Session 1.6 - Leadership for Learning
1 Review of follow-up activities from last session
If you are running a professional learning programme which follows these sessions in sequence, then you should do the review of follow-up activities relating to the previous session (Effective use of ICT). The 'review of follow-up activities' for that session is available here, and also shown below in the session text. However, if you are following selected sessions in a different order, then you should use the reflection appropriate to the previous session you did.
The review of the follow-up activities for this session (to be done at the start of the next session) is available here.
Please make a note of any challenges that arise! In particular, see what goals participants want to achieve.
Part A Improvement of ICT skills
- Did you search for resources on the internet (including images)? How did that go? Did you find the resources that you wanted?
- Did you practise typing to improve your typing skills. Are you keeping track of your typing speed in your reflective journal? Is your speed improving?
- You were asked to send an email to the oer4schools mailing list. Who did this? What were the challenges?
Part B Classroom based activities. Discuss with other members of the group how you feel these went. Were you able to observe a colleague/be observed? Did anyone manage to take some video? Write the salient points from the discussion in your reflective journals.
“Most significant change”. Last time we talked about the most significant change technique, and looked at identifying stories through "newspaper headlines". Create a "pin board" in the room where you are meeting, and stick up some headlines.
Let’s revisit this so you can set some concrete goals for yourselves. What do you think might be the biggest changes as a consequence of being involved in this programme - for yourselves, for your teaching, for your students, for the school, or in whatever other area?! (If you need to remind yourself of the MSC technique, have a look at the previous unit.)
Do the participants agree on how things might be different as a result of the programme? How will we know when these significant changes have happened? What kinds of evidence do our stories need to refer to? They can also be revised as time goes on.
Record what participants say in a permanent form - in writing or electronically so we can refer to them later on. Make sure it is recorded on video / audio.
2 Leadership for Learning
Leadership for Learning is a way of thinking, doing, communicating, working, and reflecting about educational leadership in schools for the singular purpose of promoting the activity of learning.
In a previous session you identified the leaders and learners in your school and considered your own potential as a leader. We will now examine each of the five LfL principles more closely.
Here are the five principles of Leadership for Learning:
- Focus on learning
- Conditions for learning
- Learning Dialogue
- Shared Leadership
- Shared Accountability
In this session and throughout the programme you will reflect further on the five principles of LfL with a view to contributing your own ideas about Leadership for Learning through interactive learning opportunities.
Leadership for learning is happening all around you
If you know what to look for you will see elements of LfL in classrooms and schools, in your own community, and even in the setting in which you might be working through this unit!
You may be wondering, 'If Leadership for Learning is all around me already, why am I doing this unit?' Well … the short answer is that even though the LfL principles describe common attributes of many classrooms and whole schools, they are not present, coordinated or sustained at levels that support consistently positive learning effects.
3 LfL: Seeing is believing
Let’s start by considering a few ideas about LfL, its 5 principles, and how we might observe and identify these in classrooms and schools.
We like to think about ‘seeing’ the LfL principles by using what we have come to call an ‘LfL Lens’ or set of ‘LfL Lenses’. What do we mean by lens? We use a familiar image of spectacles or glasses to depict or serve as a useful metaphor for clarifying what we mean by an LfL Lens.
THINK: Suggest each person works independently for 1 minute and identifies/thinks of 1 - 3 responses/contributions. Participants make a note of each (mentally, or preferably, written down to support recall and reference).
PAIR: In pairs, participants discuss and compare ideas.
SHARE: The whole group comes together, with each pair contributing one or two ideas from their discussion.
Sample responses: “It helps you see things differently”, “An LfL lens makes you focus on LfL”, “It’s a way of describing how we look at the world differently depending on our attention or interests.”
4 LfL: The five lenses
Let’s take our metaphor of the LfL lens a step further, and suggest that there are 5 different LfL lenses (spectacles) needed in order to ‘see’ all 5 LfL principles:
You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/LfL/5 principles .
Consider the 5 LfL Lenses and their usefulness for focusing on learning practices.
- What are the kinds of things you might see in a classroom if you were looking through the LfL lens ‘Focus on Learning’?
