Distributed and Shared Leadership

Everyone learns. Everyone leads. Everyone contributes.

I can’t remember who wrote this statement or when I read it. Once I read it; however,  it has been the banner on my work computer and on my cell phone!  I also believe this statement to sum up the main ideas of this week. Distributed and shared leadership. “Distributed leadership is characterized as a form of collective leadership in which teachers develop expertise by working together” (2004).

Coaching of many types were addressed in this week’s reading. The gradual release of responsibility was mentioned in regards to coaching, which matches perfectly with the statement above. Everyone is learning when both the coach and the teacher get the opportunity to observe each other; leading and contributing through planning lessons,  teaching and reflecting upon decisions and student learning outcomes. The knowledge that comes from these coaching cycles can then be brought to a larger group such as professional development studio work to further contribute to the teaching practice.

I would like to continue my reflection by switching gears, just a bit, and move toward a focus on district coaching as there was an intriguing discussion about whether district coaches are meant to advance system goals or individuals’ goals.

I believe that coaching is distributing leadership simply by empowering the teacher by aiding in filling the gap between theory and practice. Both coaches and classroom teachers have the ‘big picture’ district goals that they must adhere to, and for good reason, as many intelligent people are behind those system goals. So, the answer is to whether the coaches are meant to advance system goals or individuals’ goals? My answer is, “Yes!” Coaches have a big job. They, like gen. ed. teachers (all educators) have the responsibility to keep those system goals  on a pedestal while the coach coaches the classroom teacher in achieving his/her individual goals (that is, at the same time, making sure that the individual’s goals match the system’s goals.)

Harris, Alma. (2004). Distributed leadership and school improvement: Leading or misleading? Educational Management Administration Leadership, 32 (11).