Can school leaders make a difference to student learning?
Of the many complex challenges that confront school leaders (including teacher leaders as well as principals), the challenge to achieve continuing improvement in student learning outcomes is the most important. How do school leaders go about meeting this crucial challenge successfully? Central to their approach, this paper asserts, is the concept of enabling learning.
In the process of arriving at this conclusion, the paper addresses several fundamental questions:
- What are the most important, highly valued and most powerful learning outcomes for students?
- What do students tell us about their experience of school, about the things that enhance or diminish their involvement in learning?
- What changes in teaching and learning approaches would enhance students' engagement in learning and help achieve the desired outcomes?
The paper argues that, amidst the complexity that constitutes school life, school leaders can enable learning through the maintenance of a powerful, coherent, consistent and structured learning focus.