A Word to Members
Welcome to our first issue of a regular newsletter that will keep you updated and connected as members of our community.
We start off with an interview with Prof Manabu Sato, a heads-up on an exciting new development: online webinars conducted by leading experts (Profs Catherine Lewis and Akihiko Takahasi will present in January), and introduce you to the various organisational portfolios available for your participation.
As the end of the year approaches, may I remind you to renew your membership if your subscription is expiring at the end of December. If your 2017 fee was paid at the WALS 2016 conference then be assured that your membership will be automatically renewed for you. Otherwise, please renew so as not to miss out on the new services coming your way!
You are at the heart of WALS, so if you have any news of activities or events taking placing in your part of the world, please post at http://www.walsnet.org/winr-u-html. You will need to let the Administrator, Pauline Goh, know you’ve done since some vetting will be needed so drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org after you’ve made your entry.
Finally, a word about feedback. We will be sending out an email soon to ask what you, as a member, might welcome from WALS. If there is a desire for institutional membership, for instance, please let us know. We would like to more responsive to needs out there where you are, so do look out for the survey email and make your response.
All the best for a good end to 2016.
WALSNews interviews WALS Executive Committee member, Professor Manabu Sato: founder of the School as Learning Community (SLC) movement.
WALSNews – Professor Sato, you have recently played a major role with keynotes at WALS in Exeter UK in September, Bangkok, in October and Beijing in November. All were on the theme of Lesson Study for “School as Learning Community’ – a dominant theme in your work over the years as we know. What was EDUCA2016 in Thailand and how significant is it?
EDUCA2016, which is the largest annual event for educational policies in Thailand, was held from October 12 to 14 in Bangkok. The main theme was “School as Learning Community”. As you know, that is the most powerful school reform currently in Asian countries, which I have both initiated and promoted. First of all I would like to express my thanks to WALS President Pete for joining this event as a keynote speaker. The EDUCA2016 was a huge event in which five thousand teachers participated, and it was truly a significant opportunity for Thailand to accelerate the Lesson Study for SLC approach nationwide through international exchange, interaction and discussion of lesson studies with speakers from Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, UK and Japan. Thailand is the latest country where lesson study of SLC has been introduced. It was three years ago when a TV documentary program in Thailand covered SLC in Indonesia. The TV program inspired professors of Chulalongkorn University to start wiring networks for school reform of SLC. Then I was invited to Chulalongkorn University just after WALS2015 at Khon Kaen. Therefore, EDUCA2016 is a starting point of SLC as a national policy in Thailand.
WALSNews – Why is there such international interest in Lesson Study for Learning Community?
I suppose the interest in lesson study for School as Learning Community is common in Asian countries, not only in Thailand but in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong and so on. SLC is an integrated vision based on three philosophies of publicness, democracy and excellence and harnessing activity systems of collaborative learning by students, professional collegiality by teachers and learning participation by parents. It is deeply rooted in social democracy relying on a “listening pedagogy” in defence of public education struggling against neo-liberal ideology and policies.
WALSNews – And what is the response from different countries to this approach?
Fortunately, the SLC approach in these countries has been admired by teachers and local educational administrators for its miraculous success in helping to realise human rights and quality of learning for all children and in addition for establishing professional autonomy and collegiality of teachers. These are the reasons why so many teachers in the Asian region are enthusiastically involved in the lesson study of SLC.
WALSNews – Tell us about the conference in Beijing in November.
We had the fourth International conference of SLC at Beijing Normal University from November 28 to 29. It was actually a very exciting conference. The leading professors of lesson studies including WALS Immediate Past President Christine Lee, Vice President Kiyomi Akita, and Councillors Chen Xiaoming, Chen Li-hua, Sumar Hendayana and Son Woojung were the keynote speakers along with a new WALS Council member, Zhu Xuodung. who was the chairperson of the organizing committee. 600 participants joined the conference and shared provocative ideas and experiences.
WALSNews – What do you hope has come from the conferences in Thailand and Beijing for SLC?
As a result of the conferences in Thailand and Beijing, I am now figuring out the next stage for SLC. We have accumulated ample practical cases of SLC in different social and cultural contexts in the last 10 years. Through strong international networks (such as WALS), we can promote more sophisticated theoretical arguments and well elaborated and practical explorations for SLC in each country. Through this we can further empower professional learning of both teachers and educational researchers. The next international conference of SLC in October 19-21, 2017 in Korea, will open an avenue for transition to the next stage.
WALSNews – What can WALS learn from the EDUCA and Beijing conferences?
Prof SatoThis question makes me realise my obligation, which is that I must connect the many distinguished teachers, principals and university professors who participated in the EDUCA and Beijing conferences with WALS. I will suggest to them that they join the next WALS Conference in Nagoya, Japan in November 2017. (Details of this conference are available at http://www.wals2017.com/)
WALSNEWS – Thank you, Professor Sato.
WALS Expert Seminars Online
In mid-January 2017 Professors Catherine Lewis and Akihiko Takashi will present the first one live on the web and available to WALS members. They will pick up on some of the themes that were discussed at the conference in Exeter and will offer expert advice and guidance to online participants. For anyone who is unable to make it, the Webinar will be available to view online for several days after the live webcast and a live discussion forum will run for the same period of time to allow people to ask questions and explore ideas with Catherine and Akihiko.
We will contact WALS members with further details about the webinar later this month and we will also post details of times and how to attend on the WALS website.
Further webinars will follow in the spring and summer of 2017, with Professor Kiyomi Akita, Asst. Professor Hiroyuki Kuno and more already booked.
London Mathematics Lesson Study Hubs get going.
See details at http://www.walsnet.org/ls-events.html
WALS Portfolios – an opportunity to serve
In a new way of working, we are inviting members to participate in the various portfolios that are currently headed by WALS Council Members. These are essential to the vitality and growth of our association and your involvement will be a meaningful contribution to our community. So if you are (i) interested (ii) feel you have something to offer in the specific field and (iii) are prepared to devote time between now and November 2017 then please read the Portfolios and let email@example.com know by sending an expression of interest in ONE portfolio along with a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and your contact details.
1. The International Journal of Learning and Lesson Studies (IJLLS)
You will assist Prof Keith Wood and his editorial team in their work for the journal, and other publications that may be undertaken by WALS.
2. WALS Conferences and International Partnerships
This portfolio oversees the organization of the WALS annual conference and seeks to develop ties with international institutions for the benefit of WALS members. It is led by Prof Hiroyuki Kuno.
3. Communications and Resources
Under this portfolio, activities and resources such as the Expert Seminar Online, a Members Open Forum, a catalogue of useful resources and networks for teachers and media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will be organized and maintained. It is led by Hon Gen Secretary, Jean Lang and Council Member, Edmund Lim.
4. Early Career Lesson Study Developers and Researchers.
WALS Vice President Prof Catherine Lewis will help to coordinate activity for this group of professionals engaging in Lesson and Learning Studies through development and research activities with schools.
5. Marketing and Finance
Treasurer Dr Christina Ratnam leads this portfolio which will look to strengthening WALS membership and increasing income so as to ensure the sustainability of our organization.