Lenses on Learning—Mathematics Professional Development for School Administrators
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
Lenses on Learning (LOL) is a 30 contact-hour leadership development course that teaches participants to make observations
for learning in standards-based mathematics classrooms.
Designed by the Education Development Center (EDC) in Newton, MA, LOL classes are conducted in accordance with EDC’s training protocol and in conjunction with its national study of Lenses on Learning. During project Year 5, 61 school
administrators from partner districts and seven project Facilitators completed the course. To date, 127 school
administrators and project personnel have received the Lenses on Learning professional development through NC-PIMS. The participants represent ten of the NC-PIMS
district partners. During summer 2007, the Lenses course will be provided to school administrators in Brunswick School District in which the majority of
its principals in K-8 schools will participate.
- Lenses on Learning helps instructional leaders focus on
mathematical thinking and reasoning, posing problems, problem solving, and
discourse that enhance and extend students’ mathematical knowledge during
classroom observations. By focusing
teachers’ attention on the thinking and reasoning of students, teachers
must consider: (1) their own mathematical content knowledge; (2) the tools
they use to represent the mathematics; and (3) the effectiveness of
instructional tasks in advancing students’ mathematical content knowledge
and ability to apply it.
- Participants in the Lenses on Learning course spend
time engaged in: (1) thinking about and “doing” mathematics; (2) observing
students engaged in the same mathematical task; and (3) making observation
notes about the: (a) mathematical content knowledge of students and
teachers, (b) students’ learning as related to the teachers’ instructional
decisions; and (c) quality of the classroom’s intellectual community. They also document how the teacher
facilitates the intellectual community by setting the tone, supporting
students, and intervening to maintain a focus on mathematics.
- Principals and school
administrators who are currently participating in Lenses on Learning sessions express an understanding of, and
commitment to, standards-based instruction and the value of the course for
affirming different ways to approach the same problem. As one elementary principal stated, “My
way of doing math has never been valued before participating in the
course. When I return to my school,
I will observe to see if teachers value student’s ways of learning
mathematics as a way to address the diverse students in the class.” Survey
results of the participants continue to indicate an overwhelming positive
response to the relevancy of the course and the impact that is anticipated
on principals’ practices in observing the mathematics lessons of their
- Participating principals see the
value of observing for learning rather than just observing for teacher
behaviors. They report that the Lenses on Learning experience has
changed their post-conferences from a focus on “what’s right and what’s
wrong” to important discussions about what mathematical learning occurred
for the teacher and the students.
They express belief that these discussions will help principals
understand how to support learning for the teacher and the students and
how to improve teaching and learning.
The principals document ways to integrate this approach into the
existing and required evaluation procedures. They also articulate ways Lenses on Learning principles and practices can facilitate the
achievement of school improvement goals.
A LOL session at Fayetteville State University, October 26 2006
For more information on the Lenses on Learning program, please visit the EDC website.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 April 2007 )