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BNU Holds WALS 2018 with the Theme Lesson Study and Teacher Education: International Dialogue Published:2018-12-12 17:25:06  Views:10

On Nov 23rd, the 12th Annual International Conference of the World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS 2018) formally commenced at Beijing Normal University (BNU). The Conference was hosted by BNU and WALS, organized by BNU’s Faculty of Education (FOE) and the Center for Teacher Education Research at BNU (one of the key research bases in the humanities and social sciences designated by the Ministry of Education), and co-organized by Institute of Research in China’s Education and Social Development and the International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education.


The theme of this year’s conference was Lesson Study and Teacher Education: International Dialogue. The conference attracted about 1000 attendees with diverse educational and research backgrounds from 36 countries who carried out intercultural and in-depth exchanges over research in lesson study from Nov 23rd to 26th.


Dr. Yu Xingguo, Deputy Director of the Department of Teacher Education, Ministry of Education, Dr. Peter Dudley, President of WALS, and Professor Zhu Xudong, Dean of FOE, Director of the Center for Teacher Education Research, and the Chairman of the WALS 2018 Preparatory Committee attended the opening ceremony and delivered their addresses. Professor Song Huan of the Center for Teacher Education Research hosted the ceremony.


Dr. Yu Xingguo noted that in the context of the advancing Third Industrial Revolution which centers around breakthroughs in computer and information technologies, and the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution represented by AI, VR, and Clean Energy, a common concern shared by many governments is how to cultivate talents for the nation for a new era, especially how to train high-quality, professional and innovative teachers. China has provided sufficient financial support and created diversified opportunities for continuous learning and professional development of teachers. And lesson study, as such, is one of the effective measures for their professional development. Dr. Yu believed the Conference would yield fruitful results.


Dr. Peter Dudley noted that China has a strong tradition in lesson study. This year’s Conference especially focuses on lesson study and teacher education, an issue which increasingly attracts world attention. He extended his sincere thanks to BNU for hosting a conference of such high caliber, and for providing local lesson study cases of such high quality. He believed WALS 2018 would be a milestone in the history of WALS.


Professor Zhu Xudong noted that China has the world’s richest teaching resources. The tradition of lesson study is integrated into their careers. He also informed the audience that in the following days there would be diverse activities prepared for the attendees including keynote speeches, topical symposia, workshops, paper, poster and case presentations, and school visits. Professor Zhu hoped the participants who came from different social backgrounds all over the world could share their knowledge and conduct an international dialogue with Chinese scholars, in order to achieve a multicultural understanding of lesson study.


In the opening ceremony, the International Center for Lesson Study of FOE was officially launched, with Professor Li Qiong as its chair. Professor Li noted that lesson study is a crucial means by which Chinese teachers conduct professional advancement. Lesson study has important significance for both the training of teachers, and the improvement of teaching and learning qualities, and it has achieved a remarkable development in diverse cultural backgrounds. Professor Li pledged that the International Center for Lesson Study will offer a comprehensive platform of communication for both researchers and practitioners of education. It will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience via international cooperation, and endeavor to deepen the practice of lesson studies.


The keynote speakers of the Conference were Prof. Elaine Munthe from the University of Stavanger of Norway, Prof. Zhu Xudong, Dean of FOE, and Prof. Jan Vermunt from the University of Cambridge. The themes of the three speeches were “Preparing Teachers for Professional Uncertainty”, “The Cultural Foundation of Lesson Study: A Comparative Perspective”, and “How and Why Does Lesson Study Influence Teachers’ Learning”. The three professors engaged in an inspiring discussion with each other and carried out exchanges with members from the audience. The host of the keynote session was Prof. Li Mang, Vice Dean of FOE. 

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