).
Much of this work is founded upon the development of school communities of practice
and enquiry, drawing on Wenger and Lave (1991) and Wenger (1998). Wenger defines '
Community ' as members ' ' shared histories of learning ' (p.86). Reification, as the
artefacts, demark those communities but can result in the “dangerous persistence―
as they age or become redundant (p.61). Boundary ' standardisation ' (p.106) and '
brokerage ' , he argues, can help create contexts and agents to help sticky knowledge flow
between communities of practice, as can ' alignment ' (p.174). Wenger ' s suggestions for
a design for an education system are based upon creating improved professional learning
by:
• Convincing, inspiring, uniting;
• Defining broad visions and aspirations, and proposing stories of identity;
• Devising proceduralisation, quantification, and control structures that are
portable;
• Walking boundaries, and creating boundary practices; and, reconciling diverging
perspectives. (p.187)
An approach such as research lessons helps to address Wenger ' s ' challenge of design ' ,
which he sees as ' to support the work of engagement, imagination and alignment '
(p.237). In order to create portability, the Research Lesson Study incorporates additional
elements of knowledge transfer approaches that are designed to overcome the potential
problems of persistence, reliance on shared history, shared experience and community
membership, which are inherent in Wenger ' s model.
RLS deliberately harnesses a Japanese concept - the concept of ' ba ' (Nonaka et al.,
2002), which, through discipline as well as design, enables the strategic location, and
relocation of structured exploratory reflective problem solving and innovation. In this
way, organisations can react swiftly to innovation needs across skills sectors, business
fields or localities - because they have structures and processes for creating such
problem-solving teams and workforces familiar with, and skilled in, using them in
different settings. Such teams are often created specifically for the purpose - brand new
communities with no shared histories or reified practices other than those of the
structured enquiry process itself. ' Jugyoukenkyuu ' or ' lesson study ' is a manifestation of
this concept in Japanese education.

A note on the origin and recent development of lesson study


The TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) first stimulated US
interest in Jugyoukenkyuu or ' lesson study ' (Heibert and Stigler, 1999 & Lewis, 2000
and 2004).
In Japan, teams of teachers identify an aspect of their teaching that is likely to have an
impact on an area of need in pupil learning. They spend between one and three years
working in groups, planning interventions that may work, closely observing these '
research lessons ' deconstructing and writing up what they learn - from failures, as well as
successes (Wilms 2003). At the end of a cycle of studies, they may teach a ' public
research lesson ' before an audience of peers from local schools and colleges, in order to
share the practice and widen the critique. This can even be a city-wide event (Watanabe,
2002). These studies are widely read by Japanese teachers, who contribute more than
50% of the educational research literature produced in the country (Fernandez, C., 2002).
Most Japanese teachers would expect to be involved in at least one network or
community of colleagues working on a research lesson question at any one time.
Lesson study has been developed in a number of locations in the USA over the past seven
years. It is also used in the IQEA and Networked Learning Communities projects in
England.

Design study methodology and lesson development


It is possible to look at each research lesson as a design study or design experiment. A
simple and compelling rationale for design experiments is given by Schoenfeld (in press):
Imagine a theory of aeronautics prior to the Wright brothers ' 1903 Kitty Hawk flight.
There wouldn ' t be much to it, would there? Not until heavier than air mechanical flight
became a reality could a theory of aeronautics get off the ground… over time, theory and
design grew in dialectic, each enriching the other.
There are four reasons for this decision:
• The starting point for the project - both contextually and methodologically -
involves the study of an artefact or design that has a prior existence and which,
has itself, been iteratively informed by recursive redesign. Gorard, Roberts and
Taylor (2004) remind us that ' design sciences are concerned with producing and
improving artefacts or designed interventions, and establishing how they behave
under different conditions ' , rather than explaining how and why things work. A
failed design is potentially as important as a successful one.
• The nature of research lesson study involves multiple dependent variables and
data types. It is necessary to ' construct a model which is not only consistent with
the data, but also with existing knowledge and assumptions about the processes
which produce the data ' (Finbarr, Sloane and Gorard, 2003). The most
appropriate model seems to be the three phase ' complex intervention ' (i) initial
design based on theory and existing knowledge; (ii) formative evaluation using
qualitative data, and (iii) feasibility study.
• The nature of research lesson study (studying what has worked/not worked, and
so engineering on the next refinement of practice) mirrors the process of '
deliberate practice ' identified as of critical importance in ' expert development '
(Anders-Erickson, 2002). This is a feature of teacher learning that RLS attempts
to bring about. It differs only in that it is necessarily collaborative - but again
strongly resembles approaches to the development of communities of enquiry at
Xerox ' s PARC laboratory (Brown, 1991) or Toyota ' s ' lean production system '
(Wilms, 2003).
• Transfer of what has new innovated knowledge is critical to the success of the
research lesson process. In Lobato ' s concept of ' actor-oriented transfer ' (2003)
in design experiments, transfer is built into the design as an integral component.
This is in line with emergent hypotheses in RLS process design (points 9 and 10
above). There is also a potential for an experimental feature to remain within the
design, increasing its subsequent potential for refinement and improvement in
later cycles of analysis and modification.
There are obvious attractions and advantages in the DE methodology. There are also
numerous pitfalls. Perhaps the greatest is the need to ensure that the outcomes of interest
for the design experiment are fixed first, to avoid simply ' trawling ' data for patterns and
modifying methods along the way, leaving no fixed point to the research (Gorard et al.,
2004).
The second warning given in the same article is in the need for clarity about how the
design experiment is preserved, through a distinction between experimental conditions
(the research lesson) and classroom conditions (in the needs identification or subsequent
coaching). Otherwise, the process is indistinguishable from other practitioner action
research. Study of research lessons in multiple locations over time, however, may require
a more complex ' formative intervention ' approach (Engestrom, 2004).
NOTE: This is an abridged version of a much longer paper. Please contact the authors, by
emailing the Online Conference Manager after the completion of this Online Conference,
if you wish to contact the authors for the full version, complete with tables and graphics.

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