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Key competencies are not only about what students learn in a classroom. They are about students applying learning in a wide range of authentic contexts – at school, at home and in the wider community. It is important for school leadership to establish systems and a culture in which teachers, students, parents, and caregivers recognise how learning occurs across all of those contexts, and create educationally powerful connections with family, whānau, and communities.
Teachers need to be able to be responsive to students’ capabilities as they occur at school, at home, and beyond. Effective principals will ensure the school community develops in a way that connections can be made between these contexts.
Parents and whānau also need to be able to support their child’s learning. Effective leadership will build school-family connections that focus on teaching and learning. They will ensure that the most powerful connections are developed (those, for instance, that help parents support their children’s learning at home and school or those that incorporate family and community knowledge into curriculum and teaching). A key role for school leadership will be in supporting communities to recognise key competencies as a valued aspect of student learning. Effective leadership will also reduce expectations likely to lead to negative outcomes for learners (requirements for parent involvement that are not supported, homework surveillance/parent help with homework).
Networks with those in the wider community will also help students and teachers as they seek opportunities for students to apply their learning beyond school in authentic ways. Leaders have a key role in fostering those networks by developing relationships with community partners – for instance, across schools and centres and with community groups.
This leadership section draws on the work of the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document and on the work of Professor Viviane Robinson and her team on the Educational Leadership Best Evidence Synthesis.
Published on: 18 June 2009