Knowledge Bank - Leadership | Professional Development

Teachers As Leaders Of Learning

Every teacher is a leader when it comes to their classroom, but they often have a much more limited notion of their role. This leads to a narrowing of styles and approached they can use to enhance the impact of their teaching. Collaboration is the key for enhancing this notion of teachers as leaders, and of sharing new ideas and skills.

Improving teaching often involves collaborative work and different learning strategies across the whole school, learning communities and so on. Rigorous monitoring and evaluation procedures are needed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of teaching, learning and leadership. This includes leading senior leaders and governing bodies in drawing up school improvement plans that have systematic procedures for monitoring and evaluation embedded in them.

Regular progress meetings quickly establish the responsibility of staff at all levels for their pupils’ achievement, avoiding an ‘excuses culture’.

The quality and extent of professional development are not only key to school improvement but also a significant factor in retaining staff. The first step in taking over an underperforming school may be to embark on a process best termed ‘re-professionalisation’.

In order for teachers to appreciate what good and outstanding teaching looked like, best practice has to be shared and celebrated.

Headteachers must recognise the importance of fostering stronger partnerships with pupils and parents. This benefits pupils’ achievement and their well-being.

Once staff are trained and working effectively in school, heads should try their best to retain them by providing opportunities to further motivate them.

This KnowledgeBank sets out some different approaches that can empower teachers to take more responsibility for role as leaders of learning that o far beyond their roles as dispensers of knowledge. The aim of all these articles is to instil the concept of pedagogic leadership in every teacher, and some of the way this can be achieved through CPD.

Collaboration between teachers and their leaders must be a central component of this. Teachers are a fairly unique type of professional; although they work in a large organisation most of their work is on their own in class under their own direction. Without close collaboration the impetus to change and improve can die, and with it a sense of self-esteem as an active and innovative professionals.

Once this collaboration is established the school will develop a culture of learning and change and teachers will see themselves completely differently…as leaders of learning rather than small cogs in a relentless teaching machine.

Read More