26 SES 13 A, Women Principals, Improving Teacher Quality and Leading Schools in Challenging Circumstances
The purpose of this proposal is to outline and verify a roadmap for school leaders to ensure teacher quality can be sustained over time. The paper argues that a major leadership challenge for school leaders is to attract, deploy, develop and retain quality teachers. To gain commitment and engagement of teachers over their career, we propose leaders take a strategic and long-term approach. Previously (ECER 2019) we presented a roadmap as a conceptual framework. Between 2018-2020 we tested this roadmap with a range of leaders and teachers representing schools. In this paper, we present an updated version of the roadmap but with supporting evidence from over 250 case studies to demonstrate its veracity as a strategic framework.
Quality teachers and quality teaching have been a core concern of educational systems and schools around the world (OECD 2005, 2008). Current evidence-based research has shown that the ‘good’ (effective/inspiring) teacher is a significant factor in improving student outcomes (OECD, 2005; Stronge, 2007). Research shows that teachers are the most significant in-school factor influencing student learning. Estimates of the percentage contribution of teachers to student outcomes vary from 30% (Hattie 2003) to 59% (Alton-Lee 2003; Rowe 2003). With the pressure to improve student outcomes and the significance of teacher quality, it is incumbent on school leaders to ensure that they attract, acquire, develop and retain quality teachers.
School systems, now recognise the changing role of school leaders especially in contexts of increased devolution and greater accountability.
In the context of increased devolution and accountability, school systems not only in Europe but in other countries now recognize the changing role of school leaders. The traditional school leader role of teacher deployment is being challenged because they are expected now to adopt a Talent Management strategy (McBeath 2007), which involves attracting, developing and retaining quality teachers. An additional consequence of the focus on quality teachers is the attention to underperforming teachers. In many educational systems school leaders are expected to manage teacher performance and underperforming teachers (Duignan, 2006), yet, often teacher appraisals do not appear to be sufficient to identify or address underperformance (Jensen, 2011). A dilemma for principals is that they are often caught in the cross fire between the calls to dismiss these teachers or identify the issues of concern and address them (Day, 2017). Furthermore, within the conference theme, (Educational and Society) due to social challenges and different values and beliefs, leaders and teachers work within different expectations, prescriptions, reconciliations.
Within this complex context, we re-represent the ‘roadmap for teacher quality’. Based on a strategic human resource management framework it integrates several key functions that help leaders identify and acquire the best candidates for the teaching profession, develop their capabilities and support them in their teaching profession. The roadmap outlines key stages of a teacher’s journey: the aspiration to teach, the preparation and recruitment into the system, and their early experiences with the teaching profession. School leaders can play an important part in at each stage: identifying, acquiring, and developing teachers through what we have identified ‘touchpoints. Touchpoints are key stages in a teacher’s career that not only support and encourage them to be committed and engaged, but also equip them to face and overcome new challenges. Negative experiences can not only demotivate teachers but can result in the loss of talented teachers to the profession. We argue that leaders need to understand the whole journey and intervene to help teachers reach their potential and help them to sustain it over their career.
The roadmap is built on sound theory and research. It is based on a strategic human resource management (SHRM) framework (Mercer, Barker, Bird, 2010). The authors draw on the SHRM literature and the emerging literature on SHRM in education to support the road map. The objective of SHRM is to make the best possible use of people within the accepted social, economic and ethical framework and standards of the existing the culture or society. Within the 2021 conference theme, SHRM can also support people who face difficult and challenging circumstances. ????SHRM is a multi-disciplinary approach which draws its theories and practices from many sources. It aims to help people to work more effectively, improve performance, provide a productive and supportive environment, improve managing and leading people, establish appropriate principles, policies and practices, and provide competitive advantage (Stone, 2017; Nieto, 2014). The key operative functions include: job design & evaluation; manpower planning; recruitment and selection; induction & socialisation; training & development; performance management; working conditions; employee relations; remuneration & benefits; retirement & redundancy (Ogunyomi, Shadare & Chidi, 2011; Mondy & Martocchio, 2015; Youssef, 2012; Dessler, 2011; Hendry, 2011). The intended outcome is to ensure the competence of an organization’s workforce to perform, compete, and innovate (Lawler, Mohrman & Ledford, 1998). Over the past two decades the principles of SHRM have been applied to schools. Educational writers such as Runhaar (2016); Odden (2011); Kimball (2011), have championed SHRM as a disciplined approach to recruitment and development as compared with the ad hoc approach that is common in schools. Case Studies. In 2018/19 we tested the roadmap with over 180 postgraduate students who were completing a Masters of Education subject, Leadership for Teacher Quality, at the authors’ university. The students, both Australian and international, were a mixture of teachers, middle level leaders and principals. Within the limits of 4000-word case studies, students were required to evaluate the current practices and processes for teacher quality and quality teaching in their own school setting against the road map. A review of the related literature was required to inform their analysis. Furthermore, they were required to identify recommendations to the school's leadership group. Using a matrix highlighting touchpoints from the roadmap, the case studies were analysed and placed into themes.
