Monday, 30 December 2013

NPQML National College Leading Teaching - reflections on Learning centred leadership

Initial reflections

Successful leaders:
·         Using a variety of styles and strategies
·         Actively seeking out good practices but adapting them where necessary
·         Context matters
·         Optimistic, can-do individuals who are committed to making a difference for their pupils
·         Strongly person-centred,  putting a premium on professional relationships

·         Directly
·         Indirectly (largest and most common)
·         Reciprocally

Structure and systems are also important:
·         Planning processes
·         Target setting
·         Communication systems
·         Monitoring systems
·         Roles and responsibilities of leaders
·         Policies for learning, teaching, assessment and marking

Links to personalised learning - the five components of personalised learning being:
1.       AfL
2.       Teaching and learning strategies that engage and stretch
3.       Curriculum entitlement and choice
4.       Student centred approach to school organisation
5.       Strong partnership beyond the school

I am inclined to disagree with the description of coaching as a "short term, authoritative intervention to support improved performance or changing strategies and behaviours" and of mentoring as a "long-term developmental relationship that supports personal growth and learning". In my experience mentoring occurs when there is a need for support to be given to a colleague in order to improve their teaching through giving suggestions (for example with PGCE students or NQTs) whereas coaching, and questioning in a coaching style, can be used to further develop teachers who are more able to reflect on their own practice and determine their own options and action points for development.

Reflect on the extent to which each of the four components of learning-centered leadership (monitoring, modelling, dialogue and coaching) is a significant part of your personal repertoire of leadership behaviours. What does your 360-degree feedback tell you about this?
How comfortable are you with this approach to your work as a team leader?

Monitoring - strong link between very good monitoring and good or better teaching. Knowledge of teachers' strengths and development needs.
I need to improve my monitoring by doing more informal observations and holding more conversations with colleagues about teaching and learning. I also want to encourage colleagues to observe each other more in order to learn.

Modelling - the power of example, teachers watch their leaders closely for consistency and to test whether they do as they say. What leaders pay attention to is noticed.
I think I usually model well but remembering that "teachers watch their leaders closely" is quite a powerful incentive to ensure that I do this in all aspects of my role.

Dialogue - can often appear to be informal. What did you do and what happened because of it?
I want to have more dialogue with colleagues about teaching and learning and put more of a "premium on professional relationships".

Coaching - combines all three components
I want to have conversations in more of a coaching style with colleagues when discussing their teaching and learning. If colleagues are able to come to their own conclusions about what will improve their teaching and learning then they are more likely to follow through with suggested actions.

To what extent do your leaders and colleagues model this approach?
I feel there is a lot of good modelling within my school and this is combined with effective formal monitoring. It might be beneficial in terms of leadership to further develop our informal monitoring and dialogue. As a department we are exploring the power of coaching, this might have more influence if it were a whole school approach though.

Use part of a team meeting to explore this approach to leadership with your colleagues and prepare a response for discussion at your next face-to-face session.
I am planning on discussing this with my colleagues, in particular the informal monitoring and dialogue aspects.


See 'monitoring', 'modelling', 'dialogue' and 'coaching'.

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