Learning Rounds, Building a Learning Community
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Learning Rounds, Building a Learning Community

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Presentation by Margaret Alcorn at the 2010 Scottish Teacher Education Committee Conference

Presentation by Margaret Alcorn at the 2010 Scottish Teacher Education Committee Conference

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  • The following notes are designed for a facilitator running an hour long briefing on what Learning Rounds is. Plenty of time should be left to allow questions both during and after the presentation. The information on each notes page need not be followoed exhaustively and are there for advice only to facilitators. Facilitators may also wish tom use some activities and information from the LR Support Materials-LR Observers’ Training Pack “ Going to describe to you today Learning Rounds, a development programme to try out new ways of observing what schools do To learn about learning and teaching, what works and why it works and to develop better approaches to System Wide Improvement. We are interested in what teachers and school leaders like yourselves and all all stages of the school, do that makes a difference. Why some things work and some things don’t. Not interested in inspection or authority audit. Interested in getting a group of colleagues together to visit schools , and for them to learn better about school improvement. What they do that has little impact.” Go through some of bullet points above
  • Facilitator Notes: Observing Volunteers only. Immediately some people will say what is use of this? But LR is not about deficit model.in terms of teaching, designed to spot flaw or failure. It is about the group of obeservers learning about learning and teaching. Observing in groups multi-disciplinary, -role,-sector. Observing in groups of 3 to 6 or even 8 is about getting the lens of people with very different skills and perspectives. Looking at issue of common concern. Really interesting when very diverse group. Mirrored observations of the same classes in morning. Don't want the same class, we are not ‘critting’ an individual teacher…we are collecting episodes…so that we can see patterns. Emphasis on Observers’ learning Observable Learning and Teaching information Each visit centres on a specific challenge outlined by the host school or authority The expectation isn't that the group will solve the problem, but that participants will come away with a clearer picture and new ideas about next steps in addressing it Descriptive Voice only use a descriptive voice in discussions after observing. Crucially at this stage we are not allowed opinion or suggestions for change as this can lead to early disagreement and get in the way of next steps. This helps focus on evidence only . Show example of data…In half of the classes we saw use of ICT…..this is statement of fact…it is a description of what we saw. Doesn’t mean we want all classes to use ICT or no classes….but combined with other evidence it might help school…if lack of challenges, or groups work.. Instead we will work hard on getting consensus on the exact nature of the evidence in order to provide an agreed platform to generate improvement Learning through group discussion Experience of LR for many is that it is the first time theyhave been involved in a joint collaboration around lesson observation. Had done lesson observations but always as the sole observer. Interestingly, in the immediate post observation discussion, groups struggled to find a common language. People used different terms to describe similar events. It was only as the discussion progressed that agreement developed around not only about what people were seeing but a common language - a common lens -to describe this. The key to the whole process is that everyone is learning in a joint enquiry and,, Emphasis on Next Steps for the school or authority - from description of the evidence to discussion of next steps. Looking at applying actions to get a solution, On the basis of this evidence in our school or group of schools or authority…what should we be doing next? Once agreement has been reached an action process is then put into action. In response to the evidence the school or authority or group of teachers will draw up a list of next steps, which it will presents to us on a return visit of the group. The LR group can then offer opinions on the next steps being planned. In this forum the LR group look at approaches and solutions and explore what might and might not work. School colleagues are full partners in this discussion. This meeting can be a significant driver for change and could lead to an amended and innovative ‘next steps’ programme that is then implemented. It is a vehicle for learning – not judgement. The group is making causal connections between the issue and the evidence. The discipline of making the connection encourages thoughtful inferences about what might be effective next steps- not final move – but next move. Can return at a later date to determine whether actions effective by again focusing on the evidence and whether the evidence suggests amendments are required in the plan.
  • colleagues going beyond normal boundaries and getting close to practice in different contexts staff not passive observers but involved in a dialogue after observations approach to school improvement that can be duplicated in a system wide way. focus on ‘Next Steps’ as a joint enquiry with observers and observed. 3. emphasis on central importance of Learning and Teaching to school improvement 4. focus on ‘Next Steps’ as a joint enquiry with observers and observed. Learning Rounds gets the group to use the descriptive voice – The key is that observers are not making judgements . It is not about is this a good or bad teacher It is not about evaluating. It is a vehicle for learning – not judgement. The group is making casual connections between the issue and the evidence. The discipline of making the connection encourages thoughtful inferences about what might be effective next steps. 1. The group is building up a body of evidence and 2. focusing on the next level of work – with this practice body of evidence what do we propose as the next move – not final move – but next move. 5. approach to school improvement that can be duplicated in a system wide way. In response to the evidence the school or dept will draw up a list of next steps, which it will presents to a return visit of the group. In this forum, group members offer opinions on the school’s or dept’s plans . Here no longer descriptive. This meeting is a significant driver for change and can lead to an amended and often innovative ‘next steps’ programme. The key is that everyone is learning in a joint enquiry and, like the medical rounds model in hospitals, the team will revisit issues to ensure that there is improvement. Where there is a lack of progress, the strategy is amended accordingly until fully successful.
  • Kyle Academy post observation discussion 2009
  • We want to learn about system wide improvement

Learning Rounds, Building a Learning Community Presentation Transcript

  • 1.
    • Learning Rounds
    • Building a Learning Community
    • Lesson observation in groups
    • Descriptive voice
    • Curriculum for Excellence
    • Improvement across a school or schools
    • Collegiate approach to learning and teaching
    • Creating capacity for leadership of learning
    • Professional development
  • 2.
    • Privacy of practice produces isolation;
    • isolation is the enemy of improvement
    • Richard Elmore
  • 3. The process:
    • Identifying a focus
    • Learning and Teaching focus - will generate key questions to act as a focus to the observation.
    • Observation of Learning and Teaching in school.
    • Visit to school investigates this focus through observation. The team gather evidence that is descriptive and specific.
    • Post Observation Discussion - 2 stages.
    • Team members describe what they saw.
    • They analyse the evidence - arranging it and identifying patterns.
    • Next Steps Creation.
    • In the context of available resources, the group generate and discuss a range of ideas on what should be done next at a system wide level.
    Photo by bablingdweeb
  • 4. Observers’ Learning
    • Going beyond normal boundaries; getting close to practice in different contexts
    • Owned by teachers – bottom-up
    • Not passive observers but a dialogue after observations
    • Emphasis on central importance of Learning and Teaching to school improvement
    • Emphasis on observers’ learning
    • Focus on ‘Next Steps’
    • Approach to school improvement that can be duplicated across a system
  • 5. Kyle Academy Post observation discussion 2009
  • 6. Heart By-pass Death Rate Drops 25% When Surgeons Share Know-How 23 practicing surgeons and their staff observed one another in the operating room and shared their know-how. “ We didn’t invent anything new; we got better at doing things we already do”, said one. 74 patients who were expected to die did not. In New England Research conducted at Dartmouth Medical School Lebanon, N.H. March, 1996 Photo courtesy of interplast
  • 7. OUTCOMES
    • High quality CPD that has an impact
    • Common language to discuss learning and teaching
    • Comprehensive overview for all involved
    • Enhanced insight into L&T across schools and authorities
    • Shared agenda for next steps at system level
    • Building a learning community based on a collegiate approach to change
  • 8. Want to know more?
    • Visit the CPD Team blog at http://ltsblogs.org.uk/cpdteam/