Unfortunately I missed the webinar last week led by Chris Wejr on Instructional Leadership. Although I missed the webinar, I was able to catch the twitter chat on Thursday evening and join a very rich conversation on the topic. Through the mass of tweets in a short hour, I was able to glean two significant takeaways:
Instructional Leadership is a Process not a Position:
I’ve been in enough schools to know that every building has a high level of expertise within the walls of the school, and more often than not, those with the highest instructional leadership capacity do not hold formal leadership positions. Our role as leaders(noun) need to not just build capacity, but empower our instructional experts to provide leadership(verb) to work with our staff. This is not about picking favourites and making them feel special, but it is about finding the expertise in all of our staff and growing that expertise throughout the staff, turning pockets of excellence to systems of excellence.
The topic of bringing in outside experts did come up in the conversation. I firmly believe that more often than not, there is more than enough expertise within the school community. But with that said, brining in the outside expert to offer a new perspective, common language, or motivation to change can be money well spent.
Leading and Learning by Example
A common theme throughout the Leadership 2.0 webinars, is the notion of leading by example. In the case of instructional leadership, I think it is also important that we learn by example. By this, I mean facing the reality that as leaders the instructional and assessment expectations our teachers face is rapidly evolving and possibly very different from the classrooms we left as we transitioned into formal leadership roles. This is a perfect opportunity for leaders to not necessarily have the answers, but willing to be part of the solution. We have the opportunity to learn alongside our staff improving our instructional and assessment practices together. This takes time; developing effective relationships and trust are huge. We need to make ourselves vulnerable with our practice to develop the reciprocal actions from our staff.