Instructional Leadership: Creating the Conditions #leadership20


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Presentation given on October 30, 2012 as part of the #Leadership20 learning series MOOC. Inquires about and describes successful strategies and ideas to create instructional leadership in schools.

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  • Focus on conditions and growthThoughts are with those people affected by the hurricane
  • My story… who am I? Principal, Father, Husband, Teacher (elem and sec), Learner, CoachPrevious high school math/scince/PE teacher – taught intermediate as a VP, small amount of primary as a principalPassionate about assessment, motivation, leadership, family engagement
  • K-6 school, demographics – 50% at or below poverty level, 40% First Nation (generational colonialism)School rankingGreat things: no awards, collegial staff without structural PLC opps, CHOICES, student discipline
  • Researchers at the Uni of Rochester.This is the statement that drives the majority of the decisions at our school – for kids and adultsMy district provides me with the autonomy to take risks and fuel my passions.
  • IL is a concept rather than a person – involves manyWhat does it mean to you? One sentence?
  • Wordle from responses on twitter, email
  • Worst slide ever but shows the depth of instructional leadershipFocus on HOW to do these things – much bigger than instruction – relationships, trust, strength focus, sharing, support, challenge (gentle nudges)BC experience – provincial rather than federal so might be some different practices
  • Everyone can and should leadCreating the conditions for teachers to leadLeader often implies one personFor some – IL is like solar energy – good concept but a low priority – Blasé and BlaséCREDIBILITY – personal and professional
  • Handbook of Instructional Leadership
  • Jacquie Taylor and Bruce Beairsto – management has been given a bad wrapLeadership and management are the yin and yang of administration… Management andleadership are equally noble, complex and necessary – BeairstoComplex relationship – often a tension from a dilemma b/w things like current structures and resources. policies, and important relationships (techiocal to artistic)There must be a fusion of these two elements in all actions, a healthy combination of direction, discussion and dialogue in each conversation - BeairstoLeadership is open to allInstructional Leadership relies on both - management and leadership not polar opposites – yin and yangfocus for today will be on creating the conditions for people to excel
  • Everyone can and should lead – principals can create the conditions for this to occurthe vast majority of our schools are still squandering the experience, ideas and capacity of our nation’s schoolteachers. - Bill FerriterInformal (in BC structures, there iscurrently very little opp for formal teacher leadership in elem schools)Areas of strength/interest/passionOffer time, resources, connections
  • Support and challengeMultipliers vsDiminishers
  • Autonomy – Mastery- PurposeDOn't put lids/ceilings on teachers (jar of fleas)
  • Part of our collective agreementBlasé – autonomy TO not autonomy FROMRelevant learning – differentiated learning – collegial learningLove of Books
  • Active Listener – Deep Listening (seek understanding of perspectives, suspend personal opinions)“Listen with your eyes”TRUST,Personal CREDIBILITYDo what you say you will doEverything we say and do affects how successful we will be with Instructional Leadership – Trust, Respect
  • How do you value teacher’s time? Staff meetings? Fed Ex PrepFilter paperwork, emails so teachers can teachProfessional Growth Plan – Inquiry model – way to learn alongside, professional autonomy – Cale – WINDOWS – how can I help with time, resourcesCovering teacher’s class so they can discuss behaviour concerns with the childTime for teachers to observe each other
  • When I first became principal I was the least experienced teacher on my staff. I was also one of the youngest on my staff. I had no choice but to learn from other teachers on how effective elementary school teacherModel, take risks – create more of a teaching/learning partnershipTeach and co-teach – professional credibilityTeaching grade 1 with grade 1 teachers – in a primary classroom every day
  • Lead Learner – shift the focus from teaching to learning in our conversations – model taking risks, inquiry, research, Be aware of current practice – encourage growth, highlight practices, researchStaff Meetings – 10 per year, 15 hours/year – how are we using this? 70% pro D.Growth MindsetBloggingBalancing collab with quiet reflectionOpen discussion (appreciate and examine others’ perspective) vs debate (zero sum, trying to win) (william Isaacs)Dynamic Tension (benwell)
  • Most people I have worked with WANT to lead. Embrace this, tap into this, create the conditions for this to happen. Treat people well.Encourage others to lead PD both in/out of school/districtTeacher-librarian KinderchatDaily 5Love of Books- reading teamTech
  • Be the messenger of what is happening in one class to the other – and to families (verbally, social media) WINDOWSOffer time to observeWe have a long way to create a learning communityOne of the best things that I have done is spent time in classrooms learning from great teachers and trying to share those stories to other classrooms.Blogging the storiesFor decades, educators have understood that we are all responsible for student learning. More recently, educators have come to realize that we are responsible for our own learning as well. But we usually do not move our eyes around the room—across the table—and say to ourselves, “I am also responsible for the learning of my colleagues.” - Linda Lambert
  • Positive,Private, personalized, meaningful feedback to individualsPublic appreciation to staff or groups – at staff meetings, Monday news, newsletters, PATeaching is hard work – teachers need to know that principals appreciate this. Share the stories.
