News from the Eastern 2 Region
Sue Vohrer, Eastern 2 Regional Director
A Lens on Leadership: We often think of leadership as a hierarchy, with a leader "at the top" and others following along. Danielson states that, "Leadership in schools need not be hierarchical; communication need not be a one-way proposition. And while schools, like other organizations, need to have someone in charge, there are ways of being in charge that not only hone the expertise of teachers but unleash the power of genuine leadership in them." (2006). In "Designing a Community of Shared Learning", math coach Anne Beaton describes how she empowered her teachers to lead through developing a community of shared learning by which teachers routinely visited each other in order to learn from each other.
This idea resonated when she saw Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in which Jerry interviewed Jim Carrey as they drove around. Mr. Carrey stated that, "I used to watch you [Jerry] at the Improv when I was starting out and I was like, this guy is an amazing mechanic." The connection to studying our teaching practice by watching each other teach was made! Dr. Albert Bandura’s research on social cognitive theory and teaching self-efficacy supports this concept. Dr. Bandura found that vicarious experiences (such as watching another perform a skill) is one way to increase self-efficacy with that skill.
"When teachers regularly observe one another, they gain ideas for sharpening instruction-and a conduit for leadership" (Beaton, 2017). There are many benefits from organizing such a practice within a school. First is building relationships within the faculty through shared practice. By arranging times for teachers to visit each other within her school, Ms. Beaton opened doors for noticing and wondering that improved collegial conversation and increased implementation of observed strategies within classroom settings.
Note that this idea requires an organizational design that is planned in advance and explained to teachers! Implementation would include determining which teachers are willing to have visits, making a schedule for visitation, setting norms, and designing specific "look-fors", and arranging a debrief time. This process develops teachers as leaders as they take on the responsibility of making improvements to the logistics of the visits and offering suggestions on increasing teaching self-efficacy. One may think this is the same as lesson study, but it is not. These shared learning visits are different from lesson study as the same lesson is not repeated. While there are similarities to lesson study, the essence of this process is different as there are many choices for visitation and it is more personalized based on the type of learning individual teachers wish to embrace. Consider the idea for your school as a way to develop mathematics teacher leaders in your school.
Check Out These Leadership Opportunities!
November 29, 2017, Chicago, Illinois
Leading for Equity and Social Justice in Mathematics
November 29-December 1, Chicago, Illinois
Math Education Meets Excellence
December 9, 2017, Dover, Delaware
Delaware Mathematics Coalition
April 23-25, 2018, Washington DC
Mark your calendars now for NCSM’s Annual Conference!
Leading Mathematics Into the Future
Your Eastern Region 2 Team Leaders
We are so appreciative of having these dedicated team leaders working in your state! Feel free to contact them (or me!) if you need information or have questions.
- Delaware: Crystal Lancour () and Jamila Riser ()
- Maryland: Ed Nolan () and Andrew Todd ()
- New Jersey: Jill Perry () and Dianna Sopala ()
- Pennsylvania: Please contact me if interested.
- Washington DC: Michael Barnhart ()
- West Virginia: Please contact me if interested.
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Have a wonderful fall and holiday season!