School Leadership Role: the Effect of School Leaders on Student Learning

School Leadership Role: the Effect of School Leaders on Student Learning


Leadership involves creating an inspiring vision of the future, motivating and inspiring people to engage with that vision, managing delivery of the vision, and coaching and building a team. The main purpose of school leadership is to get the best out of students and teachers. School leadership can either be transformational leadership, or instructional leadership. While the focus of transformational leadership is the wider organization, the focus of instructional leadership is improving outcomes through teaching and learning. The roles of school leadership encompass leadership and management duties. School leaders are responsible for developing community and family participation within the school. The effect of school leaders on student learning is indirect, but essential. Various school leadership concepts have been learned throughout the course, and these will impact my future role as a school leader. This paper therefore describes the various concepts learned regarding school leadership, and how the content knowledge that I have gained throughout the course will help me in my future role as a school leader.

School leadership can be described as a distributed practice that is influenced by social and contextual factors. Leadership practice involve interdependence between the individual and the environment, and demonstrates how human activity is distributed in the interactive web of actors, artifacts and situations. Additionally, school leadership exhibits four roles that include the brokerage, mediating, participative and forging roles (Lin et al., 2018). Through the utilization of the brokering role, I will focus on transferring school improvements practices into individual classrooms. Additionally, I will act as a vital source of information and expertise wherever it is required. The participative role will enable me to foster collaborative relationships with the teachers during the implementation of schoolwide initiatives. Through the forging role, I will focus on ensuring collaboration among teachers, as this according to Lin et al. (2018), is associated with greater outcomes. Sharing leadership responsibilities with the followers is vital for overall school improvement and teacher improvement, and, in addition, it encourages teachers to collaborate and take on leadership roles. Utilizing these concepts in the school leadership role, will result in productive social capital (Zheng et al., 2017). This will further increase the effectiveness of the school community.

School leaderships involves moving practice towards a specified goal of effective student learning. School leadership can be expressed by regulating practice, coordinating practice, expanding practice, and protecting practice. Support od administrative action is important for the success of students within an educational environment.  While it is vital to track students; achievement and teachers’ performance, ensuring that students grow holistically depending on their age, stage and learning profile is equally important. Rather than focusing on external expectations, I will utilize the knowledge I have gained to ensure that kerning and growing occurs naturally. Burdening teachers with expectations for the larger system can negatively affect performance (Mitchell & Sackney, 2016). Coordination of practice will be realized by analyzing actual practice problems, and following up with collective problem-solving. As a I will constantly remind followers of the big picture, and the core values of the institution, as this is associated with better outcomes when compared to working under the requirements of specific external initiatives. A school leader also focuses on expanding practice, by acting as a disturbing function. This disturbing function involves framing professional conversations, asking deep questions, and leading discussions. To protect practice, I will focus on creating an environment where individuals can attend collectively to emerging opportunities and compelling disturbances. As a leader, it will be my responsibility to confront and eliminate behaviors that hinder effective practice.

Leadership roles provide one with an opportunity to empower others. As described by Mitchell & Sackney (2016), leadership focuses tightly on teaching and learning, and it is contextually sensitive and collaborative. Those who are respectful, attentive to others and have a sense of need tend to rise to leadership roles. It is vital for the school leader to provide an environment where teachers feel safe, as this extends their capacity to thrive and grow. As a school leader, I will ensure that I respect the teachers, support their professionalism, and encourage them to grow. Valuing everyone for their life history, personality and knowledge will ensure that everyone views themselves as a role model. I will provide collaborative leadership by using structured teams, and planned meetings. Facilitating responsive communicative patterns within the school environment also improves outcomes within an educational setting (Mitchell & Sackney, 2016). I will focus on removing the fear element, as this interferes with overall practice. Providing a platform for teachers to air their views on what can improve program learning is vital in improving the educational experience for the students. In my leadership role, I will create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to rise to the leadership role.

Facial appearance is a crucial aspect leaders’ success. Antonakis & Eubanks (2017) asserts that facial appearance influences affect-oriented outcomes which play a significant role in the judgement of leaders and their trustworthiness. Understanding the importance of facial appearance is crucial for my future role as a school leader, since prototypical facial appearance can provide an advantage to leaders that translates into subsequent success. Two traits that are vital for determining leader emergence and effectiveness are intelligence and extraversion, which correlate to facial symmetry. Facial appearance matters for leader success. Charismatic leaders show competence and trustworthiness through verbal and non-verbal cues. Understanding the importance of facism in leadership selection is vital for my role as a school leader. According to Antonakis & Eubanks (2017), facial cues correlate with outcomes in leadership. Since facial appearance matters significantly in leader selection, I will work on my facial cues to ensure that I gain the support of my followes. When selecting individuals to work on certain projects, I will avoid the use of fail characteristics to determine the leader, since according to Antonakis & Eubanks (2017), valid cues about a target’s characteristics might be outweighed by cues stemming from facial appearance.

