Lesson study is a specific activity system of inquiring teaching and learning conducted collaboratively and continuously by teachers along with other educators and school leaders. The primary aim of Lesson Study is to improve the quality of lesson within the realm of upbringing children in educational settings.
The term ‘Lesson Study' comes from Japanese, "Jugyo Kenkyu", from which its development in Indonesia was introduced by Japanese experts through technical cooperation programs between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and three leading teacher education institutions (TEIs): Indonesia University of Education (UPI), State University of Yogyakarta (UNY) dan State University of Malang (UM).
First, the Indonesian Mathematics and Science Teacher Education Project (IMSTEP) (1998-2003) focused on institutional capacity building by developing and reinforcing the pre-service and in-service curriculum and program. It aimed at establishing valuable partnership and collaboration between faculty and schools "Through Piloting Activity" , the faculty members worked with practicing teachers by means of inquiring teaching and learning systematically. The phases of Piloting Activity then become the origin of the cycle of Lesson Study.
Second, the Follow Up of IMSTEP (2003-2005) intended to develop an integrated model for pre-service, in-service, and on-service teacher education and development by means of introducing the underlying principles of Lesson Study: reflective practice; problem-based and experience-sharing approaches; and collegiality and collaborative works intended to grasp the nature of learning.
Third, the Strengthening of In-Service Teacher Training of Mathematics and Science Education Project (SISTTEMS) (2006-2008) aimed to promote school as a learning community and empower the networks of educators. In this period, each teacher education institution worked closely with its partnering district, schools and group of teachers, particularly through subject teacher groups, known as Musyawarah Guru Mata Pelajaran (MGMP). This phase marked an attempt of educational reform at district scale by means of implementing Lesson Study.
Fourth, Program for Enhancing Quality of Junior Secondary Education (PELITA) (2008-2013) that introduced informal network of educators through Lesson Study Club (LSC) and emphasized the strategy of sustainability played strategically by educational leaders. This phase underlined the importance of the strategic partnership as to build professional learning community.
The development of Lesson Study in Indonesia has capitalized the notion of learning community: it serves not only as an approach to professional development, but also as an approach to the establishment of networked-learning in the education sector. It has also shown the importance of inter-stakeholders’ collaboration for strategic partnership to improve teaching and learning. Therefore, the subsequent national projects have infused Lesson Study into their program such as BERMUTU (Better Education Through Reformed Management and Universal Teacher Upgrading); PIGP (Induction Program for Novice Teacher or Program Induksi Guru Pemula); and LEDIPSTI (Lesson Study Dissemination Program for Strengthening Teacher Education in Indonesia).
Although Lesson Study is now wide-spreading, there are possible deviating practices from its underlying principles. Having observed various trainings, seminars, or workshops claiming of ‘practicing’ Lesson Study, it is likely that current discourse on such practices touches Lesson Study only in the surface. Indeed, it is possible to contextualize Lesson Study into various settings. However, many Lesson Study activists began to realize how to anticipate the diversity of Lesson Study practices. They urged to establish a network that can be a medium for exchanging and sharing experience, and to guide the dissemination of Lesson Study in Indonesia.
Eventually, an idea to establish such a network was presented in a meeting attended by 30 representatives from teacher education institutions that received Lesson Study block-grant. The meeting was held amid the 4th National Seminar on Lesson Study Seminar at FMIPA of Universitas Negeri Malang, on November 12, 2012. At that time, the delegates agreed to establish Indonesian Association of Lesson Study (IALS) intended as medium for educational practitioners in Indonesia -from teachers, lecturers, principals, supervisors, trainers to leaders of education offices- to exchange information, experience, and best practices of Lesson Study in order to improve the quality of education in Indonesia. Therefore, anyone, both members and non-members of IALS, can utilize IALS to consult and to ask for advices about how to develop Lesson Study practice, so that the activity can run fruitfully, effectively and sustainably.
The establishment of IALS was started by setting a formatting team, consisted of 7 representatives from teacher education institutions, especially the ones located in Java Island. It was done so that the formatting team could immediately hold a meeting to establish and to prepare the organizational apparatus and to plan a meeting to establish the organizing members. Unanimously, the meeting decided to appoint Dr. Istamar Syamsuri, M.Pd and Dr. Ibrohim, M.Si (FMIPA of UM) to be the Head and General Secretary of IALS for 2012–2013 periods, and set FMIPA of UM as the joint secretariat of IALS.