At Lead by Learning, we have a question we center during every professional learning space we facilitate: “What is happening for my learners, and how do I know?” This question asks educators to take a new approach – one grounded in curiosity, not compliance – to answer this question with the support of our students. We do this through an approach that we call the Learning Partnership Conversation. It is a form of student data that creates a pathway to equity because it empowers students as partners in their education. Instead of thinking, “I feel like my students don’t want to do the assignment,” and stopping there, it supports educators to investigate further, challenge that assumption, and talk to students about what they are experiencing.
Read more on the Aurora Institute's Blog: Competency Works
Public Learning, a model developed by the organization Lead by Learning, is a practice that builds awareness in educators in order to better serve their students. Public Learning is not a formula for professional development, but rather a stance and a way of being that activates everything strong educators know about teaching and learning–the need for curiosity around a learner’s experience, the role of uncertainty and complexity, and so much more. In this illuminating conversation, the founder and current leader of Lead by Learning, Jennifer Ahn and Carrie Wilson, remind us of the power of public, reflective adult learning to create a path toward equity and antiracism in schools. These brilliant leaders help us think about what teachers need to genuinely learn and grow and how to infuse a pedagogy of voice at every level of the system.
The third in CASEL’s four-part series that unpacks the topic of “adult SEL” by exploring the research, practices, and policy conditions that build supportive systems and adult capacity. Jennifer Ahn joins Dr. Bloodine Barthelus (CASEL), Mai Xi Lee (Sacramento County Office of Education), and Sue Wilson (Mapleton School District) to discuss promising practices on adult SEL.
In December 2022, Lead by Learning was featured in the Carnegie Foundation's Living Improvement Blog. Lifting up our conference presentation in 2021, Lead by Learning shared about the conditions needed to deepen adult learning.
“PLC Wednesdays give the elementary music staff an opportunity to meet as a group and discuss problems of practice that are unique to our subject area. This year we have partnered with Lead by Learning of Northeastern University to help facilitate our meetings. Our teacher-led design team works with our facilitators to create opportunities for each music teacher to explore a personal learning goal around helping students to feel safe, be engaged, and find relevancy within our music classes.”
Lead by Learning Lead Program Facilitator, Nina Portugal, recently published a piece in Edutopia about taking time to reflect on the school year before heading into summer to capture and share all that was learned this past school year. Read more to learn her 4 steps to support end of year reflections, including Lead by Learning's key practice of Public Learning.
Lead by Learning Regional Director, Sarah Sugarman, and JJ Hansen, a teacher leader from the Berkeley Music Department, explore the impact of quality learning experiences for teachers. How and why do teachers make their learning visible? How do students gain from their teacher’s willingness to be vulnerable and celebratory in their interactions with colleagues? This podcast is a follow up to the piece Sarah for ASCD titled "Three Actions for Building a Culture of Collective Efficacy."
Published in October 2021, in Learning Forward's The Learning Professional, Lead by Learning's directors, Jennifer Ahn and Elizabeth Shafer, identify the three essential capacities that are key to school leaders' abilities to lead through change.
Used with permission of Learning Forward, www.learningforward.org. All rights reserved.
What’s the recipe for creating a strong learning culture and community? In this article, Lead by Learning discusses three practices to support building adult learning cultures grounded in belonging, safety, and trust.
The Partnership for the Future of Learning in May 2021, published their playbook "Building a Strong and Diverse Teaching Profession." Featured in Chapter 3, "Effective Retention Strategies, " Lead by Learning shares how their key practices of Public Learning and Supportive Challenge are used as strategies for equity in teacher learning, growth, and development.
We are excited to share that our article “The Perpetual Student: Effective leaders must be constant learners” was just published in the National Association of Secondary School Principals' magazine Principal Leadership! In the article, Lead by Learning Director of Network Partnerships Jennifer Ahn and Program Associate Nina Portugal share how to foster learning mindsets in leaders.
One of Lead by Learning's key practices is using data to make the learner's experience visible. In this article, Lead by Learning explains that "by engaging our students and creating space to listen to them, we are not only building our own awareness, which is essential to equity, but creating a learning environment that is student centered."
Our core practice of Public Learning was recently featured in Edutopia, in "A Strategy Teachers Can Use to Learn Together." In this article, Nina Portugal, Program Associate at Lead by Learning, explains, "Unlike the typical teacher presentations that highlight best practices or share perfect pieces of student work, public learning is a structure that spotlights the messy but productive thinking that guides educators to those best practices."
Adaptive expertise is a key outcome of teacher led inquiry and one that is featured in "Getting to 100% student engagement in distance learning." In this article, Jessie Welcomer, a teacher scholar at Montalvin Manor K-8, explains, "Teachers are adapting to this new form of education at a rapid pace, and collaborating with one another benefits all of us. My school has partnered with Mills Teacher Scholars in order to facilitate rich collaboration during both in person and distance learning."
Entering into summer after an abrupt transition to distance learning in the Spring of 2020, Lead by Learning Executive Director Carrie Wilson's article "What Comes Next for Professional Learning in the Time of COVID-19: Addressing the Social and Emotional Work of Improvement" discusses setting the conditions for adult learning to support improvement for student outcomes. Wilson reminds us that "Now is the time to give attention to the social and emotional capacities and conditions that make adult learning and improvement possible.
Our partnership with Oakland Unified's Social and Emotional Learning Department was recently featured in Edweek, in "Teachers Weave Social-Emotional Learning Into Academics." In this article, Carrie Wilson, Executive Director of Mills Teacher Scholars, explains, "Our theory of action is that in order for adults, teachers, and principals to be able to provide certain types of learning experiences for students, they have to be able to have those experiences themselves."
Our partnership with OUSD's New Highland Academy was featured in Educational Leadership Magazine, with a focus on how we support our teacher leaders' capacity to lead and sustain collaborative inquiry with their colleagues. This article poses the question: "How are teachers constructing their roles as leaders in schools today? One popular model is to identify certain teachers as particularly successful, and then have others learn from them. But there is another way, a way that looks at leadership as a quality that we all have and can develop."
Mills Teacher Scholars is excited that one of our partner sites, Burbank Early Childhood Center, is featured in a chapter of a recent book by Mills College School of Education professor Linda R. Kroll and San Francisco State University Professor of Elementary Education Daniel R. Meier. Compiling underrepresented inquiry stories from practicing teachers and administrators in early childhood (0-5) classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area, this book highlights the power of the community in supporting professional development for early childhood educators and the education of young children. Important elements addressed include teacher learning, children’s curricula, parent and community communication, and equity and social justice for teachers, children, and families.
Mills Teacher Scholars and our participating teachers are proud to have presented our work at the following convenings: American Education Research Association, National Science Foundation, Bay Area Writing Project, The Collaborative on Academic and Social Emotional Learning, New Teacher Center, Teachers for Social Justice, California School Library Association, Inventing our Futures, Grant Makers for Education, Bay Area Science Project, and the Urban Teacher Education Consortium
In partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars, a cross-district group of OUSD teachers of newcomer English Learners used collaborative inquiry to support their students in developing their academic language. This Teaching Channel video shows how Mills Teacher Scholars supported these teachers to interrogate multiple sources of classroom data that made their students' learning visible. Over time, they developed an inquiry stance and learned to derive their own solutions to problems of practice.