About the Conference

From December 2-4, 2020 the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference will take place at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA.  The Lesson Study Group at Mills College alongside San Francisco Unified School District will host this event. We invite teachers, administrators, researchers and community leaders from all around the world to take part in the conference.  Together, we will deepen our understanding and implementation of Lesson Study and Lesson Studies, finding plenty of time to connect and network with each other.

Theme: Elevating Student Equity through Effective Research-based Lesson 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.  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 strands:

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?

Effective lesson study practice

  • What makes lesson study effective? For example, what attitudes, practices, or tools support effective content study, planning, observation, and reflection? 
  • How can lesson study contribute to valued outcomes for students and teachers–outcomes such as learning, agency and leadership?  
  • What learning outcomes (students, teachers, facilitators) are important to measure?  How do we gauge effectiveness of lesson study in different school and out-of-school-time settings?
  • How can administrators know whether lesson study is effective and builds equitable outcomes?  What can they do to nurture and support effective lesson study?

The role of research

  • 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 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:

  • Research lesson including pre/post-lesson discussions and final commentary
  • Keynote and featured sessions
  • Workshops
  • Research Symposiums
  • Roundtable Sessions
  • IGNITE Sessions
  • WALS Talks
  • Lesson Study Sharecase
  • Lesson Plan Review
  • Poster Sessions
  • Meet-up Groups

Pre-conference School Visits:

On Tuesday December 1st, San Francisco Unified School District will open up selected schools to offer public research lessons and content focused educational tours.  Options available include Mathematics Research Lessons, Project-Based Learning Research Lessons, Personalized Learning Talk/Tour and Design Thinking/iLab Talk/Tour.

Space is limited and prior registration is required.  For more information about each type of school visit and cost, click here.


Proposal submission closes
March 30, 2020
Notification of acceptance
May 1, 2020
Early bird registration ends
May 15, 2020
Presenter registration deadline
June 15, 2020
WALS School Visits
December 1, 2020
WALS International ConferenceDecember 2 -4, 2020
WALS Dinner ReceptionDecember 3, 2020
Ph. D. Early Career ConferenceDecember 5, 2020