Instructional Leadership Teams: Driving Student Success through Feedback Loops – Digital Promise

Instructional Leadership Teams: Driving Student Success through Feedback Loops

Illustration showing feedback loops

January 17, 2024 | By

Teachers hold the key to unlocking students’ potential and shaping their futures. In our journey to enhance student achievement, we often look to teachers for inspiration and motivation. Yet, it’s equally important to recognize that teachers themselves need support, guidance, and a feedback mechanism to drive continuous improvement. Instructional Leadership Teams (ILT)—groups of teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals who collaborate to improve teaching and learning within a school or district—serve as the catalyst for achieving this, empowering teachers to make a lasting impact in their classrooms. They play a multifaceted role in the education ecosystem, but one of their primary functions is to act as a feedback loop.

Unlocking Student Potential Through Instructional Leadership Teams

Henry Lord Community School (HLCS) in Fall River, Massachusetts, was a turnaround school previously measuring at the 6th percentile and has now moved to the 13th percentile. Part of this growth can be attributed to the intentional and focused work of the Instructional Leadership Team through feedback loops. These feedback loops are continuous and responsive to the needs of students, teachers, and the school community.

The HLCS ILT’S first intentional feedback loop began in 2021 when the ILT defined and set the vision for excellent instruction based on research and the district vision. Next, the team conducted data dives, looked for vertical trends, and prioritized initiatives. The ILT agreed that excellent instruction begins with excellent planning. Teacher leaders began to use lesson planning protocols (created by the ILT) within their team meetings. The ILT continued to meet regularly to share feedback and refine the protocols. Teacher surveys and walkthrough observations supported the views and direction of the ILT. The feedback loop continued as teacher input, student data, and walkthrough observations informed professional development sessions and PLT. Teachers felt empowered and supported to meet the vision. This team approach through feedback loops with a consistent focus led to student achievement.
Instructional Leadership Teams are the cornerstones of educational improvement. By serving as a feedback loop to improve student achievement, they empower teachers to inspire, motivate, and persuade themselves to take action.

Inspiration: The Spark for Action

Inspiration is a potent force for change. Instructional Leadership Teams can inspire teachers through various means, such as:

Sharing Success Stories
ILT can share success stories within the teaching community. Highlighting the achievements of fellow teachers who have made significant improvements in student outcomes serves as a powerful source of inspiration. These stories showcase what is possible through dedication, hard work, and effective teaching strategies.

Celebrating Achievements
Celebrating the achievements of teachers, no matter how big or small, is a powerful motivational tool. When teachers see that their hard work is recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to be inspired to continue putting forth their best efforts.

Encouraging Innovation
Innovation in teaching and learning is a wellspring of inspiration. ILTs can foster an environment that encourages teachers to experiment with new approaches, explore creative solutions, and continuously adapt. The process of innovation itself is inherently motivating and can lead to improved student outcomes.

Motivation: Driving Change from Within

Motivation is the engine that powers meaningful change. Instructional Leadership Teams can motivate teachers through the following approaches:

Setting Clear Goals
ILT helps teachers set clear and achievable goals. Teachers are most motivated when they have a well-defined path to follow and can see the steps they need to take to reach their objectives.

Providing Support
Support from ILTs comes in many forms, including mentorship, access to resources, and assistance in implementing new teaching methods. Feeling supported and having the necessary tools can be a significant source of motivation.

Recognizing Effort
Recognition is a powerful motivator. Teachers who see their efforts acknowledged, even in the absence of immediate results, are more likely to stay motivated and committed to their goals.

Persuasion: Making a Compelling Case for Change

Persuasion is about presenting logical and practical reasons for change. ILTs can persuade teachers through the following methods:

Sharing Research and Data
Instructional Leadership Teams can present teachers with research and data that demonstrate the positive impact of specific instructional practices. This evidence-based approach is compelling and persuades teachers to adopt new strategies in their classrooms.

Demonstrating Benefits
ILT can articulate the benefits of change, such as improved student outcomes, career advancement, and personal growth. When teachers understand how change can enhance their professional and personal lives, they are more likely to be persuaded to take action.

Offering Incentives
Incentives, whether in the form of recognition, professional development opportunities, or career advancement, can be persuasive motivators. ILTs can collaborate with administrators to establish systems that reward teachers for taking actions to improve student achievement.

As we strive for excellence in education, let us remember that teachers are not just recipients of inspiration and motivation but also the bearers of these forces. Through the support of Instructional Leadership Teams, teachers become the driving force behind positive change in the classroom, forever changing the trajectory of their students’ lives.

CALL to Action:

Join or form an ILT at your school and embrace feedback loops to guide your work. Collaborate with your fellow educators and administrators to set clear goals based on research and data. Remember, educators, you are not just recipients of inspiration and motivation; you are the driving force behind positive change in the classroom. By actively participating in Instructional Leadership Teams, you are shaping the trajectory of your students’ lives.

Want to know more about feedback loops? Find more resources here:

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