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Leadership is a broad concept that has various definitions. Leadership can be defined as the act of influencing other people to work hard and willing to achieve the objectives and the goals of an organization. Through this definition, we realize that values, skills, and knowledge are critical for a school principal as a leader to inspire all the community leaders to work and strive together in achieving the school an excellent score and performance for all the students. Leadership can also be described as the act of getting the work done by other people. Hence, two critical aspects emerge from this definition.
The two elements include accomplishment and using individuals to influence others. Leadership can also be explained as the power given to an individual with the will of the followers. Hence, it is merely the authority given to a trusted individual, which translates to a transformational and moral power over the organization. In defining and putting leadership into practice, two aspects are considered indispensable. They include exercising influence and setting directions for an organization. However, each of these functions can be performed differently. These differences distinguish various models of leadership from each other. Leadership affects how the followers interpret events, the choice of objects by the organization, how work activities are organized to achieve specific objectives within the organization. It also entails the motivation of the followers and the maintenance of teamwork and cooperative relationships.
According to Cornett, Knackstedt and Deshler (2018), instructional leadership is described as the measures taken by a principal where he or she assigns to the other individuals to ensure that there is increased growth in student learning. It includes following the student performance, explaining the reason for schooling, coming up with diverse goals for the schools, and enhancing the provision of resources required for active learning, evaluating and supervising teachers, establishing collegial relationships amongst the teachers, and managing the staff development programs (Cornett, Knackstedt, & Deshler, 2018).
Characteristics of Instructional Leaders
Instructional leadership entails evaluation and supervision. It contributes very little to the success of an organization in cases where the leaders are not willing to observe teachers, provide advice and solution to problems and come up with sustainable solutions to the challenges faced in schools. Principals are mandated to speak clear vision, offer and promote strong educational growth, to improve learning and teaching. An instructional leader is known to be a talker and a listener. They collaborate with students and teachers. As a result, the collaboration between students and teachers provide a tranquil learning environment where improved educational performance can be achieved.
Organizing the Instructional Program
Usually, the completion of goal setting in a school is followed by the process of bringing goals into reality through staff allocation of duties, a grouping of students, and organizing the curriculum. It also involves collaborative planning that happens between the parents, instructional leader, and the students. For example, the decision to place a student in a specific class. The choice to place a student in a particular class involves principals, teachers, and parents.
Evaluation and Supervision
As an instructional leader, the most critical aspect of a principal is to evaluate and supervise teachers as they perform their duties. Unless leaders are able and willing to observe and monitor teachers, provide advice and solution to problems, and come up with pinpoint and formative evaluations that provide support and improve weak areas. Hence, supervisors should have informed knowledge about the instruction and curriculum to understand what to look for. The act of helping other individuals to believe in themselves is one of the critical duties of the leaders.
The classroom observations play a crucial role because they inform what is happening in the classrooms. An instructional leader is mandated to monitor and evaluate the performance of the teachers. During each visit, the instructional leader is supposed to meet with the teachers to discuss the observations in the school. This motivates the teachers to express their opinions concerning the class activities and the observational information. Consequently, they provide teachers with alternative methods of teaching and techniques for explaining classroom events. They also recommend training programs and resources which can be used by teachers to improve their performance.
Protection of the Instructional Program and Time
Research by Barker (2018) indicates that 200 minutes on a typical school day are spent on maintenance or routine tasks. Also, the time spend between a teacher and a student on active cognitive matters may not exceed twenty minutes a period for the five periods a day. However, this estimate was very high. It is because spending one or one and a half an hour in a day engaged in a subject matter was enough for a day. Instructional leaders should, therefore, encourage teachers to use the instructional time to take attendance, distribute materials, or enter and leave the classroom.
The act of grouping practices, promoting a manageable class size, and the use of the instructional strategies determine how time is spent in a school. Therefore, instructional time and class achievement suffer when students are out of school, or they do not concentrate in class because of disciplinary issues within the school environment (Barker, 2018).
Creating a Conducive Learning Environment
Some of the factors that influence learning in a school include the values, beliefs, and attitudes that teachers, students, and administrators have concerning learning. Usually, when staff is committed to supporting essential benefits, the aspect of the school improvement changes from the future to the present and from an abstract to reality. Consequently, the learning climate is very critical for school success. It is defined by the attitudes and the viewpoints that are evident in the routine behavior and the institutional patterns which improve student performance. The approaches that students need to achieve success in school come from adults. Also, learning norms comes from the staff’s requirements of the students. Therefore, the instructional leaders should encourage the staff members and other adults in the school to cultivate the right attitude and values that ensure the proper learning atmosphere is created (Ivory, & Christman, 2019).
The primary role of the instructional leaders is to asses and revise the instructional programs evident within an organization. In the process of evaluating and supervising teachers, the whole application can be cross-checked for the objectives, success, and planning in achieving the goals and the specific problems and success in a school. In the end, the success of educational programs comes down to the success of the students. It is determined by whether the students attain the proposed objectives, understanding the failing areas, and the reasons for such failures. The smoother the problem is detected, the easier its immediate solutions can be sought in a school.
- Cornett, J., Knackstedt, K. M., & Deshler, D. D. (2018). Leading change to improve inclusive teaching and learning. Handbook of Leadership and Administration for Special Education.
- Barker, S. (2018). Student voice to improve instruction: Leading transformation of a school system.
- Ivory, G., & Christman, D. (Eds.). (2019). Technologies to lead schools: Key concepts to enhance student success. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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