“We learned the lesson long ago that merely assigning teachers to teams does not mean that educator and student performance improves… Educators committed to learning teams will benefit most from protocols that prioritize identifying and addressing learning goals for educators based on an assessment of student needs as part of the team cycle of improvement.”
5 Core Components of the LT Model
The Learning Teams model is composed of 5 core components:
Collectively, these five core components help schools become places of learning for both students and adults. Educators come together in stable setting to set and share goals, measure their progress with agreed upon indicators, receive and utilize assistance when needed, and engage in continuous instructional improvement. This is all sustained by supportive and distributed leadership that holds everyone accountable.
In LT schools, teachers work together to improve their teaching on a regular basis in job-alike teams, or Teacher Workgroups.
Teacher Workgroup Composition: Three to seven teachers that share the same grade-level, course, or subject area comprise the Teacher Workgroup. Teams are as job-alike as possible, where job is defined as “what you teach.”
Focus/Purpose: To address common student academic needs through the continuous study of teaching
The leadership model embedded within the LT framework is one of “distributed leadership” based on the hypothesis that the complex task of improving instruction requires shared leadership responsibilities by a team of individuals.
The LT model promotes distributed leadership by requiring teachers to assume academic leadership roles and to chart the academic course and outcomes of their school. LT implementation also establishes tighter linkages between teachers and administrators in their efforts to focus on academic goals and improve students’ academic achievement.
Leadership/Facilitation: One member of each teacher workgroup is selected as the facilitator. Facilitators are teachers themselves, or “teacher leaders,” and typically not a coach or an administrator.
Facilitator Team: Referred to as the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), the ILT includes the facilitator from each teacher workgroup in addition to other key individuals (Principal, AP, coaches, support staff, etc.).
The LT protocol is a well-defined process to study teaching and student learning, in which teachers…
- Identify and clarify a common student need
- Formulate a clear objective
- Identify a promising instructional focus
- Plan and prepare to deliver instruction
- Deliver instruction in the classroom
- Analyze student work to evaluate objective and teaching and refine the need
- Reassess/Reflect: Continue and repeat cycle or move on to another student need
The LT protocol provides direction and guidance for teacher workgroups, allowing facilitators and workgroup members to understand, monitor, and plan their work as a series of sequential steps over the course of the year. In the midst of daily teaching, the protocol provides a roadmap for activities of the workgroup.
To view a brief video case study containing clips of a high school Algebra team working through each step of the LT Seven Step Protocol, click here.
A key hypothesis of the LT program is that instructional changes that improve student achievement take place in specific concrete settings. Transforming ordinary school settings such as grade-level groups or faculty meetings into settings for instructional change is a key idea in the LT school improvement framework. LT Settings
- Teacher Workgroups: Teachers meet at least twice per month, for at least 50 minutes per meeting
- Instructional Leadership Team: ILTs meet at least once per month, for at least 90 minutes per meeting
- Administrator Planning Meeting: Principal and/or AP and LT Advisor meet once per month, for 60-90 minutes
- Regional Administrator Meeting: Principals and/or APs from same District or Region meet once per month, 2-3 hours
- District-Level Services: District point person(s) a LT Sr. Staff meet once per month, 2-3 hours
LT Settings for Change
How each setting supports the next.
School-Site and District-Level Support
Learning Teams Advisors provide assistance and training at each setting. This external assistance serves three purposes:
- Advisors deliver both formal and as-needed (just-in-time) training to administrators and facilitators throughout the year
- Advisors help maintain the focus of the work from one month to the next
- Advisors typically work with a cluster of 4-8 schools while maintaining a connection to similar work in other local and national clusters, allowing them to provide their assigned schools with assistance and training that has been successfully implemented in other sites
|Ongoing School-Site Support from LT Advisors|
|Workgroups||LT Advisors attend workgroups strategically|
|ILTs||LT Advisors attend each monthly ILT meeting|
|LT Advisors meet with Principal/AP each month|
|Regional Meetings||LT Sr. Staff & Advisors lead Regional Administrator meetings each month|
|District Mettings||LT Sr. Staff lead "Think Tank" meetings with district point persons each month|
|Summer Training||Facilitators and site administrators from each school participate in a 2-day training each summer|
|Winter Follow-Up||Facilitators and site administrators attend 1-day follow-up training each winter|