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You can certainly hold an administrative position without exercising instructional leadership. An important and fascinating study of Florida principals found that leaders spent only about 10% of their time on instructional leadership work, such as classroom observations and PD. The more surprising finding: Spending more time on instruction did not correlate with higher student performance. To investigate this weak link between student learning and instructional leadership, a report commissioned by NAESP and NASSP, the two largest associations of US school administrators, looked beyond narrow definitions of instructional leadership and focused on the role leaders play in organizations.
Principals devoting significant time and energy to becoming instructional leaders in their schools are unlikely to see improvement unless they increase their capacity for organizational management as well. In other words, teaching isn’t the only thing that has to work right for a school to be effective. About Justin BaederJustin Baeder helps school administrators increase their productivity through the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Network. The higher people go up in any organization, the more people they serve, not the other way around.
But do you see this as simply “Twitter”, or do you see this as teaching literacy? It has been a great process so far, although I have only worked with the group one date personally. One part of the initiative is that educators in the program are asked to blog about something in their classroom or the program, to share their learning through the process, to the ITLL Project blog. The learning that has been shared in this space has not necessarily taught people to be creative, but unleashed their creativity. What could be an amazing project, would be a school doing this with their community where they focus on one question, or have students develop a question that is important to them and have them interview 50 (or 10, or 20, or 100, whatever).
Asking the same question to different people, over and over again, would not only be a great research project, but can teach us about others and help our students (and ourselves) become more empathetic.
Most people don’t even know this original video existed, and Anna Kendrick, a major celebrity who has been acting since she was a child , picked this up and shared it in a movie that makes over 180 millions dollars domestically. The importance is that they learned, and we have to recognize that there are opportunities now for learning that we couldn’t even imagine.
In the image created by my brother, Alec Couros, the power in today’s world is not just that we can consume, but we can share back. As someone who has blogged for the last six years, I have seen this space to not only share ideas, but to share my learning in progress, and sometimes even write to try and formulate my thoughts. Writing a book in 2015 was also a tremendous process, but I also know that it would have NEVER happened if it wasn’t for this space. What has also been a great opportunity is the unique learning spaces that others have created that I have never used until the book was published. We do not need to do everything and jump on every medium, but I do think we should always be open to these opportunities.
I have said this before, but if we only maintain what we have always done in a world that constantly moves ahead, we will only be left behind.
The responses were not all necessarily serious (you can read the majority of them under the original tweet), but many of them were.
I think a great activity that could be done with your staff or community is to ask this very question, and then discuss the answers, and how are you (or aren’t) making them come to reality. Group 2 that thinks we should totally start over again and school should look nothing like it does now. If we only try to “engage” students, will they become dependent upon us for their learning? Telling stories is crucial to this art form, but it needs to go beyond simply telling a story in the field of education. Watching some educator Ted Talks this morning, here were three things that stuck out to me.
About MeI am the Division Principal for Parkland School Division and an Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consultant. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts – and conversely, that only 20% of our results come from the other 80% of our efforts. It’s tempting to think that visiting every classroom for an equal amount of time and perfectly balancing our time conversing with each staff member is the right way to go. The Pareto Principle tells us we should identify the 80% of our efforts that have a low payoff, so we can shift more of our energies into high-impact work.
Steph is a master teacher who just finished teaching a workshop on the district’s curriculum to other teachers. Karen is a veteran teacher who has been struggling lately, but she knows how to put on a good show. Steve is a 3rd-year teacher who is making good progress but still has plenty of room to grow. In these three scenarios, time invested with each teacher has a different payoff, as predicted by the Pareto Principle.
On the other hand, time I spend giving feedback to Steph is going to have a marginal (if any) impact on her practice.
Time I spend in Karen’s classroom is going to have a disproportionately high impact, because it will allow me to address the potentially major problems that lie just beneath the surface.
Unfortunately, it’s tempting to do the exact opposite of what the Pareto Principle suggests. Kim Marshall reflects on this tendency in his must-read book Rethinking Teacher Supervision & Evaluation. I think you are right on target that talking with master teachers, consulting them on important matters, and helping them think about their growth as professionals is the best way to invest time in them. Then ask each of them to recommend one other person who they are close to (an influencer of as Rogers would say) and then invite those people to begin.
It has been almost one week since I spoke at #Edscape in New Jersey, and it was a tremendous honour to have that opportunity. But what was fantastic about the experience for me was, as it is always, the opportunity to learn from so many other educators, and to be able to spend time with Eric.
The first night I connected with Eric, he took me to a restaurant in the community near to the school and it was fantastic to see how close he was with people in his community. The focus on community continued as Eric took me to his school’s football game late on a Friday night.
As you go into Eric’s school, you see a VERY old facility (I think he told me it opened in 1929), that has a lot of desks and looks nothing like some of the innovative spaces that I have seen in my time. Unfortunately in education, we sometimes have to make some tough choices, but the best answer is always put time and money into people. The vision of the conference, created by Eric and his staff, was to start with where people are, but to push them to their next level. Thanks to Eric and his school community for putting on a great conference and leading by example!

