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Leadership An Article exploring educational leadership.

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Leadership, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Leadership
Who's the Leader?

His team took a few minutes deciding exactly how to tackle the task. The members then set off to their various jobs. Time passed, the deadline loomed. He began to feel uneasy. Not enough was happening; they'd missed the point. They weren't doing what they were supposed to. He called out, "We need a meeting. It's not working". Everyone came back and sat down for a review.

He's four and his teacher is somewhere else in the room. I love visiting classes like this. The distinction between teacher and learner is blurred. The leadership of learning belongs to the children. They learn the skills and attitudes of successful groupwork and for learning independence. And they have the freedom and environment to try them out. This is no easy option for a teacher though. Keeping tight control throughout the day is safe and by-and-large easy. We can guarantee curriculum coverage and basic skills. Letting go is risky. It's unknown territory: How will they react? How much control can I give them? What about behaviour? Will they learn? What about tests and exams? The good news is that children can and will respond positively to greater independence and classroom autonomy. The other good news is that it's easier than you might think to pull it of. And it begins with looking again at Leadership:

Leading is...

Leadership comprises many attitudes, skills and qualities and generates whole libraries on how to do it. Numerous 'leaders' are happy to share their secrets of success and 7 step programmes. Their ideas are often practical and inspiring and usually developed in their particular industry - sport, finance, politics etc. If you look closely, common themes emerge - trust, inspiration, confidence, emotional intelligence. But there's real power in applying one industry's leadership in a completely different one: how can political leadership give new insights in school? What has educational leadership to offer the world of sport?

Direct and Indirect

Do leaders tell or suggest, dictate or facilitate? Do they bark instructions from the top of an organisation or nudge carefully from the ranks? Do they have a fixed or flexible style? Are they born or made? According to Howard Gardner, direct leaders have the official title and lead from the place where the buck stops. However he also values indirect leadership - stepping forward to take a risk; try out something new; take the initiative - from anywhere within an organisation. Using this idea of leadership a headteacher, an NQT, a pupil, a parent and a site manager all have diverse yet valuable leadership roles.

Leading Learning

In their 2004 research J&J Blase questioned over 800 teachers about their school leaders. They chose to analyse the results across 3 areas, areas which summarise quiet nicely the breadth and depth of expectation of a principal/headteacher: 1. Supporting reflective practice, 2. Using good mentoring techniques and 3. Encouraging coaching and collegial investigation to deepen whole school staff understanding of the learning process Dr Tom Hoerr, principal at New City School in St Louis, writes extensively on school leadership. His style exemplifies the 3rd point above and he draws a clear distinction between collegiality (professionals teaching each other, learning together), collaboration (working on the same project together) and cooperation (getting along just fine in the same room). The teacher-as-learner approach to school leadership is embedded in many UK schools, not least Bradford Academy where CPD is arranged around research-based collegiality. The principal and leadership team have created a professional learning community where teachers are learners and learners teachers.

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