This presentation will describe the evolution of leadership learning where gathering and analysing digital evidence has become an explicit strategy. Informed by Earl and Timperley’s (2009) work on knowledge building cycles and Robinson’s (2011) construct of student-centred leadership, school-based leaders in a Canadian urban school district are using digital evidence to develop their instructional leadership practice.
In like-role groups, 42 principals, 45 assistant principals and 90 learning leaders have been investigating how leadership practices can improve teaching practices, student achievement and student intellectual engagement for elementary and secondary students. The key leadership learning outcomes include deepening leaders understanding about effective teaching and learning for knowledge-building environments and developing processes for providing teachers with timely, specific and constructive feedback about teaching and learning. Aligned with Hattie’s (2012) view that, of all the influences on student learning, feedback is among the top-ranked, this is also the case for teacher learning. Teachers need feedback about the effects on each student; hence the view of assessment as teacher feedback, teachers as evaluators, and teacher colleagues and students as peers in the feedback equations. This feedback is informed by the view of teachers as designers of learning, as envisioned in Friesen’s (2009) Teaching Effectiveness Framework.
The knowledge-building cycle format has disrupted the typical “one-off” principal professional development sessions to create a practice of evidence-informed leadership learning. An explicit leadership learning strategy is for principals, assistant principals and learning leaders to bring evidence of their leadership practice, of teacher practice and of student learning. And, there is a focus on digital evidence as opposed to the typical reporting back of observations and conversations. Each of the leadership learning sessions ends with a homework assignment, and the next session begins with a review of digital homework artifacts and with knowledge-building reflection and discussion.
Many types of the digital evidence are analysed in the leadership learning sessions. Evidence from teachers includes task designs, assessment instruments or samples of student work to show evidence of learning. Evidence from students involves them articulating what they are learning and why they are learning it, as well as describing their work in relation to task and assessment criteria. Evidence from leaders includes classroom observations, responses from parents or conversations with students. As a result of digital evidence analysis, leaders are becoming very intentional about each classroom visit and conversation, with the explicit purpose of engaging with teachers about well-defined instructional practice and with students about their intellectual engagement.
The presentation will provide participants with several examples of the leadership learning sessions and examples of knowledge-building reflections of the leaders—as well opportunity to collaboratively reflect on samples of digital evidence collected.
Earl, L., & Timperley, H. (Eds.). (2009). Professional Learning Conversations: Challenges in Using Evidence for Improvement. Amsterdam: Springer Netherlands.
Friesen, S. (2009). What did you do in school today? Teaching Effectiveness: A Framework and. Rubric. Toronto: Canadian Education Association.
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers; Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.
Robinson, V. (2011). Student-centred leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
|Affiliation||Calgary Board of Education|