I have actually asked students if they see their mobile device as a learning tool and they look at me stunned to even think that it is something that could be used in school.
To me, this is all about mindset as opposed to skill set. Once you are done learning as a teacher, you are done.
Assumptions about others in a negative light can often deter the work that we are doing with students. I also know that many educators still see technology as an add-on to the work that they already do. We have to really think about the idea of technology as an addition to the work that we do, and start thinking about technology making the work we do so much more powerful. I could, however, use a blog to have a student write once in their own space and then ask them to comment on five other blogs.
This sends the message to many people that you have to do everything that you have always done PLUS find a way to add technology. Teachers in my own district have started blogging, and I distinctly remember a first-year teacher blogging and sharing what she learned with her parents, students and community. Teachers have for years had to fill in a plethora of reports and forms which in essence are accountability papers. If we really took the time to think about what we do in our learning, which blogging often forces us to do, how could educators not get better? Personally, blogging has made me really think about what I do in my role as an administrator, and I would say that the process has really clarified a lot of my thinking. Time is limited, but is this how we want it to be remembered?  How do we make better use of our time? It is imperative that we move staff to the place that they are able to take ownership of their own learning.
Want innovation in the classroom?  Get people to focus on being open to new learning and create different experiences for them.  They are more likely to do the same for their students. One reason students phone in their school assignments – and only halfheartedly copy edit and research them – is that they’re keenly aware that there’s no “authentic audience.” Only the teacher is reading it.
If you started the year with asking questions to your students about how they learn, wouldn’t the year start off so much better for them? Kids should know the answers to these questions and it should help guide the way we teach them individually. Spending a lot of time with educators and focusing on their learning, I have noticed the impact of the principal, even when they are not in the room. Here is a reminder from my own past…I remember one of my principals, who was one of the most amazingly kind men I have ever met, sitting at a teacher conference day listening to the main presenter. I have no idea what the circumstances were that day for our principal, but what we saw from our leader is what we chose to emulate ourselves. If you have anything like this that you have done in your schools, I would really appreciate you sharing it in the comments below. Teens are increasingly sharing personal information on social media sites, a trend that is likely driven by the evolution of the platforms teens use as well as changing norms around sharing. I guess that push from schools teaching kids to be anonymous online hasn’t really been that effective. Maybe instead of continuously pretending kids are staying (or even care to stay)anonymous online, maybe we need to change the conversation and talk to them about being appropriate.
December 17, 2014 By adteaman 2 Comments While researching standards for my post on leadership, I discovered the tenets of leadership as defined by the state of Texas.
I know lots of teachers who feel very uneasy and threatened when an administrator comes into their room. Effective instructional leadership combines an understanding of the instructional needs of the school with an ability to target resources where they are needed, hire the best available teachers, provide teachers with the opportunities they need to improve, and keep the school running smoothly. Instructional leadership involves creating the conditions for instruction, not just directly supervising it. We forget what it was like to share that first blog post, or tweet, or even Facebook status. What have you tried in education, as a learner, that has given you anxiety in the last little while? The “traditional definition” is the ability to read and write, but you will see that definition is a little different according to some sources.
That being said, through the #WinnipegSDITLL hashtag as, well as being led by an awesome team within the Winnipeg School District, the learning shared has been great. This is a powerful way to share that their is a constant space for learning, and it is not focused only on our face-to-face time together, but shows the power of learning throughout. Everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a learner. As the leader of this program, I truly believe that if the group ONLY learns from me, they are missing out on a huge opportunity. What we can do is create the spaces where change is more likely to happen, and these platforms of open and continuous learning could make that impact. Learning is not a one way street, and the places we can learn from have grown exponentially. I can honestly say that this blog has been the most powerful space for my learning in my entire education career, as both student and educator. Because it was the first one that I saw and I wanted to prove a point that teaching goes way beyond curriculum objectives. That was absolutely amazing!”  I then ask them, what is something that they will try because of it, and often they look perplexed not being able to think of any ideas. It’s more a rule of thumb than a mathematical or sociological law, but the Pareto Principle is useful for thinking about how we spend our time with staff.
Time I spend with Steve has an average payoff, so I try to give him a fair share of my time. At best, we visit each classroom equally, but it’s more likely that we spend 80% of our time with teachers who are doing great, and only 20% in classrooms that desperately need our attention.
The first step is, as Marshall notes, to actually keep track of our classroom visits, so we can tell if we’re avoiding someone. But I challenge you to actually try it, and actually visit your struggling classrooms three times as much as your best classrooms. Yet, I wonder about the needs of our master teachers and worry we tend not to give them as much of our attention, precisely for the reasons you share. As I visit classes, and offer feedback, I’ll think about ways differentiating time may help me have a greater impact.
Leave everyone else alone until these two very small groups are making noticeable progress and can move forward on their own. Start with people where they are at, but help them get to their next level, wherever that may be.
