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Leadership for Outstanding Educational Outcomes


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Title: Leadership for Outstanding Educational Outcomes

Leadership for Outstanding Educational Outcomes
  • Professor Stephen Dinham
  • Australian Centre for Education Leadership
  • (UoW)
  • Association of Independent Schools
  • Executive Conference
  • 15th May 2007

What is Leadership?
  • Changing Thinking on Leadership
  • School Effectiveness Studies
  • Increased focus on teaching and student
    achievement in Education The Teacher
  • Actions and attributes of highly effective
    educational leaders AESOP Case Study
  • Discussion
  • Implications

Changing Thinking on Leadership
  • Great leaders
  • Formal Leadership
  • Administration
  • Management
  • Leadership styles, typologies
  • Leader to Leadership
  • Leader to leaders
  • Educational Administration to Educational
    Management to Educational Leadership
  • Leading Learning Communities

School Effectiveness Studies
  • Until the mid-1960s, the common view was that
    schools made no difference to childrens
  • Input-Output Studies (mid-1960s to early 1970s) -
    the impact of human and physical resources on
  • Effective Schools Studies (early to late 1970s) -
    addition of process variables, wider range of
    school outcomes.
  • School Improvement Studies (late 1970s to
    mid-1980s) - incorporating school effectiveness
    correlates into schools through various
  • Context Variables introduced coupled with more
    sophisticated methodologies (late 1980s to
  • (Reynolds, et al, 2000)

Increased Focus on Teaching, Learning
  • In the last decade attention has increasingly
    been focused on student (and school)
  • The key role played by the individual teacher in
    student achievement has been recognised and much
    greater attention paid to quality
  • Recent research has confirmed the importance of
    leadership in creating and supporting a culture
    of success and a central focus on teaching and
    learning in the school

The Individual Teacher
  • Many empirical studies have confirmed that the
    individual classroom teacher is the major
    in-school influence on student achievement. (see
    Hattie, Rowe, Mulford)
  • Accounting for Variance
  • Student 50
  • Homes 5-10
  • School 5-10
  • Peers 5-10
  • Teacher 30
  • Major focus on Quality Teaching from late 1980s

AESOP An Exceptional Schooling Outcomes Project
  • Processes and practices producing outstanding
    educational outcomes Years 7-10
  • Faculties (80)
  • Cross-school programs (20)
  • Adelaide Goals that schools should
  • develop fully the talents of all students
  • attain high standards of knowledge, skills and
    understanding through a comprehensive and
    balanced curriculum
  • be socially just
  • Semi-representative sample across NSW
  • 50 sites in 38 schools 2002-2004.

  • Teams of four researchers for four days in each
  • Academic Leader (UWS or UNE)
  • Academic from the field (UWS or UNE)
  • Head Teacher (Dept Head) from another school in
  • Chief Education Officer (School Improvement) from
  • Protocols Interviews, lesson observations,
    general observations, focus groups, documents,
    artifacts, school performance records
  • Triangulation, validation

  • Report data from reports entered into NUDIST
  • Open, axial, selective coding (Grounded Theory)
  • Theory building for subject areas, programs,
    leadership, other themes
  • Reports in 2005 English, Maths, Science,
    Cross-school Programs, Student-welfare Special
    Ed, others
  • Leadership
  • Principal
  • Head Teacher (Dept Head)/Program Head
  • Other Executive
  • Teachers (distributed leadership)

  • Common attributes, approaches and actions of
    principals where outstanding educational outcomes
    are occurring
  • See
  • Dinham, S. (2005). Principal Leadership for
    Outstanding Educational Outcomes, Journal of
    Educational Administration, 43(4), pp. 338-356.
  • Dinham, S. (2007). Head of Department
    Leadership for Exceptional Educational Outcomes,
    Journal of Educational Administration, 45(1), pp.

