Welcome to "Leading the High Performance School". The purpose of this course is to provide professional development for school teachers, leaders, and managers - all involved in the performance of the school and its staff. The course is not designed as a manual on how to implement statutory performance management schemes. There is already abundant authoritative advice available from educational authorities and professional associations on how to achieve this. The course is designed to help education professionals develop an understanding of the components and attributes of the leadership and management of sustainable high performance in schools.
The course is presented in four modules:
- The high performance school
- Leading and managing individual performance
- Strategies to improve and sustain performance
- Leadership for high performance
It'll be very helpful to assemble the following school documents before starting the course, if available:
- your school's Performance Management Policy
- your school's Continuing Professional Development Policy
- copies of job descriptions of those with management responsibilities for performance
This is an independent study program which means your individual starting date and due date are based on your date of registration. Your instructor will advise you of this due date.
This is an interactive online course. Although you will be able to complete some of it just by sitting in front of your screen working through the online material, we will regularly ask you to reflect on what you have learned, and put ideas into practice.
- Activities - exercises or reflections for you to carry out in front of your computer screen. Unlike a Task, there is no specific end product, and you'll always be able to complete them on your own.
- Tasks - similar to Activities, but requiring you to put your learning into practice in a specific situation in school.
- Forms - use to collect the information learned.
a) RESOURCE FORMS: Has PDF forms to help you answer questions in the Student Books
b) RESOURCE FURTHER READING: Includes clarifications about the module.
c) REFERENCE LINKS: Has links to websites referred to in the module.
d) DEFINITIONS: Has definitions of terms used in the module.
e) BIBLIOGRAPHY: The bibliography is located at the bottom of this page that includes books you may check out at your local library.
- Student Book-for you to record your reflections and send to your instructor.
At any time you may email your instructor with questions or problems you may be having with the material or the web site.
How do I get the Student Book to my instructor?
You will need to email it to your instructor. Download and save the document as described below and then you can enter your own text into the Student Book word document. Your instructor will expect a version of your Student Book as you complete each module. These can be saved by you in your files as well as being sent to your course instructor via email as an email attachment.
How do I save and name the Student Book?
You cannot type your answers on this web site. You must download your Student Book template which is a word document, by clicking on the download link below.
For your Student Book, please use a text document or a Microsoft Word document and type your text there. Title the document like this:
- NAME OF CLASS
- NAME OF TEACHER
- YOUR NAME
Save the Student Book on your computer and complete the assignments on the document and then email it to your teacher.
Module 1: The high performance school.
MODULE1A Intended learning outcomes for Module 1
MODULE1B Activity 1: Understanding high performance
MODULE1C Activity 2: High performance in education
MODULE1D Task 1: What is high performance in education?
MODULE1E High performance in education – the learning points
MODULE1F The characteristics of the high performance school
MODULE1G Activity 3: The characteristics of the high performance school
MODULE1H Task 2: Reviewing the high performance school
MODULE1I What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 1
MODULE2A Intended learning outcomes
MODULE2B Job clarification and definition
MODULE2C Activity 4: Understanding your job
MODULE2D The variables influencing individual performance
MODULE2E Activity 5: The variables influencing individual performance
MODULE2F The components of sustainable high performance
MODULE2G Activity 6: The components of sustainable high performance
MODULE2H Motivation and high performance
MODULE2I Task 3: Motivation and high performance
MODULE2J Resources and high performance
MODULE2K Activity 7: Resources and high performance
MODULE2L Development and high performance
MODULE2M Activity 8: Development and high performance
MODULE2N Activity 9: Relationships and high performance
MODULE2O What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 2
Module 3: Strategies to improve and sustain performance
MODULE3A Intended learning outcomes
MODULE3B The performance management cycle
MODULE3C Activity 10: The performance management cycle
MODULE3E Activity 11: Understanding coaching
MODULE3F Activity 12: What makes a good coach?
MODULE3G Activity 13: Coaching in schools
MODULE3H Continuing professional development
MODULE3I Task 4: Effective CPD
MODULE3J Designing effective continuing professional development activities
MODULE3K Activity 14: Models of continuing professional development
MODULE3L Task 5: Models of CPD in your school
MODULE3M What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 3
MODULE3N CongratulationsModule 4: Leadership for high performance-
MODULE4A Intended learning outcome
MODULE4B Activity 15: Understanding culture
MODULE4C Leadership and culture
MODULE4D Activity 16: Leadership, culture and performance
MODULE4E Task 6: Reflection on you as leader
MODULE4F What have you learned? Evaluation of your learning from Module 4
Module 1: The high performance school
When you've completed this module you should be able to:
- understand the concept of high performance
- develop criteria for the high performance school
- review your own school's capacity for high performance
MODULE1B Activity 1: Understanding high performance
High performance is a key concept in our lives. The concept is almost universally seen as desirable in almost every aspect of human activity. In the past ten years it has become a central component of government education policy and is increasingly regarded as an essential element of the service offered by individual international or independent schools. Before exploring what high performance means in schools, it's worth clarifying the components of high performance in general terms.