  • Snooping in classrooms, micro-management, bureaucratic controlBe in classrooms more, becomes less contrived and the conversations are more authentic
  • Get out of the office – priority #1!!!“Walkthroughs” 5x5?All day? Scheduled?No notes – reflections afterwards – follow up conversations around questionsLike AFL – transparent criteria, descriptive feedback, ideas for growthThis year, much of my focus is on learning intentions – asking students what they are learning.Influence can rely on personal/ professional credibility, trust, moral purpose, Much more effective than formal evaluation – but still a role for the formal – based on agreed upon standardsPersonalize DESCRIPTIVE feedback, GROWTH mindset (praise efforts)ASK questions, encourage inquiry, get opinions and advice  conversations focused on learningGentle Nudges
  • Sit beside, comfort of classroomAsk question, try to see from other lensOften worse than it is Skate into the puck – Johnny Bevacqua
  • Leaders need a sound understanding of pedagogy and current practices to explore and promote.Up to date – balance of depth in curriculum, focus on relationships, engagement… and PLO’sConsistency in grading – are we assessing what we should assessing? Are our assessment practices fair? (grade inflation/deflation – HW, zeros, bonus, good kid assessment)Assessment For LearningTechnologyClassroom LeadershipIndividualized plans (IEPs), embedded culture
  • We don’t have a ton of data – report card marks, some district assessment, provincial assessment in grade 4 and 7How do we know what we know?Where are we now? Where do we want to go? What are the steps to get there? Work with staff to develop standards and expectations for OUR school.Effective dynamic tension between where we are and where we want to be – Scott BenwellInvite to look at data – use it not as evaluative but as informative in collegial conversations
  • 2-way communication in small bitsLISTEN – don’t have to agree but we need to listenNewsletters (and magazines)to blogsTransparent – criteria, assessmentShare ideas – help discuss the WHYBlogs, Facebook pages – tie together
  • Something I have always struggled with – Whose vision of student learning is it? How much is shared? How much is imposed? How do we gain more of a shared vision?Ask for input, engage in conversaions… LISTEN – and then use that voice in decisions and direction, vision. Create a vision of student learning from within (including the principal). Start with WHY2012 - What I would like to see for my children – all based on the practices I have seen or discussed at Kent schoolShare the stories of learning
  • A linchpin is someone who is indispensable; someone who fights the resistance and uses their creativity to live on the edge of the box.  “The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds. – GodinHow do we respond when someone wants to try something, take a risk? How do we support and challenge?
  • Take risks, be visible, tell your story, let people in, model transparency.To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. – Brene Brown
  • Mistakes = learningTechnology meeting – pushed too hard, better to model from within or support teachers already leading in this areaI am right, you are wrong – now, gentle nudges. Seeing from other’s perspectives and intentFacebook pages – open vs “closed”
  • Just because I am encouraging teachers to do their thing... Does not mean I get to just sit back Balance effective leadership and managementLeadership from within – tap into the strengths of staffRelationships – build trust, listenProvide Resources Model – teach, take risks, supportLearn – stay current, challenge status quoConnect – be the connector in/out the building - shareProvide Feedback – challenge and supportChallenge and SupportStay currentShared Vision
  • Difficult conversationsRecommended resources?