- What are the kinds of things you might see in a classroom if you were looking through the LfL lens ‘Conditions for Learning’?
- What are the kinds of things you might see in a classroom if you were looking through the LfL lens ‘Learning Dialogue’?
- What are the kinds of things you might see in a classroom if you were looking through the LfL lens ‘Shared Leadership'?
- What are the kinds of things you might see in a classroom if you were looking through the LfL lens ‘Shared Accountability’?
Your facilitator will explain to you how to go about this group activity. Before that, you may like to take some time to refer to the background reading to help you understand all the 5 LfL principles.
Pedagogy: Plenary session or Jigsaw
Extending the use of the lens metaphor from the previous think-pair-share exercise, the facilitator can suggest one of the following group activities to help the participants make further use of the LfL lens.
- Ensure that the participants are in five different groups.
- Assign each group to one particular lens to discuss what are the kind of things they may look out for in the classrooms using that one particular lens. This should take at least 10 minutes.
- One member from each group will share with everyone in a plenary format. (ie. each person to take a turn to share what they have discussed in the group)
- The rest of the participants can ask questions for clarification or raise comments on the overlaps and links across the 5 LfL principles. This should take another 15 minutes.
- Remind the participants that this is a purely exploratory exercise, with no incorrect answers.
- Ensure that the participants are in at least two groups of 5 participants each.
- Assign each member in each group to one particular lens to think about what kind of things he/she may look out for in the classroom using that one particular lens. This should take at least 5 minutes.
- The members who are assigned to the same lens from the different groups will meet together as a temporary ‘expert’ group to exchange ideas. This should take another 5 minutes or so.
- The participants return to their original groups and share their findings with the rest of the members. Each person will have about 2 minutes to share their findings.
- Remind the participants that this is a purely exploratory exercise, with no incorrect answers.
Use the following background reading to explain the terms. There is another educator note below this background reading, that gives further details for each point in turn. Make sure that you have spent time reading and thinking about this before the session as the participants may need your prompting to help them ‘see’ through each lens.
This educator note is meant to be read in conjunction with the above background reading. It provides additional prompts for each of the points above.
1. Focus on Learning
- Everyone is a learner. Are students the only learners in our school? How about the teachers? Parents? Headteachers?
- Learning relies on the effective interplay of social, emotional and cognitive processes. Do we think about what learning is about? Is it about memorising and applying certain facts? Managing emotions? Being able to make friends with one another? Making good decisions?
- The efficacy of learning is highly sensitive to context and to the differing ways in which people learn. Are we aware about the differences in ways which people learn and to what extent their background (e.g. family, age, interests) will influence the way they learn?
- The capacity for leadership arises out of powerful learning experiences. Who are some of the most influential teachers in our lives? When did we encounter such teachers and why did they create such powerful learning experiences for ourselves? How can we do the same for others?
- Opportunities for leadership enhance learning. Are we given the opportunities to make decisions on our learning?
2. Conditions for Learning
- Cultures nurture the learning of everyone. What kind of background (e.g. families, age, interests) would be most helpful to support learning?
- Everyone has opportunities to reflect on the nature, skills and processes of learning. Are there opportunities for everyone to reflect on the nature, skills and processes involved in learning? What are they?
- Physical and social spaces stimulate and celebrate learning. Are the physical facilities and other forms of support (e.g. community and family support) able to support learning? What are these facilities and forms of support?
- Safe and secure environments enable everyone to take risks, cope with failure and respond positively to challenges. Are we providing a safe environment for learners to take risks, cope with failure and respond positively to challenges? How are we doing that?
- Tools and strategies are used to enhance thinking about learning and the practice of teaching. Are we updating ourselves and reflecting on the various tools and strategies to enhance the way we teach and learn? How are we doing that?
3. Learning Dialogue
- Practice made explicit, discussable and transferable. Do we have the language to talk about learning so that we can discuss and reflect on it more fruitfully? How do we do that?
- Active, collegial inquiry focussing on the link between learning and leadership. Do we discuss and find out how we can take the lead to decide what learning should be like in our school (and not just be directed by the authority)? How can we go about doing that?
- Coherence through sharing of values, understandings and practices. Do we discuss and share the values and understanding of the ways we learn and teach? What are they?
