Leadership for 21st Century Learning

image of Leadership for 21st Century Learning

This is the latest of the influential series of OECD reports on Innovative Learning Environments. “Learning leadership” is fundamental because it is about setting direction, taking responsibility for putting learning at the centre and keeping it there. This becomes increasingly complex in 21st century settings, calling for innovation and going beyond the heroics of individual leaders. Many need to be involved, bringing in diverse partners at different levels.

This is all explored in this volume. It clarifies the concepts and the dimensions of learning leadership, relating it to extensive international research and identifying promising strategies to promote it. Specific examples are drawn from Austria, Australia, Canada, Israel, Norway, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. There is an extensive overview that addresses the “why, what, how, who, where, and when” of learning leadership. Among the international experts contributing to this volume are James Spillane, John MacBeath, Louise Stoll, and Clive Dimmock.

This report will prove to be a valuable resource for all those interested in schooling. It will be of particular interest to teachers and teacher educators, advisors and researchers, the voluntary sector and teacher associations, and, first and foremost, education leaders themselves.



The practice of leading and managing teaching in educational organisations

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

This chapter by James Spillane focuses on leading and managing teaching, described as “the core technology of schooling”. He argues that too many analyses dwell on “leading the schoolhouse rather than the core work of the schoolhouse” and as a result are only weakly related to learning, teaching and leading their improvement. The chapter begins with consideration of the nature of teaching. It discusses the diagnosis and design work of leadership as the practice of leading teaching. It then focuses on diagnostic and design work centred on the school’s organisational infrastructure: organisational routines; tools (e.g. classroom observation protocols); and formal positions, departments or sub-units (e.g. school subject departments and grade levels). The chapter focuses mostly on the school level, but it argues for a more comprehensive approach that goes beyond any one level of an education system to consider the multiple components and how (or not) they operate together.


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