Monday, June 15, 2015

Instructional Leaders

So what makes an instructional leader...

Peter DeWitt recently created a Facebook group dedicated to Instructional Leadership. Within the group he posed the question, "what makes a leader an instructional leader?" I spent the drive into work today contemplating how instructional leadership compares and contrasts with other forms of leadership, and here are a some things that came to mind. The list is not exhaustive; indeed it probably just scratches the surface. Hopefully some of you will read it and then add to it.

Instructional Leaders...
  • While historically the administrator has been considered the instructional leader in a school, it has become clear that the role of instructional leadership is not solely theirs. There are many teacher leaders that take on the role of instructional leader in their buildings and in their districts. Regardless of title or position, the instructional leader affects positive change by putting the needs of the student at the center, and creates the conditions necessary for learning to thrive.
  • Understand the importance of building trusting relationships with students and colleagues. 
  • Spend time in classrooms. Observing, learning, reflecting, questioning, challenging, modeling and empowering.
  • They research instructional strategies and techniques, and mindfully plan for the implementation of those that seem most promising. They don't just jump on the latest fads. 
  • They encourage collaboration. To quote George Couros, "the smartest person in the room, is the room." Instructional leaders know that they, themselves do not have to be an expert in every instructional strategy, but they need to be able to tap into, develop and facilitate the expertise in others. 
  • They need to be connected, and encourage connectivity so that their faculty and colleagues can benefit from the wealth of expertise that exists as a collective.

How do you define instructional leadership? What might you add to this list? Look forward to others sharing their thinking on this! Please add your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

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