- Factors that inhibit and promote learning are examined and addressed. Do we examine and address the factors that inhibit and promote learning? What are they?
- Link between leadership and learning is a concern for everyone. Do we prioritise the link between leadership and learning? What kind of concerns about learning do we raise and act upon?
- Different perspectives explored through networking with researchers and practitioners. Do we network with researchers and other practitioners to explore different perspectives of learning and leadership? How do we do that?
4. Shared Leadership
- Structures support participation in developing learning communities. Are there ways we can participate in learning or be involved in starting learning communities within the school?
- Shared leadership symbolised in day-to-day flow of activities. Can we see leadership being shared by various colleagues and students in the day-to-day flow of activities in the school? What is that like?
- Everyone encouraged to take a lead as appropriate to task and context. Do we take the initiative to take a lead in various learning or research projects in accordance with what we are interested in and capable of? What kind of projects or research can we embark on?
- Everyone’s experience and expertise is valued and drawn upon as resources. Do we draw on everyone’s experience and expertise and value all of them as important resources to support learning? How do we do that?
- Collaborative activity across boundaries of subject, role and status are valued and promoted. Do we value and promote collaborative activities across subject, levels and roles within the school?
5. Mutual Accountability
- Systematic approach to self-evaluation embedded at every level. Is there a systematic approach to self-evaluation that is evident in all aspects of our work?
- Focus on evidence and its congruence with core values. Is there a focus on documentation of teaching and learning that would be consistent with our beliefs on the values of education?
- Shared approach to internal accountability is a precondition of external accountability. Do we take the initiative to be accountable to ourselves in ensuring the quality of teaching and learning, rather than be dependent on an external authority?
- National policies recast in accordance with school's core values. Do we critically examine the national policies and how they are relevant with the school’s core values?
- Choosing how to tell own story while taking account of political realities. Do we maintain an individual stance of our own views of teaching and learning, while being very cognisant of the political realities that we are living in?
- Continuing focus on sustainability, succession and leaving a legacy. Do we try to look forward towards the future, on how we can sustain our current efforts and be able to leave a legacy for our future generations?
5 Application of LfL lenses to a classroom situation
Small group activity: (30 min) Use 'table mats' to record observations and reflections on LfL in the classroom. Let’s try putting this idea of looking at classroom teaching and learning through an LfL lens into practice.
We are going to watch a short teaching/classroom video.
Before we do, choose only 1 LfL lens that you will use as your ‘critical lens’ to ‘see’ the practices in this classroom. By choosing your 1 LfL lens, you should only ‘see’ and note down those things that your lens helps you to focus on. Decide as a group, what exactly you want to look out for based on the lens that you have chosen.
For example, if you choose, ‘Conditions for Learning’, then try looking only for those things that you believe contribute to promoting conditions for learning in the video.
It is helpful if different participants choose different lenses so at least two, ideally more, are represented.
Pedagogy: ‘Table mats’ to record observation and reflection
Invite participants to work in pairs or groups of three, and prepare a ‘table mat’ for recording. Each group has a large piece of paper, in the middle of which they draw a quadrant (if pairs) or a triangle (if threes) big enough to record the outcomes of the group discussion. Divide the outside area of the paper into half or third (to match the group size).
Agree which LfL principle each group will adopt as their critical lens for watching the video.
As they watch the video, participants make notes in their outside area of the table mat.
After watching, participants share their observations and reflections, and together agree the salient points of the lesson from the perspective of their chosen LfL principle to record in the central area of the table mat.
Emphasise that there are no wrong answers, and groups should try their best to focus their attention using their chosen LfL lens.
Extension: The table mats could be collected and displayed for the whole group, firstly comparing any that focused on the same LfL principle, then comparing those that used differing lenses. Exploration of the similarities and differences is likely to reinforce the understanding that using a single lens brings specific aspects of a lesson into sharper focus, and that the five principles are interrelated and overlap.
OK, watch the video now, wearing your chosen LfL spectacles!
