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Student-Centered Leadership

Student-Centered Leadership

Viviane Robinson

ISBN: 978-1-118-09029-9

Jun 2011, Jossey-Bass

192 pages



Student-Centered Leadership offers a timely and thoughtful resource for school leaders who want to turn their ideals into action. Written by educational leadership expert Viviane Robinson, the book shows leaders how they can make a bigger difference to the quality of teaching and learning in their school and ultimately improve their students' performance.

This book is based not on fad or fashion but on the best available evidence about the impact of different types of leadership on student outcomes. The book includes examples of five types of leadership practice as well as rich accounts of the knowledge and skills that leaders need to employ them with confidence.

Filled with practical lessons, clear information, and much inspiration, Robinson encourages leaders to experiment with changing how they lead so they can transform their schools for the better.

Student-Centered Leadership is part of the Jossey-Bass Leadership Library in Education series.

Praise for Student-Centered Leadership

"Student-Centered Leadership shines with clarity and practical, powerful ideas. Add this book to your leadership library."—Michael Fullan, author, The Six Secrets of Change and Leading in a Culture of Change

"Viviane Robinson's compelling book is both evidence based and profoundly practical."—Steve Munby, chief executive, National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services, England

"This book will be an equally important resource for individual school leaders, professional developers, and administrator-preparation programs. There will be two copies on my shelf—one to loan and one for my own reference."—Karen Seashore Louis, Regents Professor, University of Minnesota

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Figures and Tables vii

The Author ix

Acknowledgments xi

1 The “What” and the “How” of Student-Centered Leadership 1

2 Three Capabilities for Student-Centered Leadership 21

3 Dimension One: Establishing Goals and Expectations 45

4 Dimension Two: Resourcing Strategically 61

5 Dimension Three: Ensuring Quality Teaching 81

6 Dimension Four: Leading Teacher Learning and Development 103

7 Dimension Five: Ensuring an Orderly and Safe Environment 125

8 Putting Education Back into Educational Leadership 143

References 157

Index 167

Figures and Tables


Figure 1.1 Five Dimensions of Student-Centered Leadership 9

Figure 1.2 Five Dimensions Supported by Three Leadership Capabilities 16

Figure 2.1 How Relational Trust Works in Schools 34

Figure 2.2 Two Ineffective Strategies for Dealing with Performance Problems 37

Figure 3.1 How Goal Setting Works 47

Figure 5.1 The Ladder of Inference 99

Figure 5.2 Questions for Checking the Validity of Inferences 100

Figure 6.1 Two Competing Theories About the Use of Data About Reading Achievement 117

Figure 6.2 Two Strategies for Leading Teacher Change 118


Table 2.1 The Relationship Between Three Principals’ Pedagogical Understandings and Their Conduct of Classroom Observations 25

Table 2.2 A Problem-Solving Skill: Identifying Solution Requirements 29

Table 2.3 Principals’ Problem Solving: A Comparison of Expert and Typical Principals 33

Table 2.4 An Open-to-Learning Approach to Communicating Performance Concerns 40

Table 2.5 Key Components of an Open-to-Learning Conversation About a Performance Issue 41

Table 3.1 Goal Setting: Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them 56

Table 4.1 Some Criteria for the Design of Smart Tools 72

Table 5.1 Questions for Inquiry into the Quality of Teaching 92

Table 8.1 Ambivalent Leadership of a Team Meeting 153