Effective Teachers and Leadership = Improved Student Learning

The educational world is constantly challenging itself to prove pedagogical effectiveness by results, by data.  Data is crucial.  It is a vital tool used to demonstrate learning is happening.  I love data.  I believe collecting data helps to focus on ‘where we came from’ and ‘where we are now’.  I think of the first school I introduced The Leader In Me process to,  and can’t help but acknowledge how data demonstrated its effectiveness.  One piece of data in particular was the reduction of negative behaviours.  In our first year, we collected over 818 incidents of negative behaviour from students.  The subsequent year, after starting The Leader In Me, the negative behaviour totals were reduced to 442 incidents; a reduction of 42%.  By the end of year three, negative behaviour totals were reduced to 12 incidents; a reduction of 92%.

One big question always seems to be:  does this process improve PAT results?  Truth is, I don’t care.  What I do know from personal experience over the past 37 years of teaching, is reduction in negative behaviour improves the school culture and increases student learning.  I doubt anyone would disagree with:  ‘if students are misbehaving, learning is extremely difficult.’  If something helps students to change their behaviour for the better, I believe it helps them learn.  The Leader In Me is one such process.

Other data we collected included the number of truancy (being late to school) incidents.  In the first year we had a total of 1804 ‘lates’.  By the end of year three the number was reduced to 18 (a 95% decrease).

If I had to choose an even more significant area of change, I would need to include the shift of pedagogical (teaching) practice of the teachers in the school.  With the common language of The Leader In Me and the constant call to give students ‘a voice’, a shift from teacher centred teaching to student centred learning became the central focus.  When an entire staff and school are focused on ‘being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, seeking first to understand-then to be understood, thinking win-win, synergizing and sharpening the saw, the results are astounding.  Will a leadership process help you ‘see’ improved results from the one time a year, two-hour summative assessment tool called Provincial Achievement Tests?  Maybe.  The Leader In Me process may or may not improve PAT results.  I can tell you I have seen huge changes happening in at least two schools.  I have witnessed extremely united, happy staffs who spend little or no time disciplining, and all their time improving their craft as they watch students grow in leaps and bounds. Everyone knows the most effective tool to help students learn is having effective teachers. When effective teachers connect students with leadership skills the results will change the culture of the school and prepare students to change the world.  This is the data I look for.

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