The findings showed support for the road map in a range of different educational settings, including highly challenging circumstances. We present an updated version of the roadmap for leadership for teacher quality. The roadmap is based on the key operational functions from the SHRM literature. We identity six domains that we label as ‘touchpoints’. These are: career aspirations; teacher preparation; sourcing talent; induction; professional learning; performance management. Findings from the case studies identified these leadership practices that enhanced teacher quality: induction, professional learning, professional identity, effective recruitment and selection practices, career planning, pedagogical support in the classroom, and effective feedback. Gaps in leadership practice were also identified particularly with induction and teacher evaluation. The most effective leaders could underscore the touchpoints by developing and maintaining good working conditions, building a productive culture and providing motivation for teachers. In our presentation we outline practices where leaders focused on the needs in both the short and long term to build and maintain teacher commitment and engagement. Here we recognise the internal and external factors that influence teacher quality and impact on teachers’ work. In addition, we found that successful leaders addressed individual and team needs, built individual and profession capacity, supported and resourced teaching and learning, maintained sound and healthy working conditions, developed a productive culture, helped teachers build resilience, and provided opportunities for motivation. We accept that in different systems and in different countries i there will be varying levels of devolved responsibility, leader autonomy and accountability. Leaders may have greater opportunities to impact on touchpoints in some systems, for example, recruitment and selection, whereas in other systems recruitment and selection may remain centrally controlled. However, we believe that leaders need to pay attention to the whole journey of a teacher’s career and that this roadmap highlights these touchpoints.
Darling-Hammond, L (2006) Constructing 21st-Century Teacher Education, Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), 300-31 Darling-Hammond, L (2010) Teacher Education and the American Future, Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 35-47 Day, C. (2012). New Lives of Teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(1), 7-26. Day, C. (2017) Teachers’ Worlds and Work: Understanding Complexity, Building Quality, Routledge, NY. Dessler, G. (2011). Human resource management. Boston, Mass.: Pearson. Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence? Paper presented at ACER Research Conference, October 19-21, in Melbourne. Jensen, B. (2011). Better teacher appraisal and feedback: Improving performance. Melbourne: Grattan Institute. Kimball, S. M. (2011) Principals, Human Capital Managers at Every School, Phi Delta Kappan 92(7) 13-18. Lawler, E. E., Mohrman, S. A. and Ledford, G. E. (1998). Strategies for High Performance Organizations – the CEO Report. San Francisco: Jossey – Bass Publishers. Macbeath, J. (2006) The talent enigma, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9(3), 183-204 Mercer, J, Barker, B., Bird, R. (2010) Human Resource Management in Education [electronic resource] Contexts, Themes and Impact, Hoboken: Taylor and Francis Nieto, M. L. (2014). Human resource management. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Odden, A. R. (2011) Strategic Management of Human Capital in Education. New York: Routledge Ogunyomi, O.P. & Shadare, A.O. & Chidi, O.C. (2011). Current trends and future directions of human resource management practices: A review of the literature, European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences. 29, 19-25. OECD (2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. OECD (2008). Measuring improvements in learning outcomes: Best practices to assess the value-added of schools. Paris: OECD. Rowe, K. (2003). The importance of teacher quality as a key determinant of students’ experiences and outcomes of schooling. In Building teacher quality: Research conference 2003: 15-23. Melbourne: ACER. Runhaar, P. (2016). How can schools and teachers benefit from human resources management? Educational Management Administration & Leadership. 45(10), 639-656. Stronge, J. H. (2007). Qualities of effective teachers (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Youssef, C. M. (2012). Human resource management. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education. Intent of Publication
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