Shuffling between the balcony and the dance floor

Scope of vision is important in program implementation.

What we are able to see from our vantage point is crucial in making decisions that contribute to the sound implementation of a coherent program of learning.

Expanding our vision can take many forms, and there are at least two vantage points that create a holistic picture of our program.

From a coordinator or team leader’s point of view, the vantage point of the classroom is key. By classroom, I don’t mean only the setting for course delivery, usually assigned to a teacher. It can also mean the context for learning through different aspects of a program such as service learning, the interdisciplinary, counseling, advisory, and the like. These components of the program are smaller contexts through which learning is facilitated, and usually the facilitator is best to be one who has their hands deep in the work with the learners, creating the learning with them. This vantage point is like the dance floor.

The coordinator or team leader can take a point of view that includes a big picture, overview. For a coordinator, it’s the whole program with all its elements and practices. For a team leader, it may be the vertical curriculum and instruction that defines and delivers the subject group or core aims. This expansive view is like the balcony.

We can view a program from the balcony to see the big picture, and we can see it from the dance floor, deep in the learning with our students. #perspective Click To Tweet

The view from the dance floor

Coordinators who teach at least one class have a really good sense of what’s going on at the dance floor. Knowing and understanding the systems and structures in place that colleagues and learners use in their implementation and learning helps a coordinator or team leader to remove barriers to learning because they understand the processes and experiences from a first hand immersion in these.

The view from the balcony

It’s important to spend time on the balcony, too. From that wider vantage point, it is easier to see the connections between different elements of the program, such as how coherent it might be for learners toward a common performance. For example, when we take the balcony view, we are able to see how every subject group may contribute to the final culminating perforamnce in the program.

Shuffling between the dance floor and the balcony

The vantage points of close ups and wide views of a program create flexibility in our problem solving. For example, we could be on the balcony and see that a range of units indicate many learners are doing the same things at the same time, and many of these tasks may hinder the development of agency in the students. From the wide vantage point, we learn that something in the system inadvertently prevent manifestation of some key practices.

The big picture we see allows us to decide that a discussion and a decision needs to be made collaboratively to create the conditions wherein learners are able to make choices in designing unit tasks.

“Balcony view” Featured Photo by Siednji Leon on Unsplash

When we return to the dance floor, say in our classroom, we then get feedback from the change as we implement it. In the thick of the action, we gain a strong understanding of how the new ways we design tasks influence student self-direction as they are given opportunities to lead their own learning.

“Dancing” Featured Photo by Ardian Lumi on Unsplash

The flexibility in our vision gives us a wider panorama of problem-solving. Shuffling between the dance floor and the balcony in our work enhances our program and the essential experiences of our learners.

How do you gain different perspectives on your program?


We’re cooking up some new stuff for you.

In addition to blog posts, we are building some more resources.

  • We want to support coordinators and team leaders or heads of departments in implementation strategies.
  • The materials will be ready by the end of the summer.
  • We are also offering Cognitive Coaching for teachers and coordinators to help plan and reflect on professional learning.

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Author: alavina

Cognitive CoachSM and professional development leader at large. Writer and editor at http://learnertoolbox.com.

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