Learning leadership

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Equitable outcomes
Evaluation indicators
Professional capability
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“There’s not one teacher who’s an expert in everything, so they all bring different strengths to the table.”

The team structure in this school supports the professional learning and development of leaders and teachers. Team members discuss their roles, responsibilities and the reciprocal nature of their interactions.


Key messages:

  • The staff are assigned to team led by a ‘Leader of Learning”
  • Each Leader of Learning facilitates the professional development of their team member
  • All staff, including the Leaders of Learning, have evidence-based individual goals
  • Interactions have improved through the up skilling in ‘open to learning’ conversation techniques
  • A focus on shared practice creates shared ownership and accountability 


Things to think about:

  • How do the structures and processes in your school support professional learning and development?
  • To what extent is your environment conducive to sharing practice and being ‘open to learning’?


The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence 
    • Evaluation indicator 
      • Leadership promotes and participates in teacher learning and development
      • Leadership builds collective capacity to do evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement
  • Domain 5: Professional capability and collective capacity
    • Evaluation indicator 
      • Organisational structures, processes and practices enable and sustain collaborative learning and decision making


This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

Remote video URL

(The video opens on a classroom afterhours. A man and a woman sit at a table. The man speaks and the woman nods as she listens.)


Maybe we've jumped too quickly to see if we can analyse why their own writing that they've done doesn't flow. Perhaps we should come at it from a different angle and say: why does this flow?


(We hear the same man speak in voiceover, and after a second the scene changes to show in speaking into the camera. Posters showing school values are pinned on a board behind him. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Ben Goodchild, Teaching team leader, Otumoetai Intermediate School.)


I have a team of five teachers, and my role is to facilitate their learning.


(His voiceover continues as the scene changes. A group of people, Ben among them, sit in a classroom talking amongst themselves. A woman says something and Ben laughs.)


The DP will find the current best practice. And then I'll attend sessions to upskill myself.


(The camera shows a montage of people speaking and other listening. As he says “area” we return to Ben speaking to the camera.)


And then my role is to pass that on and then help the other teachers with their growth in whichever area of the curriculum that it happens to be.


(The video now cuts to a woman, who was at the meeting in the previous scene, speaking to the camera. She sits in an office with a wall of books and documents behind her. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Lynne Hutchinson, Deputy Principal, Otumoetai Intermediate School”. She gestures as she speaks.)


The team leaders meet with me and discuss progress made or not made.


(Lynne’s voiceover continues as the camera shows a meeting. She speaks to the group as she sits beside a projector. The camera zooms out and we see six people sitting around the table, including Lynne and Ben. Projected on a screen pulled over the back wall is a web page, and the other walls are partly covered with printed graphs.)


And we look at other ways that we could approach it.


(A man’s voice now takes over the voiceover. As he says “skill” the video changes to show the speaker, educational posters on the wall behind him. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Henk Popping, Principal, Otumoetai Intermediate School”.)


The first and foremost skill that those leaders have to have is walk the talk themselves, and be able to demonstrate excellence in their own teaching, and then bringing them in as leaders of learning for the rest of the school.


(He continues speaking as the camera shows Lynne at the meeting standing next to the projector. She gestures as she says something to the group that we cannot hear. A woman turns and listens.)


And Lynne's role in that is a bit like a conductor making sure it all works.


(We return to Lynne speaking into the camera. As she says “but” we see her speaking at the meeting once again as her voiceover continues. The camera zooms in on several other participants as they listen and nod.)


It is about putting all the elephants on the table, so we can see them and deal with them-- but in a manner that holds the integrity of everybody, but results in internal commitment.


(The video once again shows Ben talking to the camera. As he says “might” the camera shifts back to the meeting.)


Each individual teacher, each individual team, might have their own beliefs of what's happening with the student.


(A woman at the meeting speaks, holding a stack of papers. Others listen as she then marks something down on a printed diagram.)


But by having hard data, you can actually say, well, this is what's happening. And the data might not show what you were hoping for, but we don't view that as a threat.


(The camera zooms in as Lynne now flips through a booklet filled with graphs.)


We'll say, well, how are we going to address it? We're not going to hurt each other's feelings by disagreeing.


(We return to Ben speaking into the camera.)


Everyone's expected to have an opinion.


(The camera now returns to Henk.)


We don't want to see just one or two people's positions stated all of the time because everyone brings their own strengths and expertise to the table.


(Henk’s voiceover continues as we return to the meeting where the participants flip through papers and booklets. The camera zooms in on a woman’s face as she speaks.)


And we want that talent being demonstrated in the team leaders' team as well.


(Lynne takes over the voiceover. The scene continues as the camera shows the people on one side of the table listen to the woman speaking. As she says “everything” the camera returns to Lynne in the office.)


There's not one teacher who's an expert in everything, so they all bring different strengths to the table.


(Lynne continues speaking as the scene shifts back to the meeting.)


And it's a matter of making sure that everybody does contribute.


(Henk’s voice now speaks over the scene. The camera cuts between meeting participants.)


If they genuinely believe that you are also genuine and wanting to know their viewpoint and finding out what they can bring to the table, I think that buy-in and that ownership is there.


(As he says “willingness” the camera shows him speaking into the camera once again.)


That's a big part of Lynne's role-- not only building just the skills and capacity, but it's building that willingness and culture in the school that: hey look, I'm part of this. That's something bigger than just me. We're in this as a team.


(We again see Ben speaking into the camera. As he says “don’t go” the video changes back to the very first scene, where Ben and a woman sit talking in an otherwise unoccupied classroom. The woman gestures in a waving pattern as she speaks. Ben nods.)


In my role as Catherine's team leader, I don't go to Catherine and say, this is how you're doing it. Off you go. I view it as something that will start a conversation between Catherine and I. And then often the conversations that I have with Catherine, I'll go back and share them with team leaders who've had conversations with their team members.


(The camera slowly pans away from the two, past stacked chairs into an empty corner of the room.)


And then it can become part of the whole school approach.


(We are now back with Lynne in the office.)


The team leaders do find the open to learning conversations really good.


(We are back at the meeting. Lynne’s voiceover continues as the camera zooms in on her face, speaking to the others at the meeting. They nod in response.)


It's stopped this telling teachers what to do. And I've spoken to teachers and said, how did you feel when that was happening? And I was as guilty of that as anyone.


(The camera briefly zooms in on Ben’s face then back out. Lynne’s voiceover continues and the camera switches between participants as they talk amongst themselves.)


And they said, small, damaged self-efficacy, things like that when an expert keeps telling you that you need to do this, you need to do this, you need to do this.