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Professor Neil Dempster – School of Education & Professional Studies, Griffith University Leading Learning: What’s in the Research? Secondary Principals.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Neil Dempster – School of Education & Professional Studies, Griffith University Leading Learning: What’s in the Research? Secondary Principals."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Neil Dempster – School of Education & Professional Studies, Griffith University Leading Learning: What’s in the Research? Secondary Principals as Literacy Leaders (SPALL): Literacy Leadership through Assessment Module 1

2 School of Education and Professional Studies SESSION 1 Purposes: Synthesising general research findings about leadership links with improved student learning outcomes  Summarising research related to principals’ leadership of literacy in the secondary school setting

3 School of Education and Professional Studies From individual with sole to Collective with shared responsibility responsibility From Leadership as toLeadership as activity position THE BIG PICTURE THE BIG LEADERSHIP SHIFTS

4 School of Education and Professional Studies DEFINITION Leading Learning School leaders, understanding and harnessing the contexts in which they operate, mobilise and work with others to articulate and achieve shared intentions that enhance learning and the lives of learners. MacBeath & Dempster (2009) following Leithwood & Riehl (2003)

5 School of Education and Professional Studies Three Leadership Fundamentals 1.Purpose (what for?) 2.Context (where?) 1.Human Agency (who with?)

6 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP (National College for School Leadership 2006) 1.After classroom teaching, leadership is the second most significant in-school influence on students’ learning o It accounts for 5-7% of the difference in student learning o There has been no case of improvement in students’ achievement trajectory in the absence of talented leadership (Leithwood et al, 2006)

7 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 2. There is a verifiable repertoire of basic school leadership practices Building vision and directions Understanding and developing people Designing the organisation (bringing function and structure together) Managing the teaching and learning program (bringing purpose and practice together) Leithwood & Riehl (2005) Bass & Avolio (1994) Harris & Chapman (2002)

8 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 3. The effective application of leadership practices is context sensitive but the context is not everything – it should not be allowed to render a leader powerless to make changes Slatter, Lovett & Barlow (2006) Mintrop & Papazian (2003) Day (2005) MacBeath et al (2007)

9 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 4. Leaders improve teaching and learning indirectly through influence on staff motivation, commitment and working conditions they influence teachers’ pedagogical capacity least (unless they are active in professional development) they have strong influence on working conditions they have moderate influence on motivation or commitment Robinson (2006, 2009) Leithwood & Janter (2006)

10 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 5. Greatest influence is felt when leadership is widely distributed shared leadership accounted for 27% of the variation in student achievement across schools in the Mascall and Leithwood studies this is much higher than the 5-7% reported consistently for the effects of individual leaders. Mascall & Leithwood (2007)

11 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 6. Some patterns of leadership distribution are more effective than others there is consistent evidence about the ineffectiveness of laissaz-faire leadership (Bass, 1985) there is no loss of a leader’s power and influence when the power and influence of others increases (Malen, 1995) there is emerging evidence about the need for coordinated patterns of leadership practice (Ensley, Hmieleski & Pearch, 2006; Spillane, 2007; Harris, 2008; McKinsey and Company, 2010))

12 School of Education and Professional Studies SEVEN STRONG CLAIMS ABOUT SCHOOL LEADERSHIP 7. Personal traits explain differences in leadership effectiveness The most successful School Leaders are: open-minded ready to learn from others flexible in their thinking within a set of core values persistent in the pursuit of the school’s purpose resilient optimistic Leithwood & Jantzi (2006) Jacobson et al (2005) Robinson et al (2009)

13 School of Education and Professional Studies A Summary of the National College for School Leadership Research Review (UK; 2006) Leaders affect learning by: building vision and setting directions understanding and developing teachers designing effective organisational structures coordinating the teaching and learning program attending to the conditions for learning sharing leadership broadly and deeply

14 School of Education and Professional Studies OECD (2008) ‘Improving School Leadership’ Leaders who enhance student learning do so by: supporting and developing teacher quality defining goals and measuring progress managing resources strategically collaborating with external partners

15 School of Education and Professional Studies Australian Council for Educational Research Review (2009) Leaders ensure high quality learning by: building a school culture of high expectations setting targets for improvement employing teachers who have deep knowledge and understanding of key content areas enhancing staff and leadership capacity monitoring teacher practice, student learning and performance continuously allocating physical and human resources to improve learning

16 School of Education and Professional Studies NZ Government Best Evidence Synthesis from Leadership Research (Robinson et al 2007, 2009) Leaders affect learning by: promoting and participating in teacher professional development planning, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating teaching, learning and the curriculum establishing goals and expectations resourcing strategically ensuring an orderly and supportive environment

