PDF What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Science

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In Japan, teaching is a respected profession, and teachers have traditionally been paid better than other civil servants. Following WWII, over concerns about teacher shortages, the Prime Minister decreed that teachers would be paid 30 percent more than other civil servants. Although this gap has decreased over the last 50 years, by law teachers remain relatively highly paid among civil servants. The teaching profession in Japan is highly selective, particularly at the hiring phase.


  1. Hypocalcemia.
  2. How to Become a Principal;
  3. Instructional leadership in action.
  4. Standard 1: Know students and how they learn.

Those who do make the cut only do so after a rigorous set of school board exams and evaluations. Teachers must hold a degree from an institution of higher education. Prospective teachers must take the National Center Test for University Admissions in order to be considered for admission into an undergraduate teacher education program.

National universities also often administer their own examinations alongside the national exam. While in training, prospective teachers must take courses in both subject areas and pedagogy, and are evaluated by an experienced teacher under the supervision of a principal.

After graduation from a teacher education program, teachers must undergo a teaching practicum for at least three weeks. Teacher supply exceeds demand. Once teacher preparation is completed, candidates must pass a hiring exam overseen by the prefectural board of education. In addition, prefectural boards of education also typically require a prospective teacher to pass several tests before being hired. The requirements vary in each prefecture.

Teachers are not automatically hired after passing the exam; they are added to the registration list in order of exam score. Those at the top of the list are hired first. Candidates who are not hired are required to retake the exam the following year. In only about one in five new-teacher candidates who took the Public School Teacher Employment Exam were hired as teachers so being hired as a teacher is very competitive. There are virtually no classes taught by teachers who do not hold a certificate in the field or subject they teach.

There are also no alternative routes into teaching. Once teachers have been hired, they undergo a one-year induction period. During this period, they are supervised by a senior teacher who acts as a mentor. Both the new teacher and the mentor are given reduced teaching responsibilities to allow them to work together on classroom management, subject guidance, planning and analyzing classroom teaching. In , Inclusion Alberta reported that 53 per cent of children with disabilities had been secluded or restrained at school. The same year, Inclusion B. Prior to this in British Columbia, two legal cases exemplified how contested and precarious inclusive education is in Canadian schools.

In , the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the B. In , the Court also affirmed the legal right of students with learning disabilities to receive adequate special education supports in schools in what became known as the Moore case. At the centre of this case was student Jeffrey Moore and his father. New Brunswick has provided a model of inclusive education that has served as an example for other contexts, most recently Ireland. As a former elementary and secondary school teacher and school administrator, I am aware of the lived realities of teaching students with special education needs in inclusive classrooms.

Many teachers experience having classes with 25 or 30 students, sometimes with combined grades. Such a scenario could include teaching two grades of curricula, plus teaching multiple students with individual education plans , who may require accommodations, support staff and specialized equipment.

The realistic challenges inherent in this worthy ideal in pursuit of human dignity and belonging are lived out every day in schools. Students, teachers, support staff and principals are in many ways at the forefront of inclusion in society at large. Yet one area that has been lacking has been an informed understanding of what kinds of support principals need as they provide leadership for inclusive schools. Our research team, made up of members of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education , recently completed a study on this topic.

We collected data from principals and vice-principals about their experiences in inclusive schools — that means schools practising the full participation of all learners, as defined by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada. We asked principals from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland to consider the ways in which they support students with special education needs in inclusive schools.

The participants were from elementary and secondary schools, in both English and French language school systems, in urban and rural areas. After this initial data collection, we interviewed 46 of these participants. We wanted to further examine the types of experiences principals described about leading inclusive schools and what kind of professional learning they felt would be helpful.

The results of the study point to some key lessons for school systems across Canada. As a result, leading instructional efforts in a school has evolved into a primary role for school principals.

Principal Licensure and Certification

In order to meet the challenges associated with national and state expectations, principals must focus on teaching and learning—especially in terms of measurable student progress—to a greater degree than heretofore. Consequently, today's principals concentrate on building a vision for their schools, sharing leadership with teachers, and influencing schools to operate as learning communities. Accomplishing these essential school improvement efforts requires gathering and assessing data to determine needs, and monitoring instruction and curriculum to determine if the identified needs are addressed.

This chapter summarizes existing research related to instructional leadership and methods principals use to exhibit and harness that leadership to meet their school goals. In particular, we focus on the following goals: Building and sustaining a school vision Sharing leadership Leading a learning community Using data to make instructional decisions Monitoring curriculum and instruction.

