Terry Wilhelm

Fostering Shared Leadership

A new article by Terry Wilhelm has been posted under Articles & Research here on AllThingsPLC.  The following is a brief introduction from this valuable new resource.

When teachers begin taking ownership – alongside administrators – for poor student achievement, they will gain ownership of solutions that are developed as a team.

In 1933, Edward VIII shocked the world by abdicating the throne of England in order to marry Wallis Simpson, a divorced American socialite. Disdaining the rituals and trappings of royalty, Edward felt they needed to change to reflect modern times. He also desired to make the throne more accessible to the common people. However, his course of action did not bring these things about. Instead, his brother Albert took the throne, and the monarchy continued just as before.

Extreme examples and non-examples can sometimes be useful to illustrate a point and inform practice, and Edward provides an extreme example of a poor strategy for creating change. Historians would argue that Edward was simply motivated by an entirely selfish aim – marrying Wallis – far more important to him than serving as a leader. Nevertheless, a lesson can be gleaned from Edward in considering a principal’s conundrum: how to develop shared leadership.

Accountability for all students’ success continues to rise. As principals and teachers attend conferences that spark a desire to transform their schools into professional learning communities to improve student learning, shared leadership becomes an urgent necessity. The principalship as a monarchy, holding sole responsibility for all important decisions – with the “princes and princesses” (individual teachers) in their sovereign classrooms engaging in private practice – is an outdated and insufficient model today.

Read the rest of the article (PDF).

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