17 School of Education and Professional Studies The Cambridge Leadership for Learning (LfL) Project (MacBeath et al 2009) Leadership is connected to learning by: maintaining a focus on learning creating conditions favourable to learning conducting disciplined dialogue about learning sharing leadership sharing accountability

18 School of Education and Professional Studies Secondary School Research Review Sources Barnes, C. A., Camburn, E., Sanders, B. R., & Sebastian, J. (2010) Bishop, A. R., Berryman, M. A., Wearmouth, J. B., & Peter, M. (2012). Brundrett, M. (2006). Burns, M. K. (2008). Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. (2009) Cravens, X., Goldring, E., Porter, A., Polikoff, M., Murphy, J., & Elliott, S. (under review). Crum, K. S., & Sherman, W. H. (2008) Day, C. (2005) Day, C. (2005a) Day, C., Sammons, P., Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Gu, Q., et al. (2009) Day, C., Day, C., Sammons, P., Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Gu, Q., et al. (2009a) Dinham, S. (2005) Fancera, S. F., & Bliss, J. R. (2011 ) Fink, D., & Brayman, C. (2006) Fletcher, J., Greenwood, J., Grimley, M., & Parkhill, F. (2011) Foster, R. (2004) Gentilucci, J. L., & Muto, C. C. (2007) Goldring, E., Porter, A. C., Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., & Cravens, X. (2009) Goldring, E., Cravens, X., Murphy, J., Porter, A., Elliott, S., & Carson, B. (2009) Greenwood, J., Fletcher, J., Parkhill, F., Grimley, M., & Bridges, S. (2009) Gu, Q., Sammons, P., & Mehta, P. (2008) Gurr, D., Drysdale, L., & Mulford, B. (2006) Gurr, D., Drysdale, L., & Mulford, B. (2005) Gurr, D., Drysdale, L., Swann, R., Doherty, J., Ford, P., & Goode, H. (2005)

19 School of Education and Professional Studies Secondary School Research Review Sources (cont’d) Hallinger, P. (2005) Hargreaves, A., & Goodson, I. (2006) Leech, D. F., & Fulton, C. R. (2008) Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2006) Levin, B. (2010) Louis, K. S., Wahlstrom, K. L., Michlin, M., Gordon, M., Thomas, E., Leithwood, K., et al. (2010) May, S. (2007) May, H., & Smyth, J. (2007) May, H., & Wright, N. (2007) McGhee, M. W., & Chulsub, L. (2007) Moller, J., & Eggen, A. B. (2005) Murphy, J. (2004) Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., Goldring, E., & Porter, A. C. (2007) Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., Goldring, E., & Porter, A. C. (2010) Murphy, J., Goldring, E. B., Cravens, X. C., Elliott, S., & Porter, A. C. (2011) O'Donnell, R. J., & White, G. P. (2005) Opdenakker, M. C., & Van Damme, J. (2007) Patterson, J. A., Eubank, H., Rathbun, S. E., & Noble, S. (2010) Peariso, J. F. (2011)

20 School of Education and Professional Studies Polikoff, M., May, H., Porter, A., Elliott, S., Goldring, E., & Murphy, J. (2009) Porter, A. C., Murphy, J., Goldring, E., Elliott, S. N., Polikoff, M. S., & May, H. (2008) Porter, A. C., Polikoff, M. S., Goldring, E., Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., & May, H. (2010) Porter, A. C., Polikoff, M. S., Goldring, E. B., Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., & May, H. (2010) PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2007) PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2007a) Quint, J. C., Akey, T. M., Rappaport, S., & Willner, C. J. (2007) Robinson, V. M., Lloyd, C. A., & Rowe, K. J. (2008) Sammons, P., Hopkins, D., Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Gu, Q., et al. (2007) Sammons, P., Mujtaba, T., Earl, L., & Gu, Q. (2007) Schaffer, E., Reynolds, D., & Stringfield, S. (2012) Smyth, J. (2007) Smyth, J., & Whitehead, D. (2007) Wahlstrom, K. L., & Louis, K. S. (2008) Whitehead, D. (2007) Wright, N. (2007) Secondary School Research Review Sources (cont’d)

21 School of Education and Professional Studies Research on principals’ literacy leadership to date focuses predominantly on elementary or primary school principals. Murphy warns:  drawing conclusions for secondary school leaders based on studies of instructional leadership in elementary schools alone is naive Murphy, 2004, p. 66 General Findings from the Research Review

