About the Conference

From December 2-4, 2020, the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference was to take place at San Francisco State University, California, USA. The Lesson Study Group at Mills College alongside San Francisco Unified School District were hosting this event. As a result of the pandemic, it has been decided to run a conference online on the same dates 2nd, 3rd and 4th December 2020. The new event is WALS2020 Online

We invite teachers, administrators, researchers and community leaders from all around the world to take part in this conference. Together, we will deepen our understanding and implementation of Lesson and Learning Studies.

Theme 1: Elevating Student Equity through Effective Research-based Lesson and Learning Study

Around the world, educators aspire to nurture the learning of all students–including students from cultural, language, and economic groups underserved by educational institutions in the past.  This work has been given renewed impetus when the death of George Floyd in May shocked the world. Many educators are using lesson study to investigate and build equity. WALS 2020 will provide an arena for educators from around the world to share their thinking and work around the following questions:

Issues of equity

  • What is equity?  How do different definitions illuminate different issues?  How can we measure equity and gauge our progress toward achieving it?
  • How can we use lesson study to build equity? How can lesson study in non-traditional educational settings, such as out-of-school settings, build equity of learner outcomes?
  • What strategies and tools are particularly useful for building equity through lesson study?

Theme 2: In the pandemic ‘new normal’ how can we conduct effective lesson studies online and how can we use the tools of lesson and learning study to improve online teaching and learning?

  • Closure and part closure of schools now poses enormous threats to educational equity as learning and teaching move partly or wholly online. This second theme offers all of those around the world who are working to improve student learning through online collaborative lesson research to share the approaches they are taking to improve student learning and how online lesson and learning studies are conducted across schools to broaden student access, develop and mobilise online pedagogical expertise, and to mobilise all this new knowledge widely.

The role of research is constantly present alongside the practice and development of lesson and learning studies. WALS2020, in addressing these two themes will also address questions such as:

  • How does research enrich lesson study and how does lesson study enrich research?  For example, how do teams use research on student thinking, instructional routines, content, equity or other topics, to enrich their work? How can a lesson study team’s findings or methods shape research knowledge?
  • What does research tell us about key issues in lesson study–for example, how to sustain and spread lesson study, and how to improve it over time? How do we know if an adaptation to lesson study practice, such as technology use, is effective and equitable? 
  • What theories are useful in examining lesson study–for example, variation theory, community of practice, activity theory, dialogic learning and others.  What research traditions outside lesson study, such as improvement science, formative research, teacher inquiry, and action research can make valuable contributions to lesson study?

The conference will include a variety of session types designed to support contribution and learning by educators and researchers across the pre-kindergarten through post-secondary spectrum. Sessions will include:

Keynote and featured sessions

  • Workshops reporting local and international lesson and learning studies
  • Keynote and invited plenaries
  • Research Symposia
  • Roundtable Sessions
  • Lesson Study Sharecase
  • Poster Sessions


2nd to 4th December 2020 WALS2020 online conference

5th December PhD and Early Career researchers online conference