Leadership in Lesson Design: Finding the Balance

You are a leader in your learning organization.  You believe that it is possible to create the conditions and capacities most conducive for other leaders, teachers, and students to perform at high levels and meet the expectations of new learning standards.  I ask you to consider:  How is this done?  How do you lead without getting in the way?  How do you support autonomy for creativity AND establish a clear vision for learning design?

These questions are tough and ask us to find a balance.  So, we look to the Visioning Document for guidance around Organizational Transformation.

V.b The teacher’s most important role is to be a designer of engaging experiences for students, supporting students in their work by incorporating more traditional roles as planner, presenter, instructor, and performer.

In order to attain this premise, our curriculum must include examples of engaging learning tasks that are available to students throughout the district and expected of all teachers, and includes supports for using digital media in learning tasks.

First, we must establish a clear vision for teaching and learning.

Next, we must work to close the knowing-doing gap for our educators.  This is where we articulate the structures and strategies in learning design – painting a clear picture for what is expected and how to design, facilitate, and reflect on that goal.

Then, the work begins to provide personalized, intentional professional learning opportunities for the educators.  As leaders, we must be mentors in the process, checking in on the progress, providing appropriate resources, and navigating the feedback loop.

In all of this, we must also remember the other side of the balance: The use of too tightly monitored curriculum and a scripted approach to teaching to ensure coverage of the material for the test instead of broad understandings of connected content is a detriment to profound learning.

We must provide a clear vision.

We must support our educators to be creative designers.

As school and district curriculum leaders, we recognize there is a balance needed between providing too much autonomy (no direction, no firm foundation on which to stand) and too rigid of a structure (such as through a day-to-day script) for our educators in their work.

Who are you taking along with you on your journey to achieve this balance?



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