The area of education is exciting because the research keeps getting stronger. It wasn't long ago it was common and forward thinking to say school principals should be instructional leaders. Over the years this idea has been pushed and administrators trained to become strong instructional leaders. Research started to show instructional leaders being successful in high-performing districts, and at the same time showed no success using instructional leaders in low-performing districts (Gavoni, 2016). So what does this mean for students? What message does it send to school improvement experts? Maybe those working in low-performing schools should re-think strong instructional leaders compared to organizational leaders.
Several professional organizations are trying to change the narrow definition of instructional leaders to include the qualities of organizational leaders by broadening their role. Both Horing and Loeb are suggesting broadening the definition of Instructional Leadership to include Organizational Leadership (2010). Hiring and Loeb goes on to say
"A different view of instructional leadership emphasizes organizational management for instructional improvement rather than day-to-day teaching and learning" (2016, Pg 66).
It is clear that creating an organizational system of support within the school is necessary. Principals need to employ high-quality teachers, assign them correctly, retain, engage and offer opportunities for teachers to improve.
The research is suggesting more attention should be given to working with principals to develop organizational leadership over instructional leadership. It is evident instructional leadership is an asset however organizational leadership is essential for those working with low performing schools. Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom and Anderson are clear that
"leaders who strike a proper balance between stability and change emphasize two priorities in the direction they provide and the influence they exercise: they work to develop and support people to do their best, and they work to redesign their organizations to improve effectiveness" (2010, Pg 7).
So in conclusion, studies are showing organizational leaders are making an impact on student academic growth of staffing schools with highly effective teachers, supporting them with effective teaching and learning environments.
"Rather than by focusing too narrowly on their contributions to classroom instruction" (Horng, & Loeb, 2010 Pg 69).
Please consider the questions and suggestions and as always leave a comment. Informative feedback on this author's writing is always welcome. Ron
Gavoni, P. (2016, April 12). Instructional vs Organizational Leadership: Which is Best for
Schools? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/instructional-vs-organizational-leadership-which-best-schools
Gino, F., & Staats, B. (2015, November 19). Why Organizations Don't Learn. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/11/why-organizations-dont-learn
Horng, E., & Loeb, S. (2010, November 01). New Thinking about Instructional Leadership. Phi
Delta Kappan, 92(3), 66-69. doi:10.1177/003172171009200319
Louis, K., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K., & Anderson, S. (2010, July). Learning From
Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning. Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Pages/Investigating-the-Links-to-Improved-Student-Learning.aspx