Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 252–266 | Cite as

On the Evolution of a Lesson: Group Preparation for Teaching Contest as Teacher Professional Development Activity for Chinese Elementary Science Teachers

  • Xiaowei TangEmail author
  • Faxian Shao


Group preparation for teaching contest, or lesson polishing, is a teacher professional development activity unique to China. Through participant observation and discourse analysis of a typical case, this study explores how a science lesson evolved through lesson-polishing process and how such process influenced individual learning and the development of local teaching community. Our work illustrates both the values and the issues of lesson polishing as a type of teacher professional development activity. On one hand, combining professional interactions and trial lessons, lesson-polishing activity opens up space for critical yet cooperative professional interactions and tryouts of different designs and teaching strategies, providing opportunities for individual learning and development of practical rationalities within local community. On the other hand, the functions of such activities are greatly limited by the tendency of refining every detail in lesson design, the existence of overriding dispositions and authorities with overriding power, as well as the focus on practical suggestions that can be directly implemented. Suggestions for improvement are made in the final discussion.


Professional development Lesson polishing Practical rationalities 



This work is supported by a grant from the 12th Five-year National Plan on Educational Research (Grant BFA110052, “How sociocultural learning environments influence the effectiveness of classroom scientific inquiry”).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center of Basic Education, College of EducationSouthwest UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Chongqing Educational Science AcademyChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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