We at our school have brought in a more distributed leadership model, and I don’t think it’s different in many other schools to be honest, where middle leaders take a lot of responsibility to support the professional learning of teaching staff.
And so we have timetabled meetings for our middle leaders to meet with staff, to talk about the process and how the learning’s going for them, as well as having time to talk to other colleagues and teachers.
Our thoughts around that were that middle leaders would be able to help teachers inquire more rigorously, to learn more effectively. No, I mean that’s what the big push is always. How do we support that?
But we didn’t know if that was working.
So that leads us to the next part, or the next where we’re at, probably at the moment of, “Well what, what are the kinds of interactions for middle leaders with teachers in professional inquiry?“
That brings me to the research that I’ve just finished. It was looking at... OK, we made assumptions that distributing leadership of teaching inquiry was going to be really useful, really helpful – effect learning, support learning. So we put this system in place, but we didn’t really know what was happening.
So I thought it was a great opportunity to find out about that human side of the routine. How were we enacting the conversations that matter together – between leaders, and between teachers?
The new meaning for me that I took away from this in terms of leadership is that our job, if we are leading learning, is that we must create space no matter which teacher we are working with, whether they already know the answer or they don’t.
We need to create space with that teacher, to work with that teacher, to learn. So it is a conception of leadership which is around the leader learning alongside the teacher learning.
Where you don’t hold stuff back, where you share what you’re thinking and say, “Hey, I’m not sure about this. Let’s go and find more evidence to figure out what direction we should take.”
As a leader you’re not being strong, you’re not being weak either. You’re being made, you’re showing what you’re thinking. You’re making yourself a bit more more vulnerable. It’s what you’re expecting of your teachers. So making yourself more vulnerable in the pursuit of better evidence because the more robust that evidence is, the better practice decisions we will be making. And that’s what we all want, because that will make a difference for our students.
You’ve got a responsibility to be a leader. And that’s what you need to be in this school, a leader. And you need to be having conversations with your teams all the time whatever teams you’re in, whatever teams they are.
How are we going to make… How is the lot for every single student in this school going to be better for my having been here?