22 School of Education and Professional Studies  Schools especially effective in literacy achievement enjoy vigorous instructional leadership usually by the principal (Murphy, 2004; Peariso, 2011)  Principals’ and other school leaders’ behaviours are intertwined in secondary schools in producing outstanding student outcomes (Dinham, 2005; MacBeath et al, 2009)  Shared Leadership in secondary schools needs deliberate combinations of principal, positional leaders and teachers to be effective (Fullan, 1992; Ainscow, Hopkins, Southworth & West, 1994; MacBeath, 1998; Hargreaves, 2000; Leithwood & Riehl, 2003; Fullan, 2006; MacBeath, 2009; Levin, 2011) General Findings (cont’d)

23 Secondary School Literacy Initiative (SSLI) Study The SSLI in New Zealand found that the implementation of literacy initiatives across the curriculum is complex in secondary schools May & Wright (2007) May (2007) Wright (2007).  the constant commitment of senior management and key personnel is necessary  teacher buy-in needs encouragement  resistance occurs  implications for departments/disciplines need clarity  sustainability beyond project support varies School of Education and Professional Studies

24 The research review conducted for the SPALL Project has shown that there is limited, though growing knowledge about leadership behaviours in the secondary school context which make strong connections with literacy learning and achievement. How principals’ make an impact on student literacy through instructional leadership in secondary schools is in need of further research. The SPALL Project provides a timely opportunity for a study of this kind of leadership action by principals and others sharing leadership roles in secondary schools General Findings (cont’d)

25 SO, To Summarise… School of Education and Professional Studies

26 PURPOSE School Leadership is for learning first and foremost. Leaders need: deep knowledge of young people’s learning* evidence on which to base action practical strategies for teachers’ professional development *Particular knowledge in at least one key curriculum area (Robinson, 2009) – and knowledge of cultural and social influences on learning (Buckskin et al, 2008, Bishop and Berryman, 2011)

27 School of Education and Professional Studies CONTEXT  Knowledge of the school’s context is essential to the educational leader: the context has to be understood (globally, nationally and locally); beneficial connections have to be made; and helpful networks must be harnessed in the school’s interests.

28 School of Education and Professional Studies HUMAN AGENCY (it’s what gets things done)  This is the bedrock on which current thinking on leadership is based: Distributed leadership is essential in schools – broad and deep, inside and outside (Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2006; OECD, 2008) Types range on a continuum from dispersed to shared (MacBeath, Oduro & Waterhouse, 2004) Sharing leadership should occur across roles and functions (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003, Spillane 2006, Harris, 2007) Spread it to include students, family and community members (Crowther, 2004; Dempster & Lizzio, ; OECD, 2008; Johnson and Jervis-Tracey, 2011)

29 School of Education and Professional Studies Synthesising the Research Findings Those leading schools best affect student learning outcomes when: 1. They have an agreed and shared moral purpose; 2. There is ‘disciplined dialogue’ about learning in the school; 3. They plan and monitor learning and take account using a strong achievement evidence base; 4. They are active professional learners with their teachers; 5. They attend to enhancing the conditions for learning; 6. They coordinate, manage and monitor the curriculum and teaching; 7. They use shared leadership as the norm; and 8. They understand and connect with parent and wider community support for learning.

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31 School of Education and Professional Studies SESSION 2 Purpose: To reflect on the strength of each of the dimensions of the Leadership for Literacy Learning Blue Print in participating schools

32 School of Education and Professional Studies Questions for Self-reflection 1.How strongly would I rate the implementation of each of the Blue Print domains in our school and what evidence do I have to support my rating? 2.To which of the domains do I believe we should now turn our attention? 3.How might we best use this instrument back at school?

33 School of Education and Professional Studies SESSION 3 Purpose: To practise the use of ‘Disciplined Dialogue’ in professional conversations drawing on quantitative and qualitative evidence gathered about selected Blue Print domains

34 School of Education and Professional Studies Structure of the Session Three parts: I.What is ‘disciplined dialogue’? II.How is ‘disciplined dialogue’ conducted? III.What is the role of principals and other school leaders in hosting professional conversations?

35 School of Education and Professional Studies What are professional conversations? In medicine, psychology, social work and education:  they are measured discussions related to particular cases with a view to addressing needs, managing issues, improving circumstances or facilitating change based on sound evidence.

