Monday, January 20, 2020

What's new and different: Leadership in the PYP

This blog post continues with the series about what is new and different in the Enhanced PYP.  For this post I decided to look at leadership which now has a whole section dedicated to it in the learning community section of the digital resource.  The section opens with the statement "School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on student learning".  For the first time in the PYP documentation the leadership capabilities have been defined.  Leaders provide direction, promote a shared vision and acknowledge the agency of all members of the community.  They work with others to create a shared purpose, rather than imposing goals on the community.  Important too is the idea that leaders need to motivate others to take on formal and informal leadership roles so that responsibilities are shared among the learning community.

Formal leadership in a school comprises of the pedagogical leadership team - this is generally the head of school along with the PYP coordinator and may also include the director and assistants heads.  This team is responsible for ensuring the Programme Standards and Practices are being implemented and is also responsible for the school's Action Plan that ensures the school is making continuous improvement.  Informal leadership refers to the role of teachers leading their classes and inquiring into their own practices.  It also involves student leadership.  Informal leadership is increasingly important because no one person can meet all the responsibilities.  Shared ownership of responsibilities in turn promotes voice, choice and agency throughout the community and stimulates innovation because all members of the community are open to new ideas as they inquire, reflect and learn.

I think one of the most important points made by the new Leadership document is the emphasis on sustainable leadership.  This is done by fostering leadership capabilities and planning for long-term succession through a distributed leadership model.

There are seven leadership capabilities defined by the IB that can be briefly described as follows:
  1. Strategic - forward thinking, big picture thinking, aligning people behind a shared set of goals
  2. Cultural -  creating a culture that celebrates diversity as being essential for intercultural learning
  3. Pedagogical - building individual and institutional knowledge through PD
  4. Entrepreneurial - anticipating change and responding in creative ways
  5. Relational - understanding and supporting all stakeholders to achieve better outcomes for students
  6. Reflective - using thinking strategies and placing critical reflection at the core of the organisation
  7. Heuristic - insight and inference allows quick decisions to be made with the big picture in mind
This section on leadership is new and different and reflects recent research that shows that schools that emphasise continuous improvement are more likely to implement innovative practices.    To do this, all members of the learning community need to be supported in their growth.

Photo Credit: alicecahill Flickr via Compfight cc

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