7. Developing tools together

Another key success strategy to accelerate learning at Mangere Central School has been the teachers developing a wide range of tools* together to support their work. They also source professional readings and make them relevant.  Says middle leader Lisa Reid:

It’s the thinking behind the tools that matter – we read research together, critically discuss it in view of our school context and then we change the tools as our thinking changes – it’s important to go through that process.

The tools are based on the best of research evidence from thinkers like Neil Mahoney, Helen Timperley, Brian Annan, Mei Lai,  John Hattie, Jan Robertson and Viviane Robinson. Leaders have developed and adapted the tools, using the theory-in-practice gained from critical reflection on their use. Year 5/6 team leader Angela Pilkington explains:

The tools are always in draft form. There is no end point – they are always in development.

Leaders of learning at the school have developed a sustainable model of professional learning that has led to owning, understanding and engaging with leadership practices that support teachers to make a difference for students. They respond to the unique problems they face by using inquiry and problem solving in teams or with individual teachers, using research and evidence to help. Says Y7/8 team leader, Junior Pauka:

It’s all in the way that we talk, analysing conversations in team meetings, how we talk about kids. Putting teachers at the forefront now has given clear evidence of their adaptive expertise.  We have been capturing that practice and sharing it with others.

They also have much more clarity around achievement data and the specific teacher actions that have made a difference.

* While teachers are happy to share the tools, they know that the most powerful learning occurs in the design, redesign and co-design of the tools over the years of inquiry.

Reflective question

  • Using research and evidence, leaders at Mangere Central School created tools to observe each other’s "deliberate acts of leadership" which was key to developing their leadership practices.  What opportunities do your leaders have to be observed and receive feedback relevant to their leadership goals?

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