The potential of Lesson Study in primary physical education: Messages from a longitudinal study in Japan

Seichiro Kihara, Michael Jess, Paul McMillan, Kazuki Osedo, Kenji Kubo, Hiroshi Nakanishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the view that Lesson Study has the potential to make a significant contribution to future developments in primary physical education. To set the paper in context, we explore the concerns that have long been voiced about primary physical education, particularly the nature of the professional development experiences of generalist primary class teachers. Contemporary
approaches to teachers’ professional development, one of which is Lesson Study, are presented as having some potential in addressing these concerns as they are focused on teacher collaboration, autonomy and agency. Building on this background, the paper reports on a longitudinal physical education Lesson Study investigation that took place in one primary school in Japan: a country where
Lesson Study has been a key feature of teachers’ professional development for more than a century. Working with 30 teachers over a three-year period, the findings highlight how the long-term, collaborative and situated nature of the Lesson Study experience helped create a positive context for the teachers’ professional development in physical education. Specifically, the findings reveal that the shared planning, observation and reflective experiences over time helped the teachers develop a more positive and detailed view of physical education. The paper concludes by proposing that Lesson Study, as a long-term, collaborative and situated endeavour, has the potential to foster productive
developments in generalist teachers’ enactment of the primary physical education curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Early online date8 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2020


  • primary
  • generalist teachers
  • professional development
  • lesson study


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