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This module addresses leadership practices that produce improved teaching and learning by discussing three theories of leadership. These theories include:

  • Transformational Leadership Theory
  • Instructional Leadership Theory
  • Distributed Leadership Theory

Among the leadership practices for principals with the greatest impact are:

  • promoting and participating in teacher learning and development;
  • establishing goals and expectations; and
  • planning, coordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum.

This module uses case studies and videos of Ohio school leaders to discuss effective leadership practices.

This module aligns with all of the areas in Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework

Discussion Questions

  1. How might traditional leadership practices keep superintendents and central office administrators from distributing leadership to principals, BLTs, and TBTs? What are the first steps these administrators might take to change their practice in ways that broaden leadership expectations, responsibilities, and supports districtwide?

  2. How might principals, whose jobs tend to be very demanding, continually up-date their knowledge about the instructional practices that are most likely to be effective?

  3. Which of the evidence-based leadership practices that the module discusses would be easiest for you to implement? Why? Which would be the most difficult? Why? 

  4. What district-level actions are most essential for improving the capacity of principals to function as instructional leaders? What is the role of the superintendent in supporting principal capacity to lead instructional improvement? How does the central office need to function to support principals in this way?

  5. A great deal of research shows that using data well contributes to improvements in teaching and learning. Which types of data do you think would be most useful to school-level leaders (both principals and members of teacher teams)? In what ways would these types of data be useful? Which types of data do you think would be most useful to district-level leaders (superintendents, central office administrators, and DLT members)? In what ways would these types of data be useful?

  6. Most school districts employ teachers with different types and levels of expertise. What strategies might a principal use to build the school's overall instructional capacity to better meet the learning needs of every student by drawing on the various types of teacher expertise already present within the school's professional staff?


Introductory Activities

  1. Moving Your Numbers

    Read one or more of the case studies developed as part of the Moving Your Numbers (MYN) project (http://www.movingyournumbers.org/). Identify the practices used in the district that reflect transformational leadership, distributed leadership, and instructional leadership. Compare these practices to the leadership practices used in your district. Perhaps use a matrix such as the one attached here to compile your insights.

  2. Evidence-based Practice

    Leadership at the BLT and TBT levels requires knowledge of the evidence-based instructional practices that are most likely to work effectively for all the students attending a school. Develop a list of resources that a school’s BLT and TBTs can use routinely to access information about evidence-based practices.

Advanced Activities

  1. Principals and Teacher Learning and Development

    Think of a principal with whom you are very familiar. You can choose yourself, a current principal, or a past principal. Then analyze the ways in which that principal promotes and participates in teacher learning and development. What other practices might the principal use to expand his or her efforts to promote and participate in teacher learning and development? Which of these other practices seem to have the highest priority? Develop an action plan that the principal might use in order to begin to enact these highest-priority practices.

You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.