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Leading learning communities

In an effective learning community, everyone feels a collective responsibility for students' learning. Mutual trust, respect, and support by leaders, teachers, and students are key elements of a successful community.

New Zealand articles and resources

Developing the person in the professional: building the capacity of teachers for improved student learning: the missing basket – personal learning

by Jan Robertson and Lesley Murrihy

This report provides examples from research of how some school leaders and researchers, in New Zealand and England, have developed successful holistic, professional learning programmes for teachers.

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The Current Work of New Zealand Teaching Principals

by Graham Collins

This paper provides a concise look at some of the major issues facing teaching principals in New Zealand schools.

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Other resources

Learning is the work

by Michael Fullan

Learning is the Work is a powerful article by Michael Fullan on the benefits of collaborative work in and between schools. It is also about well-led teams of teachers working to build individual and collective capacity to raise student achievement. It is a useful article for those building understanding about effective collaborative practices.

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How do principals really improve schools?

by Rick Dufour and Mike Mattos

This article from Educational Leadership is set in a US context, but it has relevance for New Zealand schools who wish to establish professional learning communities (PLCs).

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Leading Learning and Teaching Primary Schools

by Geoff Southworth

In this article, Geoff Southworth draws on research findings, inspection evidence, and first-hand experience to describe four strands that, woven together, seem to form the thread of leadership and leading "learning and teaching" schools.

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Got a Minute? Can Instructional Leadership Exist Despite the Reactive Nature of the Principalship?

by Sheryl Boris-Schacter

This article is an account of the author’s decision to take leave from her academic position to fill an interim position as a primary school principal for a whole school year. Her focus was on the extent to which principals can find a way to balance the administrative side of managing a school, and also provide pedagogical leadership in order to improve teaching and learning.

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Culture shift doesn’t occur overnight

by Rick DuFour

In this commentary, Rick DuFour examines an area currently under close scrutiny in New Zealand: the impact that teacher practices have on student learning. He asks, “What happens in our schools when, despite our best efforts in the classroom, a student does not learn?”

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Building Trusting Relationships for School Improvement: Implications for Principals and Teachers

by Cori Brewster and Jennifer Railsback

This article provides a review of the key research on the importance of building trusting relationships. Building trust between educators within a school has been identified as an important factor in developing effective schools and improving outcomes for students.

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Best Practice: A Technocrat’s Dream!

by Dean Fink

This article looks at creating school leaders. The author argues that lists for “best practice” to measure school leaders against does not equate to successful leadership. The only kind of practice that principals need to concern themselves with is the kind that contributes to and enhances students learning.

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The Learning-centered principal

by Richard DuFour

In this article, Richard DuFour argues that the notion of the “instructional leader” is a flawed one. Using his own past experiences as an instructional leader - a principal who focuses particularly on teaching and curriculum — he shows that the initial approaches he used in this role focused on the wrong kinds of questions.

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What Do Teachers Bring to Leadership?

by Gordon A. Donaldson Jr.

This article looks at relationships and the development of teacher leaders. It moves away from the concentration on ‘official leadership’ structures within a school, to look at the ways in which effective teachers contribute to the development of a professional culture that influences the practice of others who work with them.

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The flywheel effect: educators gain momentum from a model for continuous improvement

by Timothy Kanold

This article describes a successful high school in the USA, and poses questions about ways in which already successful schools can continue to improve their outcomes for students.

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Teachers as learners

by Louise Stoll, Jan McKay and David Kember, and M. Cochrane-Smith and S. Lytle

This is a set of summaries, and links to three classic articles on teacher learning by Louise Stoll, 1999; Jan McKay and David Kember, 1997; and M. Cochrane-Smith and S. Lytle, 1999. Ideas from the summaries could be used as possible starting points for discussion, and it also suggests how these ideas might impact on school professional development programmes.

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Teacher leaders and reflective practitioners: building the capacity of schools to improve by promoting research and reflection

by Despina Pavlou

In this article, secondary school principal Despina Pavlou presents the story of her own school, which uses action research to create a self-reflective culture to nurture school improvement.

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Seven Practices for Effective Learning

by Jay McTighe and Ken O’Connor

This article considers assessment practices that improve both teaching and learning and provides descriptions and examples of summative, diagnostic, and formative assessment.

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Leading Under Pressure: Leadership for Social Inclusion

by Daniel Muijs, Mel Ainscow, Alan Dyson, Carlo Raffo, Sue Goldrick, Kristin Kerr, Clare Lennie, and Susie Miles

This article looks at ways to improve educational attainment for all students through the removal of barriers to engagement and achievement. It examines the types of school leadership that might assist in improving social inclusion for young people and their families. There is a useful discussion about what is meant by social inclusion.

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Leading Learning: Creating High-Achieving Learning Environments

by Robyn Collins

This article identifies factors that lead to greater success in terms of students' learning in all schools, which includes the development of school-wide learning communities.

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How friends can be critical as schools make essential changes

by Kathleen Cushman

This classic article uses a case study approach to explore the efficacy of critical friendship groups (within schools and between schools) as a professional development approach, in particular where school change is a focus.

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Supporting Pioneering Leaders as Communities of Practice: How to Rapidly Develop New Leaders in Great Numbers

by Margaret Wheatley

In this article Margaret Wheatley laments the current ways that most institutions are leading and suggests alternative ways of constructing the notion of leadership that will appeal to a new generation of 'leadership pioneers'.

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Balanced leadership: what 30 years of research tells us about the effect of leadership on student achievement

by Tim Waters, Robert J. Marzano, and Brian McNulty

This paper provides a review and quantitative analysis of 30 years of research into the impact of leadership on schooling.

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What headteachers need to know about teaching and learning

by Peter Hill

This article considers what heads need to know about teaching and learning to be effective educational leaders. The discussion examines three key leadership roles: leading and managing change, motivating and managing people, and designing and aligning systems, processes, and resources.

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Professional learning communities writ large

by Michael Fullan

This article emphasises the need to look further than the community of a single school if there is interest in an educational infrastructure that will build capacity over a long period.

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