A unique feature of the lab class is support in developing a shared understanding of responsive, mathematically demanding teaching. The physical space is organized for observation. Sound is amplified to help observers hear, student work is made available for observers after each class, and a live video feed is provided for remote viewing.
There is also a range of supports to help people “see” what is often invisible to casual, and even experienced, observers. For instance, the lesson plan provided beforehand makes instructional planning explicit and prepares people to see more of what happens. The pre- and debriefing for observers includes people with diverse perspectives, providing a fuller picture of important dimensions of instruction. They also provide opportunities for participation in the planning process. Even the teaching itself is conducted to provide greater access. This is done in many ways — for example by not only making sure that all students can see presented work, but also that observers can see, or by narrating for students what is happening, but in ways that simultaneously keep observers in the instructional design loop. Last, the presence of groups of scholars engaged in a variety of related studies of teaching enriches the collective planning and broader discussions.