Aki Murata

Aki Murata is the Research Director of the 21CSLA State Center, housed in Berkeley School of Education, directing the project-wide research program on school leadership development for equity. Previously, she held positions of assistant professors of elementary mathematics education at Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

Aki is globally known as a lesson study and elementary mathematics education expert and has engaged in numerous research projects since 2001, examining how educators and students learn in schools. She uses collaborative professional learning contexts (e.g. Lesson Study, Community of Practice) as research settings, examines how educators and students learn, and synergistically informs her practitioner practices with the research findings. Educational equity is always central to the work, informing educators how instruction can take advantage of student diversity to create rigorous academic experiences. Her work has been published in numerous journals and books, widely referenced by other researchers, and considered as seminal pieces in the lesson study research field. Aki’s work in mathematics education uniquely illustrates the interactions between teacher learning and student learning (how teachers improve when they know more about how students learn). Her research also articulates the relationships between individual and group learning in classrooms, as model studies making it visible individual student learning trajectories in connections to their learning experiences.

Aki has led multiple cross-cultural research projects so far, facilitating communications among educators from different countries. She has worked with lesson study research project groups and teacher groups globally, provided guidance for their work, and helping them find their own cultural values and significances while implementing the innovation (lesson study) from another culture. Originally from Japan, Aki brings a cultural lens to analyses of learning that critically informs what is invisible with a mono-cultural view.

Selected Publications

  • Murata, A. & Lee, C. (Eds.). (2020). Stepping Up Lesson Study: Educators’ Guide to Deeper Learning.  NY: Routledge.
  • Murata, A., Siker, J., Kang, B., Kim, H-J., Baldinger, E. M., Scott, M., & Lanouette, K. (2017). Math talk and student strategy trajectories: The case of two first grade classrooms. Cognition and Instruction. 35(4). 336-362.DOI:10.1080/07370008.2017.1362408.
  • Murata, A. and Fuson, K. C. (2016). Class learning zone and class learning paths: Responsive teaching in first-grade mathematics. In E. Silver & P. A. Kenney (Eds.). Lessons learned from research. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. pp. 79-92.
  • Murata, A. (2013). Diversity and high academic expectations without tracking: Inclusively responsive instruction. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 21(2). 312-335. doi:10.1080/10508406.2012.682188
  • Murata, A., Bofferding, L., Pothen, B., Taylor, M., & Wischnia, S. (2012). Making connections among student learning, content, and teaching: Teacher talk paths in elementary mathematics lesson study. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 43(5). 616-650.
  • Murata, A. (2011). Conceptual overview of lesson study: Introduction. In L. Hart, A. Alston, & A. Murata (Eds.). Lesson study research and practice in mathematics education: Learning together. NY: Springer. pp. 1-12.
  • Murata, A. (2010). Teacher learning with lesson study. In P. Peterson, E. Baker, & B. McGaw. (Eds.). International Encyclopedia of Education, v7. pp. 575-581. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Murata, A. (2008). Mathematics teaching and learning as a mediating process: The case of tape diagrams. Mathematical Thinking and Learning. 10(4). 374–406.
  • Murata, A. & Fuson, K. C. (2006). Teaching as assisting individual constructive paths within an interdependent class learning zone: Japanese first graders learning to add using ten. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. 37(5).421-456.
  • Lewis, C., Perry, R., & Murata, A. (2006). What is the role of the research in an emerging innovation?: The case of lesson study. Educational Researcher, 35(3). 3–14.
  • Murata, A. (2004). Paths to learning ten-structured understanding of teen sums: Addition solution methods of Japanese Grade 1 students. Cognition and Instruction, 22(2). 185–218.

Selected Invited and Plenary Presentations

  • Murata, A. (2018). Lesson study implementations at district, school, and classroom levels: Data from Florida, USAKeynote Presentation. LessonStudyNL. Utrecht, the Netherlands.
  • Murata, A. (2017). Deepening teacher learning through lesson study: Intersection of local and broader educational needsExpert Panel Discussion. World Association of Lesson Study Annual Meeting. University of Nagoya, Nagoya, Japan.
  • Murata, A. (2016). Successes and challenges in U.S. teacher education: Lesson Study. Finland-U.S. mathematics teacher education meetings. University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
  • Murata, A. (2014). Preservice elementary teachers’ conception of teaching: How does it change through lesson study? Research Conference at University of Stavanger, Stavanger Norway.
  • (In Japanese). Murata, A. (2011). アメリカの算数教育における教科教育学(Curriculum studies in mathematics education in the United States). Hiroshima University. Hiroshima, Japan.

Selected Workshops and Inservice Programs

  • Community of Practice for Educational Leaders, 21CSLA, 2020–present.

  • Lesson Study Collaboration, Volusia County School District, FL. 2015–2019.

  • Lesson Study Collaboration, Institute of Child Study, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 2005–2010.

  • East Palo Alto Academy Elementary School Development and Inservice. East Palo Alto, CA. 2005–2010

  • US-Japan Elementary Mathematics Workshop, San Mateo, CA. 2007 and 2008.


Ph.D. in Learning Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. 2002

BA in Elementary Education (with minor in Sociology), Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. 1997. (Magna cum laude with distinction)