Saying something and making a very generalized statement about education and the people involved in it. In reality, while they may have little fear in using digital technology, they don’t really know how to appropriately utilize those tools. The teachers who blog as professionals in this reflective manner in my district invite anyone to look into their classrooms and you can get a picture of what happens on a daily basis.

For the most part they are of no use to teachers and in most cases aren’t very valuable for administration either.
The fact that so many of us are writing — sharing our ideas, good and bad, for the world to see — has changed the way we think. Creating opportunities for individual staff to ask these questions and get personal attention, no matter who it comes from, can often accelerate growth a lot quicker for your entire organization.
In contrast, academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work – producing stuff with better organization and content, and nearly 40 per cent longer than when they write for just their instructor. In Point England, New Zealand – a low-income area with high illiteracy rates – the educators had long struggled to get students writing more than a few sentences.
If you watched the video, the camera used was probably lesss than $200, but, with the power of editing, was able to create something powerful. A typical teen’s MySpace profile from 2006 was quite different in form and function from the 2006 version of Facebook as well as the Facebook profiles that have become a hallmark of teenage life today. Intrigued, I decided to delve a bit deeper into each standard, and see how it truly relates to my role.
I worked for a principal who deflected hoop jumping, extraneous noise, and miscellaneous tasks like a champ. Giving people the opportunity to do it in a way where they get to experience themselves first in a safe space, and then seeing the value of learning from others, might be the best way to have them eventually create their own space, but even if they don’t, the opportunity to learn from these collaborative spaces has been extremely powerful.
Seeing this, I was blown away and immediately went home and googled where she learned this from. It made a tremendous difference in the process, yet the thinking was somewhat different in my mind.
The layout between the two has been different although the medium has been the same, and it has been not only cool to have discussions with readers of the book, but also the thoughtful use of the medium. What they believe kids will need in the future, can greatly depend on so many factors and biases. The discussion continues in this way for several minutes without an apparent direction, and students seem anxious.
I stop in to observe part of a lesson, then catch up with him later in the day to talk about how it went. My visits to her classroom are quick, and when we talk, I try to pick her brain rather than find some tiny thing she can improve on. Effective time with Steph and other master teachers would of course look different than time spent with struggling or new teachers. They won’t be ready until they see that the first folks are successful and satisfied. Simply, many kids were born in a world with iPads, YouTube, Facebook, and other things, but that does not mean they have any idea how to use them, and it especially does not mean they understand the power these different sites have for learning. We can model blogging for our students so they can write for a purpose and for an audience. So they set up blogs, had the students post there and, crucially, invited far-flung family and friends to comment.
For the five different types of personal information that we measured in both 2006 and 2012, each is significantly more likely to be shared by teen social media users on the profile they use most often. While these standards could establish what defines a leader on paper,  I want to apply them to campuses today. If you became a principal to get out of the classroom, you’ve made a serious mistake! I read a number of teacher blogs and love sharing the great ideas I see happen on my campus too.
We are seeing this process to be extremely valuable, but this blog has become that evidence.
I used to want every post to get tons of views, but I am more focused on sharing my learning than anything. In education, we work in a box and we can either do what we can within it, or ignore it and be in jeopardy of losing our livelihood. Questions such as why did you share what you chose to share, and how could an audience interpret your work? Do I stop and watch the whole lesson, which I know will be great, or hit another classroom and come back mid-lesson to engage with students? I have other classrooms to visit, but I get the sense that I need to see what’s behind the dog-and-pony show. And that is accelerating the creation of new ideas and the advancement of global knowledge. In all of these, the idea that administrators openly model their learning will only accelerate a culture of innovation and risk-taking. Knowing that refection is also a key component, there may be some twists and turns that jump out at me as I review each strand. It also shows them that you value the time you are spending in their rooms, and have a vested interest in their growth. Get them to subscribe to at least 5 other teachers in the district as well as 5 other great teachers from around the globe. Instead, I want to figure out how to make something so much better out of our realities than simply treating education as a checklist on how to get better test scores. This really surprised me at first, but then I heard Bruce Dixon speak and he said something that resonated. But once they started getting comments from Germany and New York, they snapped to attention.
If this means providing an opportunity for training, materials, etc…I do my very best. Have their principal and a few central office people to subscribe to the blog and 5 other teachers as well. Sometimes providing an appreciative ear as master teachers question, wonder, and explore their craft enables them to continue to grow and to thrive. And, usually, a volunteer approach, with lots of time spent with the volunteers, does the trick because as we embark on the change effort, a few volunteers drop out, and a few more drop in. When you see a need, you provide training, support, and the opportunity for each teacher to become the very best that they can be. I made sure I was wearing my best outfit, had my students perform on command, and did the very best, most creative lesson I had in my tool box. An added benefit is that the learning for me in the conversations helps me give more effective feedback to other teachers as I gain insight into teaching and learning.
My teachers are so used to seeing me in and out of their rooms, it doesn’t phase them.
Being in and out means I have a really good idea of their strengths and maybe can help identify areas they can grow.

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