School leadership is a crucial component to reform education. School leadership is responsible for analyzing the school’s performance, against key effectiveness indicators, and facilitating the development of informed policy and actions towards school improvement. Continuous improvement within school settings rely on the ability of the school to evaluate its own performance. However, improvement strategies should be based on evidence, hence data should be collected to identify priorities (Antoniou et al., 2016). School leaders are responsible for identifying priorities, and implementing evidence-based strategies to address the identified problems. The data collection process should involve all stakeholders including the community that the school serves. I understand that school self-evaluation is an important aspect of improving school performance, hence as a school leader I will ensure that I utilize this concept through the use of collaborative data collection processes.

School leaders face various challenges. These include ensuring that teaching and learning is consistent, ensuring that students grasp basic knowledge and skills within a broad and balanced curriculum, managing behavior and attendance, strategic management of resources and the environment, building the school as a professional learning community, and development of partnerships beyond the school to encourage parental support for learning and new learning opportunities. The challenges and opportunities faced by school leaders in urban settings differ from those faced by school leaders in rural settings. In rural schools, some of the challenges that school leaders face include multiple roles, limited staff and increased responsibilities (Parson et al., 2016). School leaders in urban settings face numerous challenges as they try to ensure high student performance (Reed & Swaminathan, 2016). Cultural diversity is especially common in urban schools where student population is linguistically and racially diverse. Academic performance in urban schools is often low due to an increase in ethnic, racial and language diversity. Another challenge that school leaders face is finding high-quality teachers, who are prepared to address the challenges presented in urban schools. School leaders in these settings also face high rates of school violence (Reed & Swaminathan, 2016). While school leaders are responsible for the success of a school, these challenges negatively influence the ability to function effectively. A school leader needs to be aware of the challenges associated with the different school environments. Addressing these challenges will be my priority in my future role as a teacher. I will utilize the knowledge that I have gained, to create effective strategies that can address challenges while improving student learning and teacher performance.

Utilization of concepts of transformational leadership is associated with higher levels of individual and organizational outcomes. Transformational and charismatic leadership is associated with higher levels of individual and organizational outcomes (Rezvani et al., 2017). While transformational leadership focuses on positive motivation factors, transactional leadership emphasizes on rewards where staff members are expected to achieve goals to receive rewards, avoid punishment and prevent corrective action (Zheng et al., 2017). In transactional leadership, the school leader interacts with others as an exchanged for a valued resource (Parson et al., 2016). I understand the importance of motivation to leadership processes and influences. The effectiveness of a leader critically depends on the leader’s ability to motivate followers to focus on a shared goal, mission, or vision. Transactional leadership results in reduction of creativity. In my role as a school leader I will focus on the use of transformational leadership style as it encourages creativity and self-growth (Kark et al., 2017). I would like to be a school leader who encourages the staff members to take the leadership roles when appropriate. The use of transactional leadership style seems to eliminate exploration and risk-taking behaviors hence limiting growth of the staff members (Rezvani et al., 2017). Instead, I will utilize my leadership role to encourage my followers to change and make individua progress. This will promote an attractive vision of the future, and in addition it will encourage followers to suggest novel and creative solutions.

Knowledge sharing is vital in any form of leadership as it allows transfer of knowledge and prevents repetition of mistakes. Effective leadership plays an essential role in promoting a supportive climate for exposing knowledge into organization innovation (Zheng et al., 2017). It is vital for leaders to encourage knowledge sharing. As a leader, understanding knowledge management is crucial. Knowledge management enables individuals within an organization to create and share new knowledge with others for the improvement of organizational outcomes. Knowledge sharing and knowledge application facilitates the creation of new ideas and processes. By exploiting knowledge in an organization, a leader can improve organizational performance. As mentioned earlier, I will use transformational leadership style in my school leadership role, hence I will utilize my knowledge to nurture the intrinsic need for sharing knowledge. Knowledge sharing facilitates innovation. The internal interaction of knowledge and the external acquisition of knowledge also benefits innovation stimulation, that is vital in the implementation of project within an organization. Knowledge sharing also mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and transaction leadership. In addition to improving innovation performance, knowledge sharing also increases social capital levels.

Destructive leadership can affect the overall outcomes of an organization. Leaders with destructive behavior have a hostile and hindering nature. Destructive leadership involves repeatedly intimidating and belittling the followers. Abusive forms of leadership have a negative effect on performance. Abusive supervision is the most common form of destructive leadership, and it is associated with anxiety among the followers. This anxiety results in increased arousal and loss of control. Hostility towards followers has a negative effect on their self-worth. It is vital to understand nuances in destructive leadership (Schmid et al., 2018). The concepts that I learned regarding destructive leadership will guide me in my leadership role. I will utilize these concepts throughout the leadership role to ensure that employees are well treated within the organization. For instance, those who take the leadership role will be advised to treat employees with respect. They will also be informed that abusive supervision is detrimental to the success of an organization. In my role as a school leader, I will avoid destructive leadership as it is associated with the motivation to leave a leader. Additionally, as Schmid et al. (2018) explains, followers can mimic destructive behaviors from their leaders, which may impact teamwork. Therefore, avoiding destructive leadership can improve the overall functioning of an organization.