Figure 1. Key References for Instructional Leadership Reference. If you are not sure of where you want to go, how will you ever get there? Furthermore, how will you know when and how to take corrective action along the way? And how will you know when you've arrived at the destination? A successful principal must have a clear vision that shows how all components of a school will operate at some point in the future.

Having a clear image of their schools helps principals avoid becoming consumed by the administrative requirements of their jobs. In fact, principals may need two types of vision: one vision of their schools and the roles they play in those schools, and another vision of how the change process will proceed Manasse, Clearly, multiple role expectations exist for school leaders. All schools need principals to exercise their roles as instructional leaders who ensure the quality of instruction Portin et al. Thus, there is a need to spend time in classrooms observing the process of teaching and learning while also balancing other needs such as student safety and parent relationships.

Fulfilling these multiple responsibilities well requires principals to possess an inner compass that consistently points them toward the future interests of the school, never losing sight of their schools' visions, missions, and goals. Successful principals understand that it is important to establish clear learning goals and garner schoolwide—and even communitywide—commitment to these goals. They hold high expectations that teachers and students will meet these goals and hold themselves accountable for the success of the school. These principals provide emotional support for teachers and are viewed as possessing the ability to foster positive interpersonal relationships.

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They protect instructional time by limiting loudspeaker announcements and scheduling building maintenance to minimize disruptions. They ensure that student progress is monitored through the continual aggregation and disaggregation of student performance data that are directly related to the school's mission and goals. Principals of high-achieving schools are confident that they will accomplish their vision and goals despite challenges and setbacks and, thus, serve as role models for staff and students Cotton, And when milestone achievements are reached, those successful results are celebrated.

Schools need principals who strive to ensure the quality of instruction in their schools Harris, ; Marzano et al. Principals of high-achieving schools are confident that their schools can meet their goals Cotton, Principals of high-achieving schools communicate to all stakeholders that learning is the school's most important mission Cotton, ; Marzano et al.

Guiding a school staff to reach a common vision requires intensive and sustained collaboration. After all, it is the expertise of teachers upon which any quality educational system is built. Wise principals know that going it alone makes meeting instructional goals virtually impossible. A key responsibility of school leaders is to sustain learning, and this can best be accomplished through leading learning endeavors that are focused on long-term outcomes rather than short-term returns.

Chapter 1. Instructional Leadership: Supporting Best Practice

There is no evidence of troubled schools turning around without the influence of strong leadership. Effective leadership sets the direction and influences members of the organization to work together toward meeting organizational goals. Principals can accomplish this essential responsibility by providing individual support, challenging teachers to examine their own practices, and securing models of best practice. Additionally, effective principals develop and depend on leadership contributions from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers and parents Leithwood et al. As key instructional leaders, principals share their leadership with teachers to promote reflection and collaborative investigation to improve teaching and learning.

They also create opportunities for teachers to work together and share teaching practices with one another. Consequently, principals are not the only instructional leaders in a school. In sharing leadership, principals collaborate with teachers to evaluate issues related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As part of this collaborative process, teacher leaders provide valuable insight and ideas to principals as they work together toward school improvement.

Teachers Matter: Understanding Teachers' Impact on Student Achievement | RAND

Principals who tap into the expertise of teachers throughout the process of transforming their schools and increasing the focus on learning are more successful. Interestingly, some evidence suggests that female elementary school principals participate more actively in instructional leadership than their male counterparts. Perhaps most telling is the suggestion that because female administrators tend to assume a major instructional role as central to their work, they shape teachers' attitudes regarding students' ability to master subject matter, thus, having an indirect effect on student outcomes through their teachers Cotton, ; Hallinger et al.

Highly successful principals develop and count on the expertise of teacher leaders to improve school effectiveness Leithwood et al. Principals need to create opportunities for teachers to work together Mendel et al. Principals need to function as the chief instructional leader of their school while balancing multiple responsibilities. Today's principals must become role models for learning while continually or at least regularly seeking tools and ideas that foster school improvement Lashway, Simply put, schooling is organized around two key functions: 1 teaching and learning, and 2 organizing for teaching and learning.

Thus, it seems clear that school principals need to manage the structures and processes of their schools around instruction.


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  • Effective principals make student success pivotal to their work and, accordingly, pay attention to and communicate about instruction, curriculum, and student mastery of learning objectives, and are visible in the school. Learning needs to occur throughout an organization, and principals need to become participants in the learning process in order to shape and encourage the implementation of effective learning models in their schools.