Teaching one thing at a time or several things together? – teachers changing their way of handling the object of learning by being engaged in a theory-based professional learning community in mathematics and science

Author: Angelika Kullberg, Ulla Runesson, Ference Marton, Anna Vikström, Pernilla Nilsson, Pernilla Mårtensson, Johan Häggström

Year: 2016

Paper Description

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of a modified lesson study approach on teachers’ practice. The modified lesson study approach was based on the theory that new meanings are learned through engaging with instances of contrasting concepts and principles.Twelve secondary school teachers of mathematics and science were the participants.

Key Takeaway 1

The study found that after participating in three modified lesson studies, the teachers were more likely to teach concepts and principles in relation to each other (i.e., simultaneously) rather than one at a time. This is a more effective way to teach because it allows students to see the differences between concepts and principles, which helps them to understand their meaning.

Key Takeaway 2

The teachers learned to teach in a more integrated way. They taught multiple concepts at the same time, and they helped students to see the connections between those concepts.

Standout Quote

“The striking difference identified was a change from teaching ‘one concept or aspect at a time’, to ‘several concepts or aspects at the same time’. Although it was certainly in line with theoretical implications, we could hardly predict this particular change in advance.”


teacher development, instructional coaching, expertise, expert teachers, mathematics, science, teaching, school improvement, variation theory, variation, pedagogy, mathematics, task design, science, science teaching