Skillful leadership


Early in my professional development career I spent a great deal of time talking with teachers about teaching. I enjoyed those conversations except when…

Teachers were angry, cynical, or otherwise emotionally unsuited to have such conversations. Without exception, those teachers were…

Poorly led. They were poorly led by principals or system administrators or union leaders. Or all three. Over time that led me to…

Focus my work on leaders, particularly principals and teacher leaders because their skillful leadership was essential to meaningful teacher professional learning, particularly the kind of professional learning that would benefit all students in all classrooms.

School leaders to a very large degree determine:

• The emotional tone of a school.

• Whether the school’s culture focuses on the continuous improvement of teaching and learning for all students or on maintaining the status quo.

• Whether teachers primarily work in isolation or benefit from strong, effective teamwork.

What is your experience? Is it possible to have continuous improvements in teaching and learning for all students without skillful leadership?

4 Responses to “Skillful leadership”

  1. 1 Paul Tufts November 18, 2015 at 7:47 am

    In my opinion, you are right on Dennis. Skillful leadership is key for teachers to truly grow – otherwise they are stifled, jump from from trend to trend and generally, lose their passion for their chosen career. Thanks for the post.

  2. 3 Laura Cooper (@lafcooper617) November 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    The leaders are essential in setting the tone, creating the focus, and developing a culture where all of the adults work together to improve teaching and learning. That being said, the big challenge is for leaders who have inherited a school with a weak or even angry professional culture to transform that culture and to focus on learning. This is where more of the work of school change should focus.

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