Culture plays a significant role in shaping the thinking, behaviors and practices of students, teachers, administrators and stakeholders. School leadership should be able to address cultural diversity (Reed & Swaminathan, 2016). Culturally responsive leaders develop and support the school staff, and promote an environment that makes the school welcoming and inclusive. A hostile school environment that is culturally unresponsive negatively affects the performance of the students. Cultural insensitivity results in some kind of discomfort, hence school leaders should focus on addressing social culture within school environments (Khalifa et al., 2016). For good leadership to thrive, critical self-awareness is vital. A school leader’s critical consciousness if culture and race acts as a solid foundation for establishing beliefs that underpin practice. According to Khalifa et al. (2016), leaders ought to be aware of themselves, and the context in which they lead. This content knowledge regarding cultural diversity within school settings will be useful in my future role as a school leader as I will be ale to offer leadership that is culturally sensitive, I will utilize this knowledge to ensure that I address the needs of marginalized students. More importantly, I will ensure that I am aware of the inequitable factors that affect students’ potential.

One way through which a school leader can address cultural diversity within school environments is by creating an opportunity for students from different cultural backgrounds to form supportive networks.  A school leader has a responsibility to improve teaching and learning for all students including the minorities. According to Gbolo et al. (2016), creating networks for minority students is associated with safety, support, empowerment, affirmation, and connectedness in school. Such networks ensures that minority students maneuver through each school week, despite the challenges. Such networks affirms the minorities’ academic and cultural identities, which helps them engage in school thereby leading to improvements in academic achievement. Networking groups are specifically vital for students in hostile environments. These groups ensure that students feel a certain sense of connectedness, which has positive implications for attendance. In my role as a school leader, I will ensure that I foster students’ success by addressing the needs of all students including the minorities’ given the challenges that minorities face in the school environment, fostering student networks may have a positive influence on learning.

Effective leaders should be able to promote and sustain a stable environment that attracts, maintains, and supports further development of good teachers. Leadership behaviors that contribute to the creation of a school climate increase the influence on teacher and school outcomes. Promoting professional development and teacher empowerment are two leadership practices that focus on enhancing teacher capacity. Techers’ professional development is impacted by three factors that include the learning activity, teacher factors and school factors. While increased teacher empowerment is vital, balancing leadership and teaching responsibilities can lead to frustration among the teachers since in leadership positions, teachers lack the ability to focus more on instructional tasks. Teacher empowerment and promotion of professional development are especially associated with negative student performance. This can be attributed to the fact that when teachers are expected to focus on organization improvement, they lack the energy and resources to focus on improving teaching and learning. Also, by focusing on enhancing teacher capacity, school leaders often lack the time to spearhead instructional initiatives, which have a direct impact on student learning (Tan et al., 2020). According to Tan et al. (2010), school leaders ought to understand that it takes time for enhancement of teacher capacity through professional development to manifest through student learning. Given this knowledge, in my future role as a school leader I will ensure that I do not focus more on teacher empowerment and professional development, since these two practices negatively affect student learning. Conversely, I will emphasize on spearheading instructional initiatives that directly impact student learning. Additionally, I will ensure that I undertake professional development that goes beyond instruction and management strategies. For instance, an instructional leadership program (ILP) within a school setting can improve student learning and achievement (MacKinnon et al., 2019).

School leadership directly influences teacher community and instruction. Developing and sharing leadership with teachers is associated with higher academic achievement. By sharing leadership with teachers, school leaders have an increased extent of influence over school improvement. Sebastian et al. (2016) explains that leaders influence student learning through various ways. However, leadership has limited influence on student achievement. School leadership for instance can improve student learning by improving the school climate. This can be achieved by enhancing school safety and improving student behaviors. School leaders’ organizational management is also directly associated with the achievement outcomes. School leaders should embrace the role of indirect instructional leadership through the provision of supporting condition for good instruction and student learning. School leadership is responsible for providing a safe environment where teachers and students feel safe. Some of the instructional leadership activities that leaders can participate in include providing feedback on pedagogy, structuring professional development, reviewing lesson plans, going on walk-throughs (Sebastian et al., 2016). Understanding these concepts is vital for my future role as a school leader. I will ensure that I provide a safe environment where teacher can promote successful student learning. A safe learning environment will support positive school achievement.

In conclusion, various concepts regarding the role of school leaders in shaping learning have been identified and described. School leaders play a significant role in the success of a school. They are responsible for school development, planning and identifying priorities. Effective school leaders provide a clear vision and sense of direction to the school. Additionally, effective school leaders focus the attention of staff on what is important and is directly associated with the success of students. A school leader should focus on developing self and working with others through performance management, and effective professional development for the staff. School leaders face numerous challenges as they strive to enhance learning. School leadership is a demanding profession, hence a school leader ought to be able to manage the human, material and financial school resources, while also planning and managing the school improvement plan. These tasks require energy and commitment, which can be difficult for some school leaders. Therefore, the use of evidence-based leadership strategies is paramount.