Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 8 - Page 22

Innovation in the Classroom; Instructional Leadership

The KWETB Learning and Teaching Network continues to work towards the goal of improving the learning environment by promoting innovation in our classrooms. The KWETB Learning and Teaching Week, 9-13 November, 2015 was designed to create a focus on Instructional Leadership across all KWETB schools. The week saw novice users of Instructional Leadership engaging with the expertise of more experienced practitioners using the common theme of ‘Lesson Design’. For those schools where Instructional Leadership has embedded itself, it was an opportunity to re-ignite conversations about the practical application of skills, tactics and strategies in classrooms as we work towards being consciously skilled as teachers.

So what does Instructional Leadership mean for our students who benefit from it on a daily basis? It affords an opportunity for independent learning as they become more engaged in thinking for themselves. They participate in pair work and small groups where the learning is cooperative and less reliant on teacher input. Students move from being passive learners to becoming more engaged in the learning process thus creating a positive energy around their learning. They then begin to climb the ladder of Bloom’s Taxonomy to the higher order skills of application, analysis synthesis and evaluation. They develop a greater awareness of metacognition and the ways in which they learn best.

The key to the success of Instructional Leadership is the manner in which it transforms learning for students.

Working in pairs and small groups gives the security of not being singled out, put on the spot, embarrassed or isolated yet everyone is accountable for his/her part in the process. This process of creating a positive interdependence in learning facilitates peer to peer learning and promotes student self-evaluation.

The KWETB Learning and Teaching Network is actively promoting the sharing of ideas across our schools and this collegiality will undoubtedly bring innovation in learning and teaching into the spotlight. The teachers involved in the network are continuing to develop their expertise in Instructional Leadership in their own specialist areas and in turn share this knowledge with their staff.

"Students learn to find their own voice in a safe learning environment."