36 School of Education and Professional Studies Why is a strong evidence base important to the professions?  It provides the basis upon which professional judgment is applied  It underpins professional knowledge and learning  It acts as an aid to professional accountability

37 School of Education and Professional Studies Professional Accountability: Essential tenets derived from Erault (1992)  A moral commitment to serve the interests of clients, patients or students  A professional obligation to extend one’s repertoire, to reflect on evidence and experience and to develop one’s expertise  A professional obligation to self-monitor and to review the effectiveness of one’s practice in the interests of clients, patients or students.

38 School of Education and Professional Studies Evidence should be used in: constructive problem talk (Robinson & Timperley, 2007) professional learning conversations (Earl & Timperley, 2009; Danielson, 2009) disciplined dialogue (MacBeath & Dempster, 2009) Call it what you will…

39 School of Education and Professional Studies What is Disciplined Dialogue? By this we mean: all-embracing professional conversations that are positively focused on the moral purpose of education. Disciplined Dialogue is not based on stereotype, hearsay or prejudice, but on reason and values, stimulated by helpful qualitative and quantitative data. From Swaffield and Dempster(2009)

40 School of Education and Professional Studies Dialogue should be ‘disciplined’ in at least two ways: 1.by a focus on data or evidence as the source for understanding student learning and achievement 2. by a professional (and personal) commitment to improve teaching and learning and the conditions which support them

41 School of Education and Professional Studies A professional discussion which: reinforces ‘moral purpose’ as the motivation for action focuses on learning, achievement and key contributing factors scaffolds analysis on qualitative and quantitative data seeks improvement strategies as the outcome The question now is: How is ‘Disciplined Dialogue’ conducted? DISCIPLINED DIALOGUE

42 School of Education and Professional Studies Practice Example 1. The Ecological Footprint of Household Pets (EASY) Household Pet Type Weight Kg Footprint SqM Yearly Cost $ Alsatian King Charles Spaniel Domestic Cat Guinea Pig Scraps Canary 50g The following numbers illustrate the Ecological Footprint for five pets:

43 School of Education and Professional Studies Disciplined Dialogue Questions 1.What do we see in these data? 2.Why are we seeing what we are? 3.What, if anything, should we be doing about it?

44 School of Education and Professional Studies What do we see in these data? When we address this question we should exhaust the data for as much descriptive detail as possible without jumping to explanations or conclusions. It takes discipline to do so.

45 School of Education and Professional Studies Why are we seeing what we are?  This question enables those who understand the context to bring their professional (and personal) judgment into play.  Multiple reasons are possible from the perspectives of those engaging in the discussion.  Some explanations are likely to be more influential and credible than others. Try two perspectives – (i) Ecological Warriors (ii) Pet Shop Owners

46 School of Education and Professional Studies What, if anything, should we be doing about this? This question links discussion to moral purpose. It acts as the motivation for decisions about what to do or not to do. Priorities for action will be raised and discussed. Professional judgment again is essential.

47 School of Education and Professional Studies Practice Example 2. (HARDER) Secondary teachers’ views on the literacy demands of subject teaching The frequency data provided were gathered in a government secondary school from teachers across years 8 to 12 (N=100). No subject specific breakdown are shown, only aggregated data are presented. Cashen and Dempster (2012)

48 School of Education and Professional Studies Practice Example 3. (HARDER AGAIN)  This example shows the reading level of each student in three Year Nine classes plotted against the number of weeks they have been at the school.  The test was administered in the 40th school week.  Transience is clearly a significant problem in the school. (from Timperley & Wisman, 2003)

49 School of Education and Professional Studies Teacher/ Week To tal Teacher A Below Level At Level Above Level Teacher B Below Level At Level Above Level Teacher C Below Level At Level Above Level Year Nine Reading Teacher A: 14 up to 20 weeks (14/25) Teacher B: 18 up to 20 weeks (18/31) Teacher C: 13 up to 20 weeks (13/25)

50 Practice Example 4. (EASY) A narrative from a colleague teaching physically disabled young people in the Czechoslovakia of Iron Curtain days. I have been teaching physically disabled students for thirty years and I find that the smallest gain in skill by these children is highly motivating for the teachers and really satisfying for the children. In my school, we create a patient environment and we focus on small achievements. We accept that children and young people will need repeated attempts. They will experience repeated failure accompanied by rising frustration. So will the teachers. We practice showing patience and giving support and encouragement to persist and at all times with good humour. Laughter accompanies what we do and no-one thinks of giving up. We think the smallest of gains is a great cause for celebration. For example when we are teaching those severely physically disabled to feed themselves, we applaud them ‘loud and long’ for getting a hand even close to the object spoon. Lifting it off the table warrants ‘high fives’ all round and getting it to the mouth, even empty, we see as a Gold Medal result worth three cheers for everybody!!

