UP academic appointed Council Member of the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS)

Posted on February 19, 2021

‘My first exposure to the Lesson Study model for professional teacher development happened more that a decade ago through my training at the Miyagi University of Education (MUE) and the Naruto University of Education (NUE) in Japan’, says Dr Sekao.

Dr David Sekao, Lesson Study Coordinator (LSC) in the Faculty of Education, was elected to serve as a council member of the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS), whose main objective is to promote and advance research and practices focused on lesson studies in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Lesson Study (Jugyou kenkyu 授業研究 in Japanese) is a professional teacher- development model that originated in Japan more than a century ago and is currently practised in many countries. The emphasis is on addressing problematic concepts that involve teacher-led research in which a group of teachers work together to identify an area for development in student learning, such as planning to teach mathematics and reflect on practice. Although Lesson Study was originally used for continuous teacher development, it has in recent years gained prominence in the initial teacher education environment globally, and also in UP’s Faculty of Education (www.up.ac.za/lesson-study). A Lesson Study Unit was established at UP in collaboration with the national Department of Basic Education and 10 schools were identified for participation in the Lesson Study Project. 

During Dr Sekao’s 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 the Eastern Cape) in South Africa to support primary school mathematics teachers with content knowledge and pedagogical skills.

The aim with involving schools in the Lesson Study Project is to support primary school mathematics and natural sciences teachers with the requisite skills for the 21st century as part of the University’s social responsibility endeavour. The skills include critical thinking, collaborative skills, communication, reflective practice and the metacognitive skill of self-regulation.

‘My appointment to serve on the WALS International Council is an important milestone for UP and the African continent as it is the first time in the existence of WALS that our continent is represented on its council,’ said Dr Sekao. Lesson Study as introduced in Japan, but not previously applied in South Africa, has shown success in bridging the gap between policy at the national level and teaching at the classroom level. This is an additional responsibility to ensure increased collaboration with universities locally and on the African continent to expand the implementation of Lesson Study.

The benefits of WALS membership include:

  • Support through community networking and collaboration
  • Signposting to valuable resources
  • Access to a growing library of articles of the International Journal of Lesson and Learning Studies
  • Participation in regular webinars led by world leaders in the field of lesson and learning studies.


- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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