Thursday, September 16, 2010

Principal Behaviors Affect Learning

The effectiveness of the principal has been found to be only second to teacher quality as a factor in student achievement. Yet, the principal factor may be underestimated because the principal can affect achievement indirectly as well as directly.

In today's posting the direct ways will be mentioned. These include visiting classrooms, frequently interacting with students, publicly celebrating accomplishments of students, and maintaining visibility around the school.

Listening to student voices--especially those of diverse learners and low achieving students--has provided added insights as to what principal behaviors contribute to their learning such as:
  • Not only do principals need to be visible, but they also need to be approachable. They make themselves available to speak with students and engage with them letting students know they are interested in their personal academic challenges and successes.
  • The principals not only visited classrooms on a regular basis but they were interacted with the students while in the classroom.
  • Principals who exhibited both administrative and teacher behaviors were more influential than those who only exhibited administrative behaviors.

The impact of leadership tends to be greatest where the learning needs of students are most acute. In fact, it is next to impossible to meet the needs of diverse learners without the critical component of effective and powerful leadership.

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