51 School of Education and Professional Studies 1.What do we hear in this narrative about the conditions of learning? 2.Why do they do what they do? 3.What, if anything, should they do about their practices? (What is happening in our school?) Why do we do what we do? (What if anything should we do about our practices?)

52 School of Education and Professional Studies What is the Role of School Leaders in Hosting Disciplined Dialogue or Professional Conversations?  Being actively involved in professional conversations  Building trust and rapport – moving from ‘safe’ spaces to ‘risky’ places  Fostering Shared Leadership and Communities of Practice  Respecting teacher judgment  Creating an ‘Inquiry Habit of Mind’  Knowing the sources of evidence to support learning Earl & Timperley (2009) Danielson (2009)

53 School of Education and Professional Studies

54 Sources of qualitative and quantitative evidence 1. The school’s moral purpose and directions 2. Children’s learning and achievement 3. Teachers’ and leaders’ Professional Development 4. Curriculum coordination and the monitoring of teaching and learning 5. Connections with Parents and the wider community 6. The conditions for learning –social, emotional, physical 7. Shared leadership arrangements and practices

55 School of Education and Professional Studies Disciplined Dialogue Outcomes What happens when evidence-based professional conversations are the norm?

56 School of Education and Professional Studies A focus on evidence-based professional conversations:  Creates research-mindedness  Reconnects leaders with core business  Grounds professional practice in evidence  Reinstates the significance of professional judgment  Makes ‘weak early signals’ readily apparent  Encourages teacher ‘buy in’ to changed strategies  Justifies feelings of satisfaction or otherwise

57 School of Education and Professional Studies To sum up… Overall, when leaders host evidence- based professional conversations, the professional knowledge and practice of teachers is supported validated and enhanced.

58 School of Education and Professional Studies References Danielson, C. (2009) Talk about Teaching: Leading Professional Conversations, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA. Dempster, N. (2009) Leadership for Learning: A Framework Synthesising Recent Research, Edventures, Paper 13, Australian College of Educators, Canberra. Earl, L. & Timperley, H. (2009) Professional Learning Conversations, Springer, The Netherlands. Swaffield, S. & Dempster, N. (2009) Scaffolding Dialogue in MacBeath, J. & Dempster, N. [Eds] Connecting Leadership and Learning: Principles for Practice, Routledge, London.

59 School of Education and Professional Studies Outstanding Leadership for Learning:  rests on an understanding that it is only through improved teaching and learning that student performance is enhanced over time.  requires leaders’ never-ending attention to each of the domains in the Leadership for Learning Framework

60 School of Education and Professional Studies Follow-up Tasks Optional 1.Undertaking a review of the Personal Leadership Profile report (with colleagues or a Regional Leadership Consultant) 2.Conducting ‘disciplined dialogue’ with members of staff based on the Blue Print school assessment instrument Expected 3.Leading a Cadre of staff members in a series of activities to develop greater understanding of the literacy demands of assessment tasks (the details for which will be provided in Module 2)

61 School of Education and Professional Studies CLOSURE This action research project is about improving students’ literacy. It rests on: 1.a Leadership for Literacy Learning Blue Print for Principals who adopt a commitment to disciplined dialogue using strong qualitative and quantitative evidence to support deliberate action in research-verified leadership domains or priority areas; 2.Four professional development stimulus modules to promote leadership, assessment and literacy knowledge, thinking and improvement action; and 3.A commitment to in-school shared leadership activity on nominated tasks designed to connect verifiable research findings to practice.

62 Addendum: An Example on Moral Purpose Teachers’ Views about working in a low SES school environment  Staff members were asked to respond to 10 items using a four point Likert Scale (see the next two slides) From MacBeath and Mortimore (2001) School of Education and Professional Studies

63 ITEMAgreeDisagree Positives 1. I feel that working in this low SES school is a positive challenge for me 40%60% 4. I believe I can motivate my students to want to learn no matter their backgrounds 25%75% 6. My teaching can raise the standard of achievement of low SES children at this school 25%75% 7. I can influence parents to play a positive role in their children’s learning at this school 10%90% 9. I really get a kick when my students improve in any way at all40%60%

64 School of Education and Professional Studies NegativesAgreeDisagree 2. My work will make little difference to the children I teach here60%40% 3. The Low SES environment here has an overpowering influence on children 90%10% 5. Parents are unlikely to be able to help their children in the way I would like 90%10% 8. There are few satisfactions for me working in this kind of school60%40% 10. There is no way here of motivating children to behave themselves all day 75%25%


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