Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Jennifer M. Lewis


As the most important in-school factor in student learning, elementary school teachers must be able to offer all students the quality mathematical learning experiences that they deserve; and the opportunities to learn that pre-service teachers (PSTs) encounter during their preparation programs impact their ability to do so. Content courses are crucial components of the mathematical education of elementary teachers and can be sites for the early development of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008). These courses, often taken early in their preparation programs, can provide PSTs opportunities to create a new vision of mathematics, build new knowledge for action, engage in the complexity of instruction, and prepare to learn in and from their own practice. In this study, PSTs participated in a modified form of lesson study in a mathematics content course. Lesson study has become an important lever for improving teaching and learning. More common in inservice contexts, teacher educators have begun to use lesson study in pre-service preparation programs—typically in methods courses. This study sought to add to the knowledge base by examining the learning afforded and occluded by a modified lesson study activity at an early stage of a university preparation program. This mixed-methods interpretive case study (n=11) analyzed the learning that occurred within the modified lesson study activity. While PSTs’ scores on the Learning Mathematics for Teaching—Teacher Knowledge Assessment System (Hill, Sleep, Lewis, & Ball, 2007) showed little gain, significant changes in PSTs’ beliefs regarding teaching efficacy were observed on the Mathematics Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (Enochs, Smith, & Huinker, 2000). Additionally, discussion transcripts and written reflections of PSTs indicated that the lesson study cycle acted as a powerful focusing lens that allowed PSTs to see their previous and current experiences with mathematics instruction juxtaposed with that of elementary students during the research lesson. This lens also allowed them to focus and activate their new MKT (Ball et al., 2008) as they prepared for and observed student thinking made visible through the more equitable and validating instruction that they designed in collaboration with an established lesson study teacher team.