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Teaching Better

Igniting and Sustaining Instructional Improvement
By: Bradley A. Ermeling, Genevieve Graff-Ermeling

A Joint Publication With Learning Forward

This visually stunning resource is packed with details to ignite and sustain collaborative inquiry and lesson study. Includes case studies, metaphors, digital templates, and more.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781506333465
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2016
  • Page Count: 200
  • Publication date: March 30, 2016

Price: $39.95



Discover the power of collaborative inquiry!

This unique, visually stunning resource is packed with details to ignite and sustain the collaborative improvement of teaching and learning. Includes U.S. and international case studies, powerful metaphors, application exercises, a Leader’s Guide, a companion website, digital templates, and more. Learn what lesson study and collaborative inquiry can and should look like. Find the guidance you need to lead and support school-wide, inquiry-based improvement!

“If you think improving teaching is hard, hard work, this book will confirm that belief. But it also shows, through careful observation and research, how much can be achieved when the work of getting better is done right. A true inspiration for educators who want to improve both their own craft and the methods of the profession.”
Jim Stigler & James Hiebert
Authors of The Teaching Gap

“Teaching Better is a rich, knowledgeable, authoritative tour de force. It combines beautifully selected imagery, solidly crafted guiding principles with compelling evidence and personal accounts of practice. But while imagining and thinking big, the book attends to the detail, offering school and system leaders many practical strategies for steering enquiry, quality, and cultural change in schools. This book should ignite the imaginations of policy makers, professionals and leaders worldwide.”
Peter Dudley
Visiting Professor of Education at Leicester University, Secretary of the World Association of Lesson Studies, Education Adviser under three prime ministers, & Founder of Lesson Study UK

Key features

  • Captures a powerful vision of collaborative professional learning that promotes continuous improvement of professional practice and student achievement.
  • Includes richly-detailed case studies of collaborative inquiry in action drawn from the authors' original research and practice in the U.S. and Japan.
  • Organized around seven original metaphors illustrated through original (student-created) artwork and beautifully-crafted descriptions that serve to reframe the meaning and purpose of collaborative inquiry and instructional improvement
  • Robust web site includes tools, templates, and resources to help actualize the vision.


Bradley A. Ermeling photo

Bradley A. Ermeling

Bradley A. Ermeling is an educational consultant and a member of a research team from UCLA and Stanford. He spent seven years working as an educator in Japan, developing firsthand knowledge and expertise with Japanese lesson study, and has published numerous articles on developing and supporting systems for collaborative inquiry and continuous learning. In the United States, he taught high school English, special education, and directed professional learning programs, before shifting his attention to educational research. He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Best Research Award from Learning Forward for his contributions to research on instructional improvement through inquiry teams. He was also coauthor for the article titled “Learning to Learn from Teaching: A Firsthand Account of Lesson Study in Japan” which was named 2015 Outstanding Paper of the Year by Emerald Publishing and the World Association of Lesson Studies. Dr. Brad Ermeling’s current research interests include lesson study and collaborative inquiry, facilitation practices that promote productive struggle, and digital resources that support the study of teaching and learning.

Genevieve Graff-Ermeling photo

Genevieve Graff-Ermeling

Genevieve Graff-Ermeling is Assistant Head of School, Teaching & Learning at Concordia International School Shanghai, educational researcher and consultant. She spent seven years working as an educator in Japan, developing curriculum and participating firsthand in Japanese lesson study projects. She also taught and designed curriculum at the high school level in the United States. She has held several positions as an external coach and site-based facilitator of teacher reflection, design of assessments, inquiry-based science teaching, and the use of data to inform teaching in multiple subject areas for both elementary and secondary, public and private schools. She has a degree in behavioral science with an emphasis in anthropology and helped lead a medical outreach team conducting research in Honduras. She was coauthor of the autoethnography titled, “Learning to Learn from Teaching: A Firsthand Account of Lesson Study in Japan” which was named 2015 Outstanding Paper of the Year by Emerald Publishing and the World Association of Lesson Studies. She was also an elite runner, NAIA national champion, and competed in the 5000 meters for the 2004 US Olympic trials. Genevieve Ermeling’s current research interests are practice-based professional learning for high school educators, transformative models of teacher professional growth, and methods for assessing and assisting learning through the zone of proximal development.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Improvement Portraits

List of Companion Website Content

Foreword by Ronald Gallimore


About the Authors

About the Artists


1. One Plank at a Time: The Steady Discipline of Instructional Improvement

2. Learning to Learn From Teaching: A Firsthand Account of Lesson Study in Japan

3. Expanding Horizons: A Case Study of US Teachers Collaborating to Change Practice

4. Deepening Knowledge: Why Expansive Change Is Difficult and What We Might Do About It

5. Matching Vision With Resources: A Reconceived Model for Leadership and Assistance

6. Multiplying Power: How Joint Productive Activity Revived Two Problematic Teams

7. Remaining Stubborn for a Long Time: Six Practitioner Stories of Courage and Persistence

Appendix: Leader’s Guide to Improvement Portraits

Glossary: Japanese Words and Phrases




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