“Serving on the WALS council is an important milestone for UP and Africa because it is the first time that the continent has a representative on the council,” says Dr David Sekao.
Dr David Sekao, a Lesson Study coordinator in UP’s Faculty of Education, has been elected to serve as a council member of the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS). The main objective of the association is to promote and advance research and practices focused on Lesson Studies in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
“Serving on the WALS international council is an important milestone for UP and the African continent because it is the first time in the existence of the association that the continent has a representative on its council,” says Dr Sekao.
Lesson Study is a professional teacher development model that originated in Japan. Its emphasis is on addressing problematic concepts, and involves teacher-led research whereby a group of teachers work together to identify an area for development in student learning. “My first exposure to the Lesson Study model for professional teacher development was over a decade ago through training at Miyagi University of Education (MUE) and Naruto University of Education (NUE) in Japan,” says Dr Sekao.
The benefits of WALS membership include support through community networking and collaboration; signposting to valuable resources; access to the International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies; and participation in regular webinars led by world leaders in Lesson and Learning Studies.
“In recent years, Lesson Study has gained prominence in the teacher education environment globally, including UP’s Faculty of Education,” he adds. The Lesson Study Unit was established at UP in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education and identified 10 schools to participate in the Lesson Study Project as part of the University’s social responsibility endeavour.
“During my tenure as a mathematics curriculum specialist in the Department of Basic Education, Lesson Study was introduced in four provinces (North West, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Eastern Cape) to support primary school mathematics and natural sciences teachers with content knowledge and pedagogical skills,” says Dr Sekao. These skills include critical thinking, collaborative skills, communication, reflective practice and the metacognitive skill of self-regulation.
In South Africa, Lesson Study has shown success in bridging the gap between policy at a national level and teaching at the classroom level.