Learning-centered lesson design and learning about teaching in a pre-service teacher education course

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Designing lessons is a prominent means in pre-service teacher education for developing student teachers’ understanding of what good teaching involves and how to plan for such teaching. A new approach to teaching lesson design in a pre-service teacher education program has prompted research on what and how student teachers learn from this new approach to prepare them for teaching. This article reports on practitioner research that draws on principles derived from the body of scholarship dubbed the “science of learning”. An interpretive research approach was followed, and data was collected via semi-structured interviews that were juxtaposed with lessons that student teachers designed. The pattern that emerged from the analyzed data was that this new lesson design approach helped student teachers to develop a good understanding of the nature of learning; and that such understanding is important because teaching is ultimately about helping learners to learn. In addition, participants articulated that invoking the principles used forced them to be more metacognitive and intentional in designing the lessons. Thus, moving beyond teaching methods and classroom discipline to a focus on how to best guide and support the intended learning of specific learners. Participants were also of the view that the approach is suitable to use in varying contexts because it is not dependent on the availability of resources. The authors conclude that a lesson design approach that draws on the science of learning has much to offer student teachers towards becoming adaptive experts who are able to create significant learning experiences for learners. Additionally, pre-service teachers will benefit from an approach that is modelled by teacher educators, and which employs an iterative process that uses deliberate practice to work towards adaptive expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2202123
JournalCogent Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • adaptive expertise
  • lesson design
  • pre-service teacher education
  • the science of learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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