What is your understanding of leadership for learning? Post to the forum and discuss the theories and how they support instructional leadership.
DEFINITION – LEADERSHIP FOR LEARNING
Leadership for learning is a distinct form of educational practice that involves an explicit dialogue, maintaining a focus on learning, attending to the conditions that favour learning, and leadership that is both shared and accountable. Learning and leadership are conceived of as ‘activities’ linked by the centrality of human agency within a framework of moral purpose (MacBeath & Dempster, 2008, p. 42).
My understanding of Leadership For Learning involves:
· A constant cycle of continuous improvement where one is learning through engaging in a continuous cycle of planning, implementing, evaluating, analysing, and critical reflecting to bring about improvement in practice (O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 90)
· Analysis and reflective practice about all aspects of teaching, including assumptions (O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, pp. 87-89)
· Collaborating with other members of staff to promote professional growth, to discuss and critically reflect to improve practice, including providing feedback through peer reviews (Harris and Muijs cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, pp. 90-95)
· Teachers leading staff in professional development (Harris and Muijs cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, pp. 92-95)
· Learning through applying and systematically evaluating new approaches and ideas gained from research (Harris and Muijs cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, pp. 92-95)
· Learning from as well as employing action research techniques within the classroom (Harris and Muijs cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, pp. 92-95)
The work of instructional leaders is highly focused on “the core technology of schools, that is, teaching and learning” (Neumerski, 2013, p. 318). Leadership for learning supports instructional leadership because it improves teaching practice and student learning outcomes through promoting analysis, critical reflection and a cycle of continuous improvement. It involves teachers modelling the skills required for learning for life, in order to be engaging in best practice for their students. It also allows teachers to lead each other, which is a kind of distributed leadership.
Principals can support this by providing teachers with:
· Opportunities to work collaboratively together (Spillane et al. cited in O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 96)
· Opportunities to engage in professional dialogue
· Encouragement of the process of leadership for learning
· Opportunities for peer modelling and review
· Sharing and aligning the vision for the school with preferred approaches to teaching (O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 96)
· Opportunities to communicate effectively to promote positive relationships, self-confidence, growth, problem solving and success
· Support through effective timetabling
· Opportunities for learning, leadership and participation (O’Donoghue & Clark, 2010, p. 97).
MacBeath, J. E., & Dempster, N. (2009). Leadership for learning. Connecting leadership and learning: principles for practice (pp. 32-52). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.
Neumerski, C. M. (2013). Rethinking instructional leadership, a review: What do we know about principal, teacher, and coach instructional leadership, and where should we go from here?. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(2), 310-347. doi:10.1177/0013161X12456700
O’Donoghue, T. A. & Clarke, S. (2010). Teachers learning and teachers leading. Leading learning: process, themes and issues in international contexts (pp. 87-99). Retrieved from Charles Sturt University Library.