1. External Awareness and Engagement
  • Openness to Change and Opportunity
  • Outward rather than inward looking
  • Opportunities rather than threats
  • Action rather than inaction, reaction
  • Benefits in mandated change
  • Identify, seek out, obtain resources to assist
    with change
  • Develop Productive External Links
  • Seek out, foster mutually beneficial external
    alliances inside/outside the system
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Utilise community/external support

2. A Bias Towards Innovation and Action
  • Using Discretion, Bending Rules, Procedures
  • Use discretion, push boundaries, constraints
  • Often ground breakers, ahead of the game
  • Gained credibility with system officials, blind
  • Move resources around creatively
  • It is easier to gain forgiveness than
  • Bias to Experimentation, Risk Taking
  • Prepared to experiment, even when things appear
    to be going well
  • Support for others proposing initiatives
  • Prepared to risk time, money, possible failure
  • Empower others Lets give it a go

3. Personal Qualities and Relationships
  • Leaders have positive attitudes which are
  • Act to motivate others through example
  • Positive thinking keeps school moving, improving
  • Negativity can be self-handicapping
  • Intellectual Capacity
  • The X-factor
  • High degree of intellectual capacity, imagination
  • Good judges of individuals, astute
  • Balance big picture with finer detail
  • Deal with many issues concurrently
  • Know when to consult, be decisive, courageous

3. Personal Qualities and Relationships
  • Moral, Authentic Leadership
  • Exhibit the characteristics expected of others
  • Honesty, commitment, reliability, hard work,
    trustworthiness, professionalism, integrity -
    good example
  • Social justice agenda
  • Putting students, education first
  • Education for social change
  • Assist, Feedback, Listen to Staff
  • Good communicators, listeners, available
  • Prompt feedback of good and bad news
  • Roll sleeves up when necessary

3. Personal Qualities and Relationships
  • Provide professional, pleasant environment
  • Treat staff, others professionally
  • Expect high standard of professionalism in return
  • Model professionalism
  • Others dont want to let the boss down

3. Personal Qualities and Relationships
  • Other Personal Qualities
  • High level interpersonal skills
  • Generally liked, respected, trusted
  • Knows, use names, shows personal interest
  • Demonstrates empathy, humour, compassion
  • Available at short notice when needed
  • Epitomises the servant leader, yet
    unmistakeably in control
  • Works for school , students, staff, education,
    rather than for themself.

4. Vision, Expectations and a Culture of Success
  • Expect a lot, give a lot
  • Clear, agreed, high standards
  • Recognition of student, staff Achievement
  • Take every opportunity to provide recognition of
    achievement, talk up school
  • Find ways for all students to be successful
  • Recognition seen as authentic, warranted, well
  • Creates a culture, expectation of success
  • Continuous improvement
  • Culture of doing best, success

4. Vision, Expectations and a Culture of Success
  • Maintain Clean, Pleasant Environment
  • High priority on school cleanliness
  • Deal promptly with graffiti, mess
  • Gardens, seating, shade, offices
  • Displays of work, achievements
  • School identification, pride, reputation

5. Teacher Learning, Responsibility and Trust
  • Investment in Teacher Learning
  • Place high value on teacher learning
  • Prepared to fund professional development inside
    and outside the school
  • Find ways to release staff, bring others to
  • Model teacher learning
  • All Teachers are Leaders
  • Foster, acknowledge leadership of others
  • Identify talent, encourage, coach and support
  • Responsibility recognition, empowerment, staff
  • Trust an aspect of mutual respect

6. Student Support, Common Purpose and
  • Centrality of Student Welfare
  • Student welfare policies, procedures central
  • Every teachers responsibility
  • Getting students into learning, not warm
    fuzzies, self-concept
  • Support by leaders essential
  • Students understand and support student welfare
    as something done for, not to them
  • Improvement in behaviour, discipline over time
  • Underpins academic success

6. Student Support, Common Purpose and
  • Leaders Find Common Purpose
  • Identify and utilise a central focus
  • e.g., ICT, assessment, literacy, pedagogy,
    student welfare
  • Resources diverted to priority area
  • Often, a champion or team
  • Serves to bring school, staff together
  • Pockets of like-minded staff, collaboration
  • Pragmatic realists - cant move all staff
  • Concentrate on talented, committed (faculties,
    teams, individuals ) and provide them with
    encouragement, time, resources, PD opportunities
  • contagion effects, but some danger of
    resentment, obstruction, playing favourites,
    leaving some staff behind

7. Focus on Students, Learning and Teaching
  • Focus on students as people (personal, academic,
  • Teaching and learning prime focus of school
  • Cross-school approaches to pedagogy, assessment,
    reporting, tracking
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Focus on Year 6-7 transition
  • Creative use of positions
  • Creates and environment where teaching and
    learning can occur

