"We don’t observe other teachers”: Addressing professional development barriers through lesson study and video clubs


  • Yuzhu Xia University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Adria Patthoff University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Marco Bravo Santa Clara University, California
  • Kip Téllez University of California, Santa Cruz


This study examines if and how teachers learn with and from one another, given shared video-recorded lessons, virtual meetings in pairs and large groups, and specialized focus of learning content. Combining two existing and effective professional development designs, we implemented a hybrid model, Lesson Study with Video Club (LSVC). As our data demonstrate, this model met the learning needs of teachers in specialized contexts and offered teachers valuable opportunities to observe colleagues in different locations. In order to measure teachers’ perceived effectiveness of LSVC, we invited 57 elementary level Dual Language Program (DLP) teachers to plan, view and discuss each other’s recorded mathematics lessons in person and online. Teaching mathematics in DLP -- primarily in Spanish -- represents an example of the specialized instructional context for which LSVC is designed. The results of this mixed-methods, cross-state study in the United States show that LSVC helped deepen DLP teacher learning in developing teaching practices through opportunities to co-plan, deliver and discuss mathematics instruction with teachers beyond their home schools. Teachers also reported that participating in the hybrid model enhanced their professional relationships, a crucial feature for many teachers who work in specialized programs and often lack a local community of educators. We conclude the paper by noting the limitations of our research, as well as the policy implications and practical advantages of professional development that extends beyond individual schools and supports specialized learning.

Author Biography

Yuzhu Xia, University of California, Santa Cruz

Yuzhu is a doctoral candidate at the Education Department, University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interest lies in the intersection of bilingual education, teacher education, and quantitative research methods. Specifically, she specializes in using statistical softwares to analyze large educational datasets.