The Department-wide Approach has four components:
- The long-term online PD (Teaching for Mathematical Understanding and Agency: International Schools) contains pedagogical guidance, ideas, strategies, implementation requirements, and many opportunities to reflect and share.
- Classroom implementations create change in teachers. Teachers implement multiple strategies throughout the year.
- The Head of Mathematics (or other Leader) assumes the on-site leadership role (high impact with minimal time requirement). As the 'guide on the side' within the PD, the leader’s ability to impact pedagogical change in teachers increases markedly.
- Collegiality: In the Department-wide Approach, pedagogical discussions occur spontaneously between teachers. Time is also set aside in meetings for teachers to share their wins and challenges. Implementing common pedagogical ideas is ideal for building collegiality within a mathematics department.
Firstly, the team leader role is much less arduous and time-consuming than attempting to bring about pedagogical change on your own.
The Team Leader:
- Participates in the PD, progressing ahead of most of the Teachers.
- Offers support and encouragement to teachers.
- Fosters discussion with and between teachers - informally and during meetings.
- Is 'the guide on the side'.
- Occasionally liaises with the course facilitator via email/Zoom.
- May decide - in agreement with the teachers and facilitator - to prioritise specific strategies from the PD.
Further applications of the Department-wide Approach
The Department-wide Mathematics PD Approach is ideal for a 'Community of Schools'. For example, a school brand may want all their schools' mathematics departments to undertake a PD together - as a community. The setup would look something like this:
- Each Department Head would become a Team Leader for the PD.
- One or more consultants from the school brand could be heavily involved, for example, coordinating one or more summative PD days with all departments (or clusters of departments).
In this way, the school brand 'adopts' the PD 'as their own'. Furthermore, the school brand may request Learn Implement Share to create a bespoke PD to be run using the Dept-wide Approach.
A slight variation on the above is that a consultant employed by an education body may partner with us by becoming the main facilitator of one of our PDs for their teachers.
There are many possibilities, some of which will only become apparent through discussion. So come and talk to us.
Is the Department-wide Approach a good fit for your school?
To find out, read this page, and watch the video above. Then book a 30-minute Zoom chat with Richard.
The Department-wide Approach is flexible. Therefore, to proceed, we decide what will work best for your situation:
- We choose the start date and the duration (at least 12 months).
- We determine the on-site leader (usually the Mathematics Department Head).
- We decide the number of participants. Usually, this is the whole department. However, sometimes the most willing teachers commence first, the remainder joining 6+ months later, having become intrigued by the rich pedagogical discussions of the first cohort.
- We decide how teachers will progress through the online content. Schools may allocate some in-school time. Typically, however, teachers move through the content individually.
Why it is difficult to bring about pedagogical change in teachers:
Teachers need to leave the security of the 'paddock' and experience 'the prairie' for a few months!