The pre-eminent Professor Viviane Robinson from the University of Auckland delivered the annual Ann D Clark lecture last week. It was a great honour to have both Viviane and Michael Fullan working with us last week.
Prof. Robinson’s presentation was Five Dimensions of Effective Educational Leadership’ but perhaps I can summarise the key point in one sentence: school is about students and their learning outcomes not about adults. This is a very power concept I believe since it is evidenced based and substantial.
Her research confirms that it’s not about the tools, technology, class-sizes or classroom configuration – it is simply the quality of the teacher and the strength of the leadership team supporting them. It is about principals leading the learning within and for their learning community and teachers sharing their own practice(s).
Too often the role of principal has been preoccupied with ‘bins, buses and bells’ yet Prof Robinson’s research showed that effective schools have leaders and teachers who are courageous enough to initiate the difficult conversations about learning based on evidence of student achievement and then make the difficult decisions in order to achieve the goal of improving learning outcomes.
What should our response to this evidence be?