This video clip shows the highlights of a lesson study (also known as research study) going on in an American primary school classroom. Lesson study is another form of ongoing professional development activity whereby teachers come together to decide on an area of teaching or learning that they would like to understand and improve on, in order to help students learn better. The teachers observe learners in a class being taught by one of their colleagues and collect specific, detailed data for discussion with the lesson study group later. In this video clip, the teachers want to find out whether the students are able to recall and retell the sequence of a story read to them by their teacher.
The facilitator could suggest these following prompts if the participants appear to be uncertain of what to look out for (but do not give them straight away!). Each should address only one lens and set of prompts of course, not all of them.
- Focus on learning - what aspect of teaching and learning did the teacher want to focus on understanding and improving? How did they go about collecting data on it? What did they learn from the data?
- Conditions for learning - did all the teachers have an opportunity to share what they have learnt? Did the teacher who was observed, appear to be nervous? Did all the teachers feel ‘safe’ to share their opinions and to listen to one another? How much time did they have to set aside for meeting together? Would it be easy to set aside time to observe their colleague teaching?
(NB: Please highlight to the participants that the purpose of peer lesson observation is NOT to find faults, judge or criticise the teacher’s teaching. Rather, it is an opportunity to discuss what is the learning that has taken place by observing the students’ responses. Based on the observations and discussions, teachers can suggest what they may like to try out differently or similarly in the next lesson study. It is not unusual to re-teach the same topic in another class, if the teachers feel that will be a helpful follow-up.)
- Learning Dialogue - did all the teachers have the language to discuss the particular aspect of teaching and learning they had chosen to focus on? Were they able to come to any conclusions about what were some of the problems they had identified and how they could be improved on? Was the dialogue between the teachers a helpful one in advancing their professional learning? Why?
- Shared leadership - did it appear that there was one leader who ‘directed’ the teachers on what to do? Did every teacher have a part in contributing to the research lesson? Why do you think the teachers were committed to coming together for this research lesson?
- Shared accountability - did it appear that all the teachers had a stake in trying to find out how they could all learn from this research study? (Or did they leave it to just one teacher to do all the work?) How did they ensure that every teacher could learn by being an active participant in this research study? How did they substantiate their comments by drawing from evidence of their observations?
6 LfL across the OER4schools programme
LfL is not only an effective framework for exploring others’ teaching and learning, it is also very useful for reflecting upon your own learning pathways. Teachers, student teachers and other participants are autonomous thinkers and learners, doing their own learning both individually and collectively. We hope that the new (and familiar) ideas presented in the OER4schools programme and the supporting resources will feed into your understanding of learning, classroom conditions and your leadership role, impact on student learning and what you can do to enrich and enhance learning opportunities.
There are no "right ways" but lots of possibilities to explore; in this sense you always a "leader" – leading learning in your classroom. Hopefully you can also share the responsibility for leading learning within your school or institution. We will explore this in 6.2 and 6.3.
Adapted from "Creating Learning Without Limits", by Maddock, Peacock, Hart & Drummond, p.108-9. OUP, Maidenhead."
Consider what you have learned in the sessions leading up to this point in the programme. Did your workshop facilitator and/or the materials ‘focus on learning’, create the ‘conditions for learning’, promote and enable ‘learning dialogue’, provide opportunities for ‘shared leadership’ and ‘mutual accountability’? Also, using the 5 principles, why not consider evaluating yourself, your own involvement and contribution to increasing the learning capacity in the programme thus far for you and your colleagues? LfL is an effective way of thinking about your learning, the learning around you, and how you can go about improving learning capacity.
Think about these questions and pair up with one other colleague to share your ideas before feeding back any salient points to the rest of the group.
7 ICT practice
ICT practice (20 min): consolidating what you have learnt so far. Review the previous sessions in this unit. You have learnt about netbook use, about slideshows (in a browser and in OpenOffice), as well as about finding images, and GeoGebra. These applications are all open ended, in the sense that there are many more things to explore and do. You should continue to explore these applications.
In this current session, you can use this ICT practice slowly to consolidate your skills learnt so far. Work in pairs, on a topic of your choice. Make sure that you work towards activities that you can try in the classroom.
