Unit 1 - Introduction to interactive teaching and the use of ICT

Session 1.6 - Leadership for Learning

From OER in Education

Learning intentions and objectives.
In this session you will learn about:

  • the lens metaphor for exploring the 5 LfL principles,
    1. Focus on learning
    2. Conditions for learning
    3. Learning Dialogue
    4. Shared Leadership
    5. Shared Accountability
  • leadership practices that support learning and which can be organized within the 5 LfL principles, and
  • LfL in the classroom.

Success criteria.
To meet the learning intentions you will:

  • use the lens metaphor to identify LfL in the classroom and record your observations and reflections on a table mat,
  • identify the LfL practices employed in the OER4schools programme,
  • develop a personal and professional understanding of leadership practices that support learning and which can be organized within the 5 LfL principles, and
  • watch a video of teachers in action to see if some or all of the 5 LfL principles can be identified.

ICT components.
The ICT components you will focus on are

  • consolidate your skills with concept mapping, geogebra, images, and typing.

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • you will continue with Geogebra, images, and typing.

Resources needed.

You'll need large pieces of paper (one per group of two or three) to use as table mats for recording observations.

Review of follow-up activities from last session

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:

  1. Focus on learning
  2. Conditions for learning
  3. Learning Dialogue
  4. Shared Leadership
  5. 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.

LfL: Seeing is believing

A critical lense

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.

Activity icon.png Think-Pair-Share (10 min) your ideas on what an LfL lens means. What do you think we mean by an LfL lens as illustrated by the spectacles or glasses metaphor?

LfL: The five lenses

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:

  1. Focus on learning
  2. Conditions for learning
  3. Learning Dialogue
  4. Shared Leadership
  5. Shared Accountability

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’?

Activity icon.png Small group activity (25 min) on what to look out for in the classroom as evidence of LfL.

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.

Activity icon.png Reading: (10 min) expanded LfL principles

Background reading

Focus on Learning

  1. Everyone is a learner
  2. Learning relies on the effective interplay of social, emotional and cognitive processes
  3. The efficacy of learning is highly sensitive to context and to the differing ways in which people learn
  4. The capacity for leadership arises out of powerful learning experiences
  5. Opportunities for leadership enhance learning

Conditions for Learning

  1. Cultures nurture the learning of everyone
  2. Everyone has opportunities to reflect on the nature, skills and processes of learning
  3. Physical and social spaces stimulate and celebrate learning
  4. Safe and secure environments enable everyone to take risks, cope with failure and respond positively to challenges
  5. Tools and strategies are used to enhance thinking about learning and the practice of teaching

Learning Dialogue

  1. Practice made explicit, discussable and transferable
  2. Active, collegial inquiry focussing on the link between learning and leadership
  3. Coherence through sharing of values, understandings and practices
  4. Factors that inhibit and promote learning are examined and addressed
  5. Link between leadership and learning is a concern for everyone
  6. Different perspectives explored through networking with researchers and practitioners

Shared Leadership

  1. Structures support participation in developing learning communities
  2. Shared leadership symbolised in day-to-day flow of activities
  3. Everyone encouraged to take a lead as appropriate to task and context
  4. Everyone’s experience and expertise is valued and drawn upon as resources
  5. Collaborative activity across boundaries of subject, role and status are valued and promoted

Mutual Accountability

  1. Systematic approach to self-evaluation embedded at every level
  2. Focus on evidence and its congruence with core values
  3. Shared approach to internal accountability is a precondition of external accountability
  4. National policies recast in accordance with school's core values
  5. Choosing how to tell own story while taking account of political realities
  6. Continuing focus on sustainability, succession and leaving a legacy

Application of LfL lenses to a classroom situation

Activity icon.png 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.

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.

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."

Activity icon.png Think-Pair-Share: (10 min) Does the OER4schools programme support LfL?

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.

ICT practice

Activity icon.png 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.

Connecting with overarching goals of the programme

Activity icon.png 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.

Follow-up activities

Activity icon.png Agreeing follow-up activities (5 min).

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.


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.