Australia’s schools are shaping the next generation of our nation’s leaders in science, technology, politics, sport and culture. As a school leader, you’re charged with a responsibility that has the potential to impact the world for decades to come. That’s why strong leadership in our schools is so important for championing change, growing inclusive communities and empowering student success.
“There’s a growing body of evidence that school leadership has an impact on student outcomes second only to the influence of teachers in the classroom.” – Curriculum & Leadership Journal
From big data and wellness through technology, to eLearning strategies and the connected classroom, we’re exploring the many ways that Aussie school leaders are leading and managing change in schools.
5 ways our schools leaders are championing change management to empower student success
1. Establish a clear and shared vision
In many ways, effective leadership boils down to establishing a clear and shared vision and then rallying people around it.
There are several strategies that school leaders can choose to engage when it comes to new technology and initiatives. Depending on the speed at which they wish to manage change, they have several different approaches to choose from – each with distinct advantages and challenges, and each suited to different rates of rollout.
A directive approach is fast, but might ignore the views of those affected by the changes. An expert strategy is fast and only needs small groups to implement, but might face resistance from people who aren’t consulted. A negotiated strategy can reduce resistance, but might be slightly slower, while an educative strategy means people are committed to change but needs more resources. A participative approach means that the change is more likely to be accepted, but is slow to implement.
2. Engage decision-makers at every level
Keeping the right people on side and in the loop is crucial to the effectiveness of change management. Whether it’s funding bodies, the school’s leadership team, individual teachers, proactive parents, or students, everyone needs to be engaged to create impactful and lasting change. The Kübler-Ross Model for change management is often used for understanding the journey key decision makers experience as they adapt to change.
Kübler-Ross Model, Cleverism
However, it’s not simply about notifying relevant stakeholders about any updates in the community. Effective leadership engages, discusses and ultimately listens. There are several effective ways of ensuring there are communication paths available, allowing you to listen where people are opening up.
For example, creating an open door policy in your school allows students and staff alike to approach school leaders comfortably. Building a robust parent and teacher communication platform means parents can get in touch when they need to, and are updated with timely notifications on community events. Furthermore, hosting proactive and purpose driven meetings with undecided stakeholders will encourage further buy-in.
3. Empower staff with the right tools and support
Teachers need the right tools to run their classrooms effectively – there’s already enough marking, admin and other pressures to deal with! Equipping them with useful resources, programs and technology will help alleviate certain administration issues, freeing up more time to spend with their students.
Standardised tests like NAPLAN come with large data sets, so using tools like NAPLAN Explorer can allow you to easily break down student results. This can provide actionable insights for your teachers without the need for hours of number crunching.
4. Empower a student first approach
First and foremost, students are complex, curious, and ever growing people. Therefore, schools are best served when prioritising a student-first approach on every front. Student success begins with balancing their individual growth with ongoing performance, to ensure every child grows into a well rounded individual. Initiatives that address student wellbeing are particularly effective for equipping students with soft skills crucial to success down the road.
“I collect data from my assessments to plan how I can best differentiate my programming to meet my students’ learning needs.” – Phillip Lucas, Primary School Teacher
5. Evolve their approach constantly
Students grow, challenges evolve and opportunities emerge, so success begins with adopting the right mindset: an approach of adapting to change. How does your leadership evolve to address the unique demands of today?
The use of data to inform the decision making of school leaders has always been a key tool; from school reports and sports team results to dropout rates compared to the national average, data has informed schooling for centuries.
Data-led insights are often the best way to ensure students are getting the best support possible. Thanks to the latest technology, it’s never been easier to visualise and implement new policies. Think about the impact of the computer on schooling, and how the internet and connectivity will affect tomorrow’s workplace.
Learning tools such as eBooks or tablets, and collaborative software such as Microsoft Office or Adobe’s Creative Suite could have an astounding impact on your pupil’s future if they were implemented correctly today. Furthermore, many data analytics tools take the heavy lifting out of data analysis and action – allowing teachers to focus where their time is needed most: with their students. grow, challenges change and opportunities emerge, so success begins with a strategic evolution of approach.
How you can harness the power
At the end of the school day, every parent, stakeholder or government minister has the same priority – and that’s helping our students grow to be happy, healthy and productive.
Having data at your fingertips is crucial to achieving that goal. Thanks to innovative technology, it’s now easier than ever!