Leading effective practice
Being an effective school leader can help drive quality instruction and improve student outcomes.
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) highlights continued self-growth as a key feature of being an effective leader.
Coaching and mentoring
Being an effective coach and mentor is a valuable tool for a school leader. Coaching and mentoring can help develop a teacher’s understanding of evidence-based literacy instruction and build their confidence in delivering this instruction.
The gradual release of responsibility model is an evidence-based framework that encompasses the ‘I do, We do, You do’ approach. It is an important feature of best practice literacy instruction and can also be used as a framework to coach teachers.
The coach begins by taking responsibility for planning and models best practice literacy teaching. As teacher knowledge and confidence grows, the coach provides less and less scaffolding. Through collaboration and guidance from the coach, the teacher takes on more responsibility for planning and teaching.
The coach continues to support the teacher by assisting with planning, providing feedback and answering questions until the teacher is confident to plan collaboratively with their peers and implement best practice instruction in their classroom.
Find out more about coaching and mentoring:
This study found that quality coaching facilitated teachers to change their instruction and they ‘demonstrated deeper understanding of strategies for literacy instruction’.
- Teachers taking up explicit instruction: the impact of a professional development and directive instructional coaching model
This research paper by Lorraine Hammond and Wendy Moore from Edith Cowan University describes a coaching program focused on teachers beginning to use explicit instruction. It found three elements were valuable in the coaching process: the coach’s positive tone; detailed written feedback; and provision of suggestions that were direct, specific and limited in number.
This Victorian Department of Education guide provides comprehensive and practical information on being a mentor within the school context. It includes a range of strategies and ideas to support and mentor teachers.
Supporting best practice literacy instruction
School leaders can support staff to implement an evidence-informed literacy program by:
- organising professional learning that aligns with school goals and teacher needs
- providing quality resources.
Organising quality professional learning ensures that your team is consistent in their approach to teaching literacy. Undertaking professional learning as a team can be an effective way to encourage collaboration and build a group understanding and shared vocabulary.
The Literacy Hub’s suite of professional learning materials is a great place to explore free evidence-based professional learning. Use these resources to see what effective literacy instruction looks like:
- Engage with resources and webinar recordings from the Literacy Hub's professional learning on explicit direct instruction for phonics – an instructional model and choosing and using decodable resources.
- View this Illustration of practice to see how a school leader leads a team in planning for explicit literacy teaching.
- This phonics instructional model for reading and spelling outlines the attributes of using an explicit direct instruction model, and includes a sample phonics lesson.
Providing consistent and high-quality resources will support teachers to implement effective lessons and improve student outcomes. Explore these Literacy Hub resources:
- The Literacy Hub phonics progression includes a sequence of letter–sound correspondences and phonics skills for development across Foundation to Year 2.
- This list of decodable words and sentences is aligned to each phase of the Literacy Hub phonics progression.
- These 12 shared reading texts can be read aloud to students and are accompanied by teaching materials and learning sequences related to the Big Six of reading.
- This daily review example is a ready-to-use slide pack that can be edited to match any phonics lesson.