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School leaders matter for school success. Numerous studies spanning the past three
decades link high-quality leadership with positive school outcomes. Recognition of the
importance of school leadership has led to increased attention to recruiting and preparing
school leaders. Many new principal preparation and development programs emphasize
the role of principals as instructional leaders. This emphasis on instructional leadership
was driven in large part by the effective schools movement of the 1970s and 1980s and
has since been renewed because of increasing demands that school leaders be held
accountable for student performance (Hallinger 2005). However, while broad agreement
exists on the importance of instructional leadership, there are fewer consensuses on what
instructional leadership actually is. Some construe instructional leadership as
synonymous with classroom observations and direct teaching of students and teachers.
Informed by observations and interviews in hundreds of schools, we call for a different
view of instructional leadership, one that includes broader personnel practices and
resource allocation practices as central to instructional improvement.
Different ideas a different view of instructional leadership emphasizes organizational
management for instructional improvement rather than dayto-day teaching and learning.
On its face, this reconceptualization may appear to underestimate the importance of
classroom instruction. After all, isnt day-to-day teaching and learning at the heart of
good classroom instruction? Of course, it is. However, the quality of teaching in a school,
in many cases, can be affected only marginally by a principals involvement in the
classroom. School leaders can have a tremendous effect on student learning through the
teachers they hire, how they assign those teachers to classrooms, how they retain
teachers, and how they create opportunities for teachers to improve. Organizational
management for instructional improvement means staffing a school with high-quality
teachers and providing them the appropriate supports and resources to be successful in
the classroom.




There are many definitions of Instructional Leadership. Two views Southworth turns to
two USA reviews for their perspectives on the nature and focus of instructional
leadership. Leithwood, Jantzi and Steinbach (1999) identify instructional leadership as
that which assumes that the critical focus for attention by leaders is the behaviour of
teachers as they engage in activities directly affecting the growth of students. They
further identify two variants: the narrow, which restricts its focus to teacher behaviours
which enhance pupil learning and the broader type which focuses additionally on other
organisational variables such as school culture which the leadership believes influences
teacher behaviour. Leithwood and his colleagues also note that principals alone cannot
fulfil all of a schools needs for instructional leadership.
Whereas Hallinger and Heck (1997) identify the impact of leadership, both in terms of
category includes of:
Defining school mission;
Managing the instructional programme;
Promoting the school climate and in terms of mode of impact:
mediated; and
They conclude that a primary avenue of influence lies in the shaping of the schools
direction through vision, mission and goals, and suggest that the broader approach is
more effective because it encompasses the indirect as well as the direct impacts, and is
also more likely to encourage others to share the responsibilities of instructional
leadership (the narrower approach tends conversely to foster the notion of heroic
One major emphasis in the educational arena in the early 21st century has been the
continuing demand for greater accountability to increase student performance. National
and state expectations require schools to ensure that all students achieve mastery of
curriculum objectives, and local schools focus on implementing those requirements to the


best of their ability. As a result, leading instructional efforts in a school has evolved into a
primary role for school principals.
In order to meet the challenges associated with national and state expectations, principals
must focus on teaching and learning especially in terms of measurable student progress,
to a greater degree than heretofore. Consequently, today's principals concentrate on
building a vision for their schools, sharing leadership with teachers, and influencing
schools to operate as learning communities. Accomplishing these essential school
improvement efforts requires gathering and assessing data to determine needs, and
monitoring instruction and curriculum to determine if the identified needs are addressed.

Building and Sustaining a School Visiopractice

A successful principal must have a clear vision that shows how all components of
a school will operate at some point in the future. Having a clear image of their
schools helps principals avoid becoming consumed by the administrative
requirements of their jobs. In fact, principals may need two types of vision: one
vision of their schools and the roles they play in those schools, and another vision
of how the change process will proceed.

Clearly, multiple role expectations exist for school leaders. All schools need
principals to exercise their roles as instructional leaders who ensure the quality of
instruction. Thus, there is a need to spend time in classrooms observing the
process of teaching and learning while also balancing other needs such as student
safety and parent relationships.
Fulfilling these multiple responsibilities well requires principals to possess an
inner compass that consistently points them toward the future interests of the
school, never losing sight of their schools' visions, missions, and goals.
Successful principals understand that it is important to establish clear learning
goals and garner schoolwide and even community wide commitment to these

goals. The development of a clear vision and goals for learning is emphasized by
principals of high-achieving schools. They hold high expectations that teachers
and students will meet these goals and hold themselves accountable for the
success of the school. These principals provide emotional support for teachers and
are viewed as possessing the ability to foster positive interpersonal relationships.
They protect instructional time by limiting loudspeaker announcements and
scheduling building maintenance to minimize disruptions. They ensure that
student progress is monitored through the continual aggregation and
disaggregation of student performance data that are directly related to the school's
mission and goals. Principals of high-achieving schools are confident that they
will accomplish their vision and goals despite challenges and setbacks and, thus,
serve as role models for staff and students.

Sharing Leadership
Guiding a school staff to reach a common vision requires intensive and sustained
collaboration. After all, it is the expertise of teachers upon which any quality
educational system is built. Wise principals know that going it alone makes
meeting instructional goals virtually impossible. A key responsibility of school
leaders is to sustain learning, and this can best be accomplished through leading
learning endeavors that are focused on long-term outcomes rather than short-term
returns. Additionally, distributing leadership throughout a school and providing
for leadership succession are indispensable to a school's success.


Leading a Learning Community

The principals must become role models for learning while continually (or at least
regularly) seeking tools and ideas that foster school improvement. Simply put,
schooling is organized around two key functions:
Teaching and learning; and
Organizing for teaching and learning.
Thus, it seems clear that school principals need to manage the structures and
processes of their schools around instruction.



Using Data to Make Instructional Decisions

Data sources inform and guide action, or at least they should. Without meaningful
data it is impossible to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of school initiatives.
Effective principals skillfully gather information that determines how well a
school organization is meeting goals and use that information to refine strategies
designed to meet or extend the goals. Thus, they find themselves in a constant
state of analysis, reflection, and refinement. They challenge their staff to
reexamine assumptions about their work and how it can be performed. Beyond the
ability to successfully gather and analyze school data, principals need to possess
basic skills for using these data for setting directions, developing people, and
reinventing the organization. The use of appropriate data helps to maintain a
consistent focus on improving teaching and learning, and, consequently, effective
principals accept no excuses for lack of success to improve student learning.
Many proponents of school improvement stress the importance of data-driven
decision making. Today, school districts collect demographic, achievement,
instructional, and perceptual data in an effort to improve teaching and learning.
For example, information is gathered to diagnose student learning and to prescribe
interventions that will best support students in need (Education Commission of the
States, 2002). At the building level it is vital that principals employ data-gathering
processes to determine staff and student needs.
The demands that accompany high-stakes testing compel principals to guide their
schools to learn from their results and experiences. Doing so will lead to
coherence within a school and offer better opportunities to sustain results.
Additionally, continuous improvement requires principals to examine data and
find means to address inconsistencies with expected results (Fullan, 2005).
Useful and properly mined data can inform staff about the gaps between desired
outcomes and the reality of the results. Furthermore, this knowledge should result


in changes in practice. Encouraging staff to collect, analyze, and determine

appropriate actions based upon the results should be a collective enterprise. When
staff members assume an active role in the data analysis process, it promotes
solutions and actions for improving results (Zmuda et al., 2004), and facilitating
the active involvement of all staff in information gathering and analysis is the
prerogative of the principal.

Monitoring Curriculum and Instruction

There are good reasons to focus on school leadership. The importance of the
principal's role has never been greater, taking into consideration national
accountability standards for schools and the likelihood that principal job vacancies
will increase in the near future. Not only do effective principals focus attention on
curriculum and teaching, they also understand teaching and possess credibility in
the eyes of their staff (Mazzeo, 2003).
Schmoker (2006) suggested that too often school cultures discourage close
scrutiny of instruction. He says that effective leaders can raise the level of
importance by looking for evidence that curriculum standards are taught through
the review of formative assessments, grade books, team lesson logs, and student

Principals support instructional activities and programs by modeling expected

behaviors, participating in staff development (as noted earlier), and consistently
prioritizing instructional concerns on a day-to-day basis. They strive to protect
instructional time by removing issues that would detract teachers from their
instructional responsibilities. Moreover, principals in effective schools are
involved in instruction and work to provide resources that keep teachers focused
on student achievement. They are knowledgeable about curriculum and instruction


and promote teacher reflection about instruction and its effect on student

Blase and Blases Handbook of Instructional Leadership definite that, how really good
principals promote teaching and learning (1998) is summarised separately as part of the
resources presented to the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). In his paper,
Southworth highlights their finding that instructional leaders value a blend of supervision,
staff development and curriculum development. Within their institutions, the promotion
of teachers professional development was seen to be the most influential practice.
Southworth notes that, as with the other two studies he describes, Blase and Blase favour
a broader approach to instructional leadership.

In his research, first, he outlines Blase and Blases analysis of


USA teachers

accounts of their own principals positive and negative characteristics, and their views of
how those characteristics affected their performance as teachers. From this, emerged
three aspects of effective instructional leadership:
Talking with teachers;
Promoting teachers professional growth; and
Fostering teacher reflection.
These were tied to headteachers behaviour in terms of:
Being visible;
Praising results; and
Extending autonomy.
At the heart of all this is the matter of interaction, with good instructional leaders
realising that most teachers expand their teaching range only with carefully designed
support and assistance (Blase and Blase, 1998). That vital interaction was seen to
demand a range of expertise from the principal, from classroom observation and data
gathering, to awareness of the teachers stage of development, and reflective
communication skills. The Blases note that developing evidence-informed approaches to

leadership, management and school improvement requires concomitant developments in

leaders skills in handling data, colleagues and teaching and learning. They also note that
such leadership needs to be designed as part of the schools organisational structures and
processes for the school to become a learning community. Southworths own study drew
on the experience of the headteacher, two teachers and one governor in each of 10
relatively small primary schools in England. He found a high level of consensus about six
ingredients of school leadership and they are about working hard, determination and
resolution to secure the best for the school, and an intolerance for poor teaching.
Both studies (Blase and Blase, and Southworths own) show a high degree of
consistency, and both feature prominently the process of professional dialogue.
Southworth argues, however, that the empirical base is low, and many more studies of
instructional leadership are needed. He concludes with reflections on how instructional
leadership is developed, the organisational conditions for instructional leadership and
how school leaders should be used to promote learning organisations outside the world of
education. One implication of this is that headteacher appointments should be on the
basis of confidence that the candidate is committed to continuous, reflective learning in
their work is a course of study so they need to be good students. He argues that new
heads are likely to benefit more from opportunities to discuss and learn from their own
work than from courses with new content. More thought needs to be given to the
development of deputy heads, whose opportunities to learn from doing the job of head
in their current school may be restricted. Understanding the curriculum, pedagogy,
student and adult learning Instructional leadership demands credibility and empathy with
teachers. Too often, headteachers have to rely on out-of-date or assumed knowledge of
teaching and learning, while the training offered to them has been on other management
tasks (budget, human resources, marketing, etc). The demand of our knowledge society
is for learning organisations, thus instructional leadership needs high levels of knowledge
and understanding of curricula, pedagogy, student and adult learning. This represents a
major challenge for NCSL. Organisational conditions Southworth is convinced that

learning schools must facilitate teachers pedagogic growth, since the development of
their teaching skills and repertoires seem to me to be the major content area. The
curriculum of learning schools should be pedagogy. He also finds a correlation between
instructional leadership and certain organisational conditions associated with learning
communities. The conditions which leaders might benefit from monitoring are identified
as a teacher-culture of collaboration, in which formal and informal professional dialogue
is the norm, including challenge and debate, enquiry into pupils perspectives on their
own learning.
Thus the school becomes a teaching and learning school, with the most hospitable
environment for the exercise of instructional leadership because professional cultures
characterised by openness, trust and security appear to be the ones where teachers feel
confident to become learners. Southworth closes by reflecting that, in a world where
more and more enterprises are interested in developing themselves as learning
organisations, it is time for school leaders to present themselves as leaders of teachers
par excellence.
Another review is on a case study by Daniel O. Poirer in 2009 about A Principals and
Teachers Perceptions and Understandings of Instructional Leadership. The main
question of this research was about the differences that might exist between a principals
and teachers perceptions and understandings of instructional leadership and supervision
within a school. The significance of the study was that it helped to provide an explanation
of the existing role of instructional leadership and supervision within the context of a
school. The knowledge gained through describing the principals and teachers
perceptions and understandings of instructional leaders and supervision may allow the
principal to develop the role as instructional 4 leaders within the school. The information
of the study was collected from one principal and four teachers. The study described,
identified, and analyzed a principals and a staffs understandings and perceptions of the
role of instructional leadership and supervision. This is a qualitative research where it
builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants,

and conducts the study in a natural setting (Creswell, 1998, p.15). Creswell noted that
distinct methodological traditions included biographical life history, 41 phenomenology,
grounded theory study, ethnography, and case study. The case study was used as the
qualitative method.

The data collected from the principal were analyzed and coded into common patterns,
themes, generalizations, and categories. The same process was applied to the teachers
responses, with an additional comparison among the teachers responses to identify
similarities and differences in perceptions. Finally, the principals responses were
compared to the teachers responses to find the commonalities and differences in
perceptions as related to the patterns, themes, and research questions. The process was to
identify themes that are salient, characteristic features in a case. This process was
conducted manually and did not rely on a computer program to find the constructs,
patterns and themes.
The finding shows the teachers perceptions in Instructional Leadership. Four teachers
were stratified-randomly selected to be part of the study, Mrs. Indigo, Mrs. Orange, Mrs.
Violet and Mrs. Red. Three participants had taught for nearly 20 years and one had been
teaching for nearly 15 years. According to Tuckman (1994), stratified random sampling
allows the researcher to put parameter(s) on selecting the sample and in this case the
parameter was grade level. Two participants had taught in the primary grades (pre-K-3)
and two in the elementary grades (grades 4-6). All teachers had their Bachelor of
Education degrees and two teachers had secretarial diplomas. None of the participants
had any experience in administration.
The principals and teachers perceptions of instructional leadership and supervision
provided an understanding of the importance of the principals leadership role in the
school. The main focus for every participant was on receiving support needed for all
school members to be effective, and on the importance of the personal characteristics of


the principal. The principals instructional leadership was exhibited by his modeling a
love of learning and his focus on improving instruction, so all students could feel success,
despite their personal limitations.
Mr. Green felt the principals major function as instructional leader was to establish
school culture by working collaboratively and providing support for teachers, so they
could teach effectively. The teachers themselves valued the principal who supported
teachers personally and professionally, and who exhibited the necessary knowledge,
skills, and abilities to be effective. In addition, teachers believed the principal must be
compassionate, empathetic, and passionate about learning. Therefore, the principals
leadership provided the framework for the school to function positively. Further, both the
principal and teachers emphasized the importance of creating a positive and supportive
working environment, which focused on collaboration, collegiality, and professionalism.
The principals and teachers perceptions of supervision differed on whether the purpose
of supervision was evaluative or for teacher growth. The principal and two teachers did
perceive the purpose of supervision was for teacher growth. All teachers mentioned that
formal supervision was evaluative. Mr. Green used an informal approach to supervision
to reduce the evaluative and threatening aspect of supervision, creating a non-threatening
opportunity for teacher growth and teacher recognition.
In another study by Janet C. Quint, Theresa M. Akey, Shelley Rappaport and Cynthia J.
Willner (2007) on Instructional Leadership, Teaching Quality, and Student Achievement.
It conducted at 49 elementary schools in three districts, or sites include of the Austin,
Texas; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Region 10 within New York City. This is a qualitative
research, including interviews with high-level district officials for the study districts,
enabled researchers to gain a better understanding of the work. Further, case studies
involving daylong visits to eight schools across the three sites helped illuminate the
findings from close-ended surveys. The analysis uses multiple regression analysis to
ascertain the extent to which outcomes at each step of the theory of action are associated



with (that is, are statistically linked to) outcomes at the one or two preceding steps in the
Data from teacher surveys and classroom observations at individual schools were
aggregated so that, in all the regression analyses, the school is the unit of analysis.Since
the goal of the study is to examine the nature of the relationships between the steps in the
theory of action independent of other factors that may influence the outcomes, additional
measures that is the principals length of experience, the average experience of the
teachers at the school, and indicators for the three school districts in the study which are
included in every analysis in order to control for the effects of these factors.
The finding shows that the principals involvement in the professional development
environments at their schools include of:
Greater receipt of instruction-related professional development on the part of
principals and a greater value attached to that professional development are both
significantly and positively associated with the principals involvement in

professional development for their teachers.

Greater principal involvement in professional development for teachers is
significantly and positively associated with the frequency with which teachers
reported receiving professional development.

In conjunction with one another, these findings suggest that delivering instruction related
professional development to principals may be an effective first step toward increasing
opportunities for professional development offered to teachers at their schools. Principals
who reported receiving more instruction-related professional development and valuing it
more were more likely to organize formal professional development for their teachers and
otherwise to engage with their teachers in instructional improvement efforts. In schools
where principals reported greater involvement in these activities, teachers also reported
receiving more professional development; while such concurrence is to be hoped for, it is
by no means assured.







