1st Edition

Planning and Analyzing Teaching Using the Variation Theory of Learning

    122 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    122 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Using illustrative teaching case studies, this book demonstrates how teaching informed by a learning theory, specifically Variation theory, can equip teachers to facilitate possibilities for students’ learning in effective and powerful ways.

    For a long period of time teaching has been “black-boxed”, in favour of other explanations of why students learn or not, such as motivation and social interaction. A large amount of research on teaching and learning, not the least made using Variation theory, has shown that students often need to experience the same aspects of the focused content or capability in order to learn, indicating that relationships between teaching and learning are not unique or even qualitatively different for every individual and every situation. This perspective on the relationship between teaching and learning emphasizes content-specific aspects and in that sense structural components of teaching, while other aspects of schooling such as social interaction and general well-being recede into the background. The authors argue for the importance of this in the direct development of teachers' independent collective professional knowledge about teaching, and the leverage this gives for developing student learning. They introduce theoretical tools to help teachers to increase the probability that teaching focusing a specific content or capability is predictive of students learning of that specific content or capability, while decreasing contextual dependency without assuming that teaching and learning have a one-to-one relationship.

    Intended for teachers, graduate students in education, teacher educators, student teachers, and researchers, this book shows that while there is no simple equation between teaching and learning, there are general, though content specific, aspects of teaching that can be systematically planned and analyzed and used to improve the quality of student learning.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

    1. Towards Powerful Learning Opportunities  2. The Object of Learning  3. The Variation Theory of Learning  4. Learning study: Improving teaching for learning  5. Planning Teaching  6. Analyzing Teaching  7. Ways Forward


    Angelika Kullberg is a Professor in mathematics education at University of Gothenburg. She has 20 years of experience of using the Variation theory of learning and of conducting collaborative research together with teachers. She has been a council member of the World Association of Lesson Studies for many years and is since 2022 vice president.

    Åke Ingerman is a Professor in science and technology education at the University of Gothenburg. He is committed to research on the relationships between teaching and learning in classrooms, and has employed variation theory and phenomenography in such studies for more than two decades.

    Ference Marton is a Professor Emeritus at University of Gothenburg and a founding member of the World Association of Lesson Studies. He is an honorary doctor at the University of Edinburgh, University of Helsinki, and The Hong Kong Institute of Education. He is the author of the book Necessary Conditions of Learning published in 2015.

    In this reader-friendly book, the authors show how research can be applied to solve teachers’ most enduring challenge—creating richer learning opportunities for students. By presenting and interpreting a powerful theory of teaching and learning, along with examples from different school subjects, the authors lay out a coherent and compelling set of principles for planning, implementing, and improving instruction. This is a must read for teachers (and researchers) who want thoughtful, research-grounded, useable suggestions for improving their craft.

    James Hiebert, Robert J. Barkley Professor Emeritus, University of Delaware, Newark DE, USA.

    Many competent and dedicated teachers have likely pondered why some students fail to learn despite their meticulous planning and conscientious teaching. This book aims to shed light on this issue and propose ways to move forward. It explains Variation Theory in accessible language and provides numerous practical examples from classroom research across various subject areas. The book serves as a bridge between Variation Theory, Learning Study, and classroom practice.

    Lo Mun Ling, retired professor from Hong Kong University of Education and the founding president of WALS