  • Instructional Leadership: Creating the Conditions #leadership20

    1. 1. Instructional Leadership“Creating the Conditions” #leadership20Chris Image: @gibsonsgolfer
    2. 2. ABOUT ME
    3. 3. Kent Elementary School Agassiz, BC For each student to master core skills,develop their strengths and interests and become a confident learner.
    4. 4. “We cannot motivate others… we can only work to create the conditions for people to motivate themselves.” --Image:
    5. 5. Today We Will Reflect Upon:1. What does instructional leadership mean to you?2. How do we create the conditions for effective school instructional leadership?3. What are some ideas we can share to help build more instructional leadership in schools? Image:
    6. 6. Instructional Leadership is….
    7. 7. Instructional LeadershipAlberta Principal Quality Standards• demonstrates a sound understanding of current pedagogy and curriculum• implements strategies for addressing standards of student achievement• ensures that student assessment and evaluation practices throughout the school are fair, appropriate and balanced• implements effective supervision and evaluation to ensure that all teachers consistently meet the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard• ensures that appropriate pedagogy is utilized in response to various dimensions of student diversity• ensures that students have access to appropriate programming based on their individual learning needs• recognizes the potential of new and emerging technologies, and enables their meaningful integration in support of teaching and learning• ensures that teachers and other staff communicate and collaborate with parents and community agencies, where appropriate, to support student learning• supports the use of community resources to enhance student learning.
    8. 8. Instructional Leader ship Pedagogical Leadership: “a kind of ‘leading’ that often walks behind the one who is ‘led’” -- T.J. SergiovanniImage:
    9. 9. Effective Principals:• Shared purpose• Empowered teachers• Fostered collaboration and collegiality• Supported risk taking and innovation• Helped teachers become inquiry oriented• Provided resources and time for professional growth From Blase and Blase study of 800+ teachers (2004)
    10. 10. “You need management to build a house but only leadership can make it into a home.” Bruce BeairstoCC Image:
    11. 11. Teacher Leadership The old model of formal, one-person leadership leaves the substantial talents of teachers largely untapped... Leadership is the professional work of everyone in the school.Image: - Linda Lambert
    12. 12. Focusing on Strengths -- Jenifer FoxCC Image:
    13. 13. Motivation: Creating the Conditions Image:
    14. 14. Professional AutonomyImage:
    15. 15. Relationships Image:
    16. 16. ProvidingResources Image:
    17. 17. Moving from “Can we…?” …to “HOW can we…?”
    18. 18. Teach With TeachersImage:
    19. 19. Learn Educators are gradually redefining the role of the principal from instructional leader with a focus on teaching to leader of a professional community with a focus on learning. -- Rick DufourImage:
    20. 20. Leadership Within Staff
    21. 21. Image: Share. Be a Connector.
    22. 22. Recognition
    23. 23. Beyond the lens of surveillance Image:
    24. 24. Supervision For Learning
    25. 25. Difficult ConversationsImage:
    26. 26. Curriculum andAssessment
    27. 27. Numbers as InformationImage:
    28. 28. FamilyCommunicationImage: TO vs WITH
    29. 29. Creating a Vision from Within Image:
    30. 30. Leading With Our Linchpins Image:
    31. 31. Be Vulnerable Being rather than knowing requires showing up and letting ourselves be seen. It requires us to dare greatly, to be vulnerable. Brene Brown Image:
    32. 32. Oops!Image:
    33. 33. Instructional Leadership Creating the Conditions• Balance effective leadership and management• Encourage leadership from within• Relationships• Provide Resources• Model• Learn• Be the connector• Provide Feedback• Stay current• Develop and promote a shared vision
    34. 34. Personal Reflections for Growth• How do I create more opportunities for people to connect and learn together (PLC) with the current structural constraints?• How can I better share the great practices/stories of individuals without creating animosity?• What can I do to create more effective time in classrooms? Image:
    35. 35. Acknowledgements Bruce Beairsto Scott Benwell Jacquie Taylor Roxanne Watson Stan Watchorn Karen Nelson Staff of Kent Elementary
    36. 36. Connect With Me @chriswejr chriswejr@gmail.comToday’s slides: