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How Leadership Works

How Leadership Works
A Playbook for Instructional Leaders

Illustrations by Taryl Hansen

May 2022 | 200 pages | Corwin

Sharpen your instructional leadership skills and guide your school toward equity and excellence for all.

Just think about how great schools could be if every instructional leader exercised their influence to create change—maximizing the efforts of others and mobilizing those efforts to work toward a shared goal.

How Leadership Works: A Playbook for Instructional Leaders walks educators through the processes of clarifying, articulating, and actualizing instructional leadership goals with the aim of delivering on the promise of equity and excellence for all. Grounded in Visible Learning® research, the exercises in this easy-to-use playbook illuminate the essential mindframes necessary for effective instructional leadership and prompt veteran, new, and aspiring educators to identify challenges and determine next steps. It includes:

  • Ten essential mindframes for leaders, together with the leadership practices that illustrate each mindframe in action
  • Teaching practices, such as teacher clarity or student engagement in learning, that support teachers in delivering quality instruction, along with tools to document the impact of those practices on learning
  • Strategies for leading learning, including establishing school culture, utilizing feedback, and supporting professional learning communities as a pathway to building collective teacher efficacy.
  • Tools for applying the principles of change, conducting an initiative inventory, and implementing and de-implementing initiatives

Exercise-by-exercise, educators and front office staff will deepen their knowledge, frame their priorities and practices, and gain new tools for supporting the instructional focus and initiatives designed to support learning at your school.

Module 1: Mindframes for Leaders
The Work Ahead - Part 1: Leading Teachers
Module 2: Demonstrate Instructional Leadership
Module 3: Support Teacher Clarity and Promote Student Engagement
Module 4: Investigate the Impact of Teaching
The Work Ahead - Part 2: Leading Learning
Module 5: Build a Learning-focused School Climate
Module 6: Empower Professional Learning Communities
Module 7: Ensure Growth-oriented Feedback
The Work Ahead - Part 3: Leading Change
Module 8: Manage and Lead Change
Module 9: Engage in De-Implementation
Module 10: Utilize Implementation Science
The Work Ahead

You feel exhausted hearing all the roles of a leader: aspirers of high expectations and great ambitions, builders of collectives of learners and professional development, social influences among leaders and teachers, leaders of teaching and learning, those who apply principles of improvement, amplifiers of effective instruction, architects of productive and inviting climates, beacons of trust, supporters of clarity about purpose and instruction, chief engagement officers of teacher and student learners, evaluators of impact, accountability officers, leaders of improvement, implementation scientists, and great managers. The alternative is a school of independent contractors, where great teaching and leadership is by
chance. How Leadership Works makes a convincing case about how to bring all these roles to fruition and how to have time left over to enjoy the success of all in the school (as well as your own successes).

John Hattie
University of Melbourne

To enhance your skills as a teacher of teachers, How Leadership Works: A Playbook for Instructional Leaders invites you to be an engaged learner. If you are looking for a nightstand book to passively peruse before sleep, this is not the book for you. If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and invest in some serious reflection about your own leadership practices around a powerful set of ideas, then dig in! This book is organized around a set of modules that include learning intentions and success criteria, vignettes, research-based practices, and space for reflection on what you will keep, stop, or start doing with what you have learned. It includes a variety of learning tools that will not only support you in your learning but will become a valuable set of tools for you to use as you support the thinking and learning of the teachers you lead. In the end, the thinking and learning of your students will be blossom and grow.

Megan Tschannen-Moran
Professor of Educational Leadership, William & Mary School of Education

This publication is very timely. . . . As I read the book, I was able to visualize how I would use it to provide professional development for my leadership team. . . . The book called many of my actions into question, which has already reshaped my thinking as a leader. I would recommend this publication to school and district leaders.

Audrey White Gardner
Elementary Principal, Richland School District One

I found tremendous value in the suggested exercises throughout. They felt relevant to help me work through a leadership challenge, and determine the next right step, without taking an overwhelming amount of effort or time. The exercises would be beneficial for both novice and veteran leaders. This playbook helps leaders break down complicated scenarios into manageable next steps.

Jennifer Douglas
Principal, Voris CLC, Akron Public Schools

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ISBN: 9781071871058