Distinction between education leadership and learning leadership

Educational leadership is a term often interchangeably used with school leadership. School leaders are in a position to make an important difference in learners’ outcomes by creating the right conditions and environment for teachers to improve classroom practices and learners’ learning. School leadership today must combine the traditional school leadership duties such as teacher evaluation, budgeting, scheduling and facilities maintenance with strong involvement in specific aspects that affect teaching and learning. Research evidence shows that school leaders can only have an impact on learners’ outcomes if they have enough autonomy and support to make important decisions. Also, it demonstrates that school leaders positively influence the teaching and learning processes when their major leadership responsibilities are well-defined and are focused on teaching and learning. The following are found to be the core school leadership responsibilities for improving learning outcomes: (1) supporting, evaluating and developing teacher quality, (2) goal setting, assessment and accountability, (3) strategic, financial and human resource management, and (4) collaborating with other schools. Furthermore, research has shown that leadership which is intensely engaged in curricular and instructional issues has direct bearing on learner achievement. Leaders for learning are those who prioritize teaching and learning, promote a culture of constant learning, use evidence or data on learner achievement to make decisions and set priorities. These leaders are continuously and consistently focused on learning involving learner support, teaching, teacher support, curriculum, learning materials, assessment, feedback and improvement. It is suggested that learning leadership should be nurtured at different levels of the education system, and not only at the level of school and educational and training programme, and that the leadership at these different levels should be aligned so as to make better impact on learning outcomes.

Source: Pont, Beatriz et al. 2008. Improving school leadership volume 1 : policy and practice. Paris: OECD; US Department of Education, 2005. Reading First. Washington DC.

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