How might we train and empower a small team of innovative teacher-leaders to help transform teaching and learning and build capacity in our school?
In the summer of 2016, Ascension Episcopal School, a PK-12 school in Lafayette, LA, collaborated with Leadership+Design to build the capacity of their faculty by first developing an Innovative Teacher Cohort (ITC) who mastered the habits and mindsets of design thinkers, and then empowering that group to share those newfound skills and leadership capabilities with the larger faculty. During the first phase, L+D worked with a small group of early adopters, who became confident design thinkers and leaders while developing a framework for their own collaboration and leadership within their school. Through this initial work together, the ITC learned and practiced empathy, problem definition, ideation, and prototyping solutions to a school challenge.
In phase two, the ITC became the instructors, as L+D returned to facilitate a two-day workshop in design thinking alongside these teacher-leaders for the entire faculty. Members of the ITC trained their colleagues in the habits and mindsets of design thinkers and gave participants direct practice in empathy research and human-centered curriculum design. Teachers interviewed students to gain insights into their needs as learners and designed learning experiences around those needs, getting feedback on their ideas directly from students.
The overall experience developed confidence in collaborative and creative work among colleagues across the school. Perhaps even more importantly, it also developed new leadership from within the school and fostered a culture of support and guidance within the faculty.
Experience Designer: Garrett Mason