An of the element and requirement of being an Instructional Leader is to understand current pedagogy and curriculum. To me this means a couple of things and when I spoke with some of my administrative colleagues I was glad in the fact that to them it also meant a variety of things.
I first thought the concept meant that I was supposed to know all of the curriculum objectives and elements that were taught through out the school year. I was relieved to know that I did not have to know it all. Whew. It did however mean to me that as the instructional leader I am responsible for ensuring that there is a common theme and thread that is followed and employed by the teachers in the school. As stated by the SEDL : this standard means that there is a:
Focus on alignment of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and standards: If student achievement is the goal
and that goal is measured by standards-based assessments, the curriculum, instruction, and assessments all
must be aligned with the standards. If there is a disconnect among these elements, student achievement will
not be evident.Alignment is an ongoing process as
standards, curriculum, and assessments cycle through
This can be a multitude of things, but the most key element is that the pedagogy that is being used be guided by the mission of the school as well as be representative of best practice. O.K. enough with the deep educational jargon, but what does this mean, right?
This to me means that teachers are using items across the board in the delivery, implementation and assessment of student learning. Therefore if I was to speak on the area of Literacy I would expect some of the following. That all teachers were using a similar method to asses where a student is in their understanding, comprehension and fluency in readings. This could be a simple as using the Jerry Johns.
Then there are area such as delivery in this area, I would suggest elements such as using the daily five when designing the lessons that are being covered or assignments that are being completed in relation to literacy. I would also work towards having all of my teachers being trained in using the elements of Balanced Literacy, because the program uses multiple methods of reading and writing, but also has a focus on vocabulary, how words are created, grouped and how they interact with each other.
In respect to assessment and to me being an instructional leader means, this standard mean that I know how my teachers are assessing the students in their classes. That they are using processes and items that fit what our students need and what our mission states we are doing. Therefore, keeping in mind the schools mission, assessment would include performance based assessments, student self evaluation opportunities, how keeping differentiated practice in mind, that students could chose how they would like to present their understanding and ability. As well, that the students had a clear understanding of what was required of them and of what components they are being assessed on.
The understanding of current pedagogy and curriculum is one that is, in my opinion a hard quality to keep up on. As styles, techniques and understandings change, best practice and what works for individual students at times be overwhelming, However, I believe that this allows for another aspect of being an instructional leader to come in to play and that is to facilitate teachers to be able to connect with those that do know. I say this because, no longer are administers the keepers of knowledge, just as teachers roles have changed for students, so have administrators roles have changed.