You will need to judge how many new things you can introduce. If the group you are working with have so far mastered the ICT tasks easily, you could get them to explore additional features of OpenOffice Impress. If they have a lot of experience with OpenOffice already, you could just move on to Geogebra or do some mind mapping. However, if the group you are working with has been struggling, make sure that they understand the basics. You could pair teachers who are more advanced in their ICT use with teachers who are less advanced.
At the end of the ICT practice, spend a few minutes recapping what you have covered in the ICT practice so far: netbook use, slideshows, finding images online.
8 Connecting with overarching goals of the programme
Open space (10 min). It's now time for the "open space", that gives you an opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen, and to relate those to the broader context of the programme. Do not just gloss over this section, but make time to raise issues, and probe the progress that you are making. You could use this space to:
- Remind yourselves of the of the Most Significant Change Technique, and e.g. collect more of your stories.
- Discuss your assessment portfolios: Is there anything that you are unsure about? Is it going well? What could be done better?
- Check on the work with the classroom assistants: Is this going well? Are there any tensions? Any observations or tips you can share?
- Reviewing individual ICT practise (such as typing practise).
- If you are preparing a presentation for other teachers, you could work on the presentation (about what you have been learning, stories emerging from MSC).
- Remind those who are doing audio diaries, to upload them.
- You could discuss any other issues that have arisen.
You will find notes and summaries of various techniques and concepts on our reference page, and you might want to refer to those for clarification during this activity if needed.
9 Follow-up activities
We would like you to practice using the LfL lenses when you are back in your own classroom settings, or even when you are watching others in the act of teaching and learning.
1. Take time to think about the course, your own learning and how you contributed to and were supported in your learning. Use the LfL framework to organize your mental and audio reflections, enabling you to return to our next session ready to discuss your own teaching, teaching you have witnessed, and ideas about learning through the framework of the 5 LfL lenses. This will help us to focus our discussions and thinking about teaching and learning in a way that will help you develop your discussions with your peers.
2. Please undertake a 30-minute peer observation, where you observe student learning in a colleague’s classroom using the LfL lenses. You can choose to use just one lens, or more than one – whichever you feel is most appropriate for the exercise. It will be helpful to have a pre-lesson discussion prior to the peer observation lesson, to agree on what the lens means, what the observer could potentially be looking for and other ground rules of etiquette. (e.g. the observer should not unnecessarily interfere with the classroom activities, remain quiet etc.) The teacher may like to brief the observer on the profile of his/her class. There may be particular students the observer would need to pay more attention to due to various reasons (e.g. learning difficulties).
We suggest that if both of you agree to use more than one lens, then the observer can configure his/her notes in sections – perhaps even dividing your note taking paper into labelled, headed sections prior to the observation. That way he/she can jot down elements he/she observes under each heading in the prepared framework. It is important for the observer to remember that he/she is observing practices, not people.
If possible, conduct a quick post-lesson discussion as soon as possible. Try to ensure that the discussion focuses on observations about practices and contextualise comments by framing the observations as ‘ I noticed pupils...’ or ‘When you supported pupils to... I noticed...’. Remember, the observer is not reporting what he/she THINKS he/she should have seen in a lesson, but what he/she DID see. By doing this, the discussion can avoid problems of possibly unhelpful critique of peer professional practices.
We would not be surprised if both of you report back that certain LfL principles are observed more often than others. If you find this to be true, consider proposing an explanation for this to your colleagues at our next session and what you might suggest we can learn from your findings.
In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.
This page was authored primarily by Stephen Jull, drawing on collaborative work with Sue Swaffield and John MacBeath of the Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge.
At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!
Total time: 135 (min)
Activities in this session:
- Review of follow-up and classroom activities(15 min).
- Think-Pair-Share (10 min) your ideas on what an LfL lens means.
- Small group activity (25 min) on what to look out for in the classroom as evidence of LfL.
- Reading: (10 min) expanded LfL principles
- Small group activity: (30 min) Use 'table mats' to record observations and reflections on LfL in the classroom.
- Think-Pair-Share: (10 min) Does the OER4schools programme support LfL?
- ICT practice (20 min): consolidating what you have learnt so far.
- Open space(10 min).
- Agreeing follow-up activities(5 min).
If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets: