Learning for Leadership (LFL) is quite difficult to define. Throughout my reading of the article Leadership for Learning (Swaffield & MacBeath, 2009) there were several quotes that helped me to define what this concept is. It involves dialogue, a focus on learning, attending to the conditions that favour learningand that leadership is both shared and accountable. But what does that mean?
In an educational setting, leadership is needed to promote learning. Learnng should be the prime concern of those in leadership. It should set the agenda for leadership. (Swaffield & MacBeath, 2009)
In regards to the term instructional leadership, if we believe that knowledge is transmitted or delivered from teacher to pupil, then LfL is about the head teacher ensuring that the head teacher ensuring the pupil learns what the teacher teaches. This is measured by testing and maybe aard incentives and rewards for what is deemed successful teaching. The focus is on the outcomes rather than the process.
The other articles available for reading this module go against this instructional leadership model. Starkey (2012) suggests that this direct instruction is a teaching strategy commonly associated with behaviourist learning theory. The suggestion is that this is becoming more redundant in the 21st Century learning and the digital age. A constructivist theory for LfL is more beneficial. I would argue that teachers are not simply as one dimensional as this. We combine both elements of behavioural and constructivist theories. If LfL is to truely reflect the changing nature of learning in the 21st century, surely reporting outcomes that teachers are required to report on should refelect this, Teachers do allow students to connect and collaborate with people beyond their physical environment. Teachers do have projects where students can learn from their experiences and teachers do have lessons where knowledge is delivered to students lecture style. If leadership wants to acknowledge this then the reporting outcomes need to be altered. Departments also need to reflect this in their standardised testing methods. No standardised testing that I know of tests for 21st century skills.
Teachers are encouraged by leadership to do more than instructional leadership. There is positive feedback from leaders, students and the community if they are creative in their teaching and embrace the skills of critical thinking, communication and creativity. This fosteres a love for learning by students.
Starkey, L. (2012). Teaching and learning in the digital age. New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from EBook Library.
Swaffield, S. & MacBeath, J. E. (2009). Leadership for learning. In J. E. MacBeath & N. Dempster (Eds.). Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32-52). London: Routledge. Retrieved from EBook Library.