Today's post builds onto that by seeking a closer examination of a, perhaps not so well understood, form of leadership--i.e., Instructional Leadership (Neumerski 2012, MISA 2018, 2019a, 2019b). Please note that the content of this post isn't being offered as a solution; rather, in consideration of current evidence and respect for local contexts, it is being shared to help generate conversation around leadership for improvement. Let's start with a few guiding questions:
- What does it mean to be an Instructional Leader?
- What are the characteristics of effective, Instructional Leadership?
- How is this form of leadership impacted by one's role? (E.g., as a teacher, an administrator or system support partner)
- How might leaders transfer this evidence as well as their own experiences to district- and school-level improvement in Mathematics?
Gathering as a focus group, three administrators offered to share their experiences in multiple ways over time--a) conversations, b) interview (emergent themes, see Fig. 1) and c) group conferencing (i.e., 'meet' them in the podcast, below). Leading towards a one-to-one interview with each administrator, several prompts were provided for reflection (as follows):
- What was your interest in attending OAME?
- What did you learn (alongside your team, if applicable) while at OAME?
- How might this influence the culture of teaching and learning math in your school?
- Do you have any tips to offer up regarding professional learning for Math Education?
- Are there any other thoughts, regarding the conference or professional learning in mathematics, you’d like to share?
What, at this time, seems notable are the larger themes (or Attributes, Fig. 2) that can be drawn from their responses--that is, by looking down each column of Fig. 1.
- How do these attributes correspond to what we currently know about the evolving role of instructional leaders? (see the links to literature reviews provided in the introduction)
- How well do these attributes, over time, correspond to improvements in students' motivation and achievement in Mathematics?
- How might the example constructed, from what these leaders have shared, evolve as a result of developmental evaluation? (based on generating and assessing practice-based evidence through cycles of inquiry)
- In relation to #3: What does internal accountability look like and how do monitoring practices become pedagogical for educators--both locally and systemically?
- In relation to #2 and #3: What professional learning is required to continue building and sustaining student motivation and achievement in Mathematics?
I am more than happy to collaborate with you and make our learning visible, here. If at any time, you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at Flipping the Focus.
Chris Stewart, OCT
Education Leader at Flipping the Focus