7. Focus on Students, Learning and Teaching
  • Leadership Takes Time
  • Long term agenda, vision (6-7 years?)
  • Turning the school around
  • de facto selective status?
  • Leaders Build on What is There
  • Identify, nurture seeds for change, improvement
  • Use what has been achieved, dont start from
  • Release latent organisational energy

7. Focus on Students, Learning and Teaching
  • Consistency, Yet Flexibility in Policy
  • Simple, standard things done well
  • Zero tolerance?
  • Clear guidelines, good communication
  • Consistent application of policy, procedures
  • Everyone knows where he/she stands
  • Not rigidity - flexibility, compassion where

A Model of Leadership for Outstanding Educational
  • Attributes, qualities, approaches neither
    idealistic nor prescriptive.
  • Leaders are learners and change over time.
  • Not quick fixes or recipes for success, but
    framework for reflection and action.
  • Context, history important.
  • More direct influence of leadership on
    outstanding outcomes confirmed.
  • Principals and other leaders help create
    conditions, climate, where success can occur.

  • Characteristics both product (output) and process
    (input) variables leading to upward cycle of
  • While the teacher makes the major difference, the
    fact that these leaders had turned schools around
    and taken these to a higher level confirms the
    important role of leadership in developing the
    learning community and promoting student

  • Aubusson, P. Brady, L., Dinham, S. (2005).
    Action Learning What Works? A research report
    prepared for the New South Wales Department of
    Education and Training. Sydney University of
    Technology Sydney.
  • Ayres, P. Dinham, S. Sawyer, W. (2004).
    Effective Teaching in the Context of a Grade 12
    High Stakes External Examination in New South
    Wales, Australia, British Educational Research
    Journal, 30 (1), pp. 141-165.
  • Ayres, P. Dinham, S. Sawyer, W. (2000).
    Successful Senior Secondary Teaching, Quality
    Teaching Series, No 1, Australian College of
    Education, September, pp. 1-20.
  • Ayres, P. Dinham, S. Sawyer, W. (1999).
    What makes a good HSC teacher?, The Education
    Network, 16, pp. 8-15.
  • Ayres, P. Dinham, S. Sawyer, W. (1999).
    Successful Teaching in the NSW Higher School
    Certificate. Sydney NSW Department of Education
    and Training.
  • Dinham, S. (2007). The Secondary Head of
    Department and the Achievement of Exceptional
    Student Outcomes, Journal of Educational
    Administration, 45(1), pp. 62-79.

References Contd
  • Dinham, S. (2007). The Dynamics of Creating
    and Sustaining Learning Communities, keynote
    address, 6th International Conference on
    Educational Leadership, Australian Centre for
    Educational Leadership, University of Wollongong,
    15-16 February.
  • Dinham, S. (2005). Principal Leadership for
    Outstanding Educational Outcomes, Journal of
    Educational Administration, 43(4), pp. 338-356.
  • Dinham, S. Brennan, K. Collier, J. Deece, A.,
    Mulford, D. (2000). The Secondary Head of
    Department Key Link in the Quality Teaching and
    Learning Chain, Quality Teaching Series, No 2,
    Australian College of Education, September, pp.
  • Dinham, S. Scott, C. (2003). Benefits To
    Teachers Of The Professional Learning Portfolio
    A Case Study, Teacher Development, 7(3), pp.
  • Dinham, S. Scott, C. (2002). Pressure points
    School executive and educational change, Journal
    of Educational Enquiry, 3(2), pp. 35-52.
  • Dinham, S. Scott, C. (2000). Moving Into The
    Third, Outer Domain Of Teacher Satisfaction,
    Journal of Educational Administration, 38(4), pp.
  • Dinham, S. Scott, C. (2003). Outcomes of
    Awards for Exemplary Teaching, Unicorn Online
    Refereed Article, No. 24, pp. 1-25,

Contact Details
  • Professor Stephen Dinham
  • Australian Centre for Educational Leadership
  • Faculty of Education
  • University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
  • Direct telephone 61 2 4221 5626
  • ACEL Office 61 2 4221 4967
  • Fax 61 2 4221 4657
  • Email sdinham_at_uow.edu.au
  • Note
  • From July 2007
  • Research Director, Teaching and Leadership
  • Australian Council for Educational Research
  • Private Bag 55
  • Camberwell Victoria 3124
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