One of the impacts of Instuctional Leadership on school is on the culture and support.
Both the teachers and the principal identified the importance of personal and professional
support that was necessary so that both could do their jobs effectively. An effective
principal, the priority as instructional leader must be to establish a positive school culture.
A principal affects school culture by having high expectations for all student
achievement; despite students limitations, they must all achieve success based on their
abilities. It is noted that if students were to be successful, teachers needed a positive
school environment, which would allow teachers to function properly. Therefore, a
positive culture created an environment conducive to learning, which was promoted by a
principal providing support. The teachers also identified support as a crucial component
for a principal to be an effective instructional leader, but also for teachers to do their job
The principal and teachers discussed the need for personal and professional support
through collaboration, flexibility, open communication, and awareness of all that is
happening in the school. The principal noted the value of having teachers feel good about
themselves and knowing that they were successful at their job. The teachers emphasized
that they played an important role in helping the principal to be an effective instructional
leader by supporting their principal through collaboration, cooperation, communication,
and professionalism. In terms of the school divisions role in supporting the principal, the
teachers did not really know what opportunities the school division provided in this
realm. On the other hand, the principal noted that the school division did provide support
through professional development for principals and teachers. For teachers, the main
focus of professional development was on curriculum.
The impact of instructional leadership on the school, the teachers focus was on the
personal and professional qualities of the principal, which permitted the principals to


work collaboratively with teachers. The principal emphasized the support needed from
division office so a principal could support his teachers. Overall, both perspectives
reinforced the development of teachers skills and abilities. However, participants
provided different approaches to achieve that goal.
One of the study found that in effective principal-teacher interaction about instruction,
processes such as inquiry, reflection, exploration, and experimentation result, the teachers
build repertoires of flexible alternatives rather than collecting rigid teaching procedures
and methods. The model of effective instructional leadership was derived directly from
the data; it consists of the two major themes: talking with teachers to promote reflection
and promoting professional growth. According to the data, effective principals valued
dialog that encouraged teachers to critically reflect on their learning and professional
practice. Principals made suggestions to teachers both during postobservation
conferences and informally, in day-to-day interactions. The effect of these behaviors was
to enhance teachers' reflective behavior (example using greater variety in teaching,
responding to student diversity, planning more carefully, and taking more risks).
Teachers reported positive effects on their motivation, satisfaction, self-esteem, efficacy,
sense of security, and feelings of support.
Talking with teachers to promote reflection and promoting professional growth are the
two major dimensions of effective instructional leadership, as reported by teachers.
Each of the instructional leadership strategies have strong ``enhancing effects'' on
teachers, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally. We also note that principals who are
defined as effective instructional leaders by teachers tended to use a wide range of the
strategies described in this article. These strategies were used frequently and seemed to
enhance one another.
Moreover, principals' leadership reflected a firm belief in teacher choice and discretion,
non-threatening and growth-oriented interaction, and sincere and authentic interest.
Teachers were not forced to teach in limited ways, nor were they criticized by their
instructional leaders. Put differently, our findings suggest that effective instructional


leadership should avoid restrictive and intimidating approaches to teachers, as well as

approaches that provoke little more than ``dog and pony shows'' based on a narrow
definition of teaching; administrative control must give way to the promotion of
collegiality among educators. Our findings, which expand the research that demonstrates
direct effects on teachers and classroom instruction, and which focus precisely on the
principal's work behavior and its effects, suggest that effective instructional leadership is
embedded in school culture; it is expected and routinely delivered. Their findings also
emphasize that effective instructional leadership integrates collaboration, peer coaching,
inquiry, collegial study groups, and reflective discussion.

Instructional leadership differs from that of a school administrator or manager in a
number of ways. Principals who pride themselves as administrators are too preoccupied
in dealing with strictly administrative duties compared to principals who are instructional
leaders. The latter role involves setting clear goals, allocating resources to instruction,
managing the curriculum, monitoring lesson plans, and evaluating teachers. In short,
instructional leadership are those actions that a principal takes, or delegates to others, to
promote growth in student learning. The instructional leader makes instructional quality
the top priority of the school and attempts to bring that vision to realisation. As
conclusion, instructional leadership was found to be crucial for optimum teaching and
learning, requiring training for all members of the school community. The teacher is the
instructional leader in the classroom with the full and knowledgeable support of the
Principal in a school which prioritises teaching and learning for all members through
mutual sharing and respect.


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