In your Student Book (1), identify the common characteristics of organizations that have to be high performing, i.e., where failure would be disastrous. You might consider air traffic control, operating theatres, nuclear power stations, a motor racing team. When you've completed your list , provide a practical example of each and give a reason why it's important.
Now compare your list with ours in Resource 1: The characteristics of high performance.
When you've completed your list in your Student Book (1) and revised it in response to ours, apply it to your school. In your Student Book (2) , list your criteria for high performance organizations and your observations on how they apply to schools. Then refer to our comments in Resource 2: High performance characteristics in schools.
It's easy to judge the performance of a motor racing team - it wins! A team that consistently fails to finish may have a car that goes very fast, but that is not enough. It has to come first. Such measures of performance are easy. But what about the operating theatre? The skill of the surgical team may be countered by the severity of the disease, unforeseen complications, etc. What about the performance of an orchestra? How does one person make a judgment when it's obviously such a matter of taste?
The performance of schools has to be judged within a complex range of possibilities. However, schools are accountable, and it's this accountability that is the basis of how performance is measured.
The purpose of Task 1 is to get you to collect different perceptions of high performance in schools. You will need to interview appropriate people. Use this task to help you clarify the issues. In your Student Book (3), give definitions of high performance for each stakeholder group and make additional notes of your observations and findings.
Task 1 will probably have confirmed your view that schools, in terms of performance, are unlike almost any other organization. They differ in two important respects:
1. there are multiple perspectives on what constitutes high performance in education, and responding to them is a highly complex leadership task
2. in the USA and UK, the government perspective dominates all others
For most education systems, performance is judged in terms of quantifiable outcomes that are used as the basis of comparative test results. These include standardized tests and external exam results, as well as internally devised measures. These figures play an important role in the judgments that are formed about schools.
Other measures of performance that you may have come across include:
- parents wanting their children to be successful and enjoy school
- children wanting school to help them succeed, to be "fun", to be safe, and so on
- employers wanting young people who are employable
- education professionals wanting to educate the "whole child"
All of these are valid and, of course, not mutually exclusive. Society tends to value those things which can be measured and there is often a tension between the external accountability demands on the school and the internal desire to give priority and status to things which cannot always be measured.
Now return to your reflections in Student Book 3 and review your own priorities and values and the problems of defining performance. This issue is central to the rest of this course and will be approached from a number of different perspectives in the following modules.
Although it's difficult to be precise about what constitutes high performance in education, it's not difficult to identify school characteristics that are generally recognized to be high performing. We'll outline a number of criteria for high performance schools from a range of sources. They can be summarized in a number of key propositions. The high performing school:
- has a clear sense of purpose
- has clear and shared vision and values
- has leadership in depth
- works through value-driven management processes
- provides explicit definitions of performance standards
- engages in systematic monitoring review and evaluation
- focuses on improvement and learning
- recognizes, reinforces and celebrates success
This list can be expressed in a number of ways and in any order. What's important is that a school has a clear sense of its own list and priorities.
The purpose of this activity is to give you the opportunity to consider to what extent your school meets the criteria for high performance. For each proposition consider:
- the criteria for the existence of each characteristic
- the extent to which your school meets these criteria - the evidence for them
Record your ideas in your Student Book (4). Examples are provided to help you.
Now click on Resources 3 to compare the criteria you've listed in your resources with our list
- you must secure permission in advance - this kind of survey can be politically sensitive
- colleagues must know that this is a survey being carried out as part of a professional development program
- you need to think carefully about your sample - how many people you'll survey and on what basis you'll select your sample
- people will need to know if the results will be made public - we suggest that the survey is anonymous and that the results are for your use only (however, if they become part of a school improvement strategy this is obviously to your advantage)
When you have worked through the activities in this module, look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 1. By the end of this module you should: understand the concept of high performance be able to develop criteria for the high performance school have reviewed your own school's capacity for high performance How much has this course helped you achieve these outcomes? Make a note in your Student Book (6) and e-mail us your comments.
By the end of this module you should:
- understand how to define a job to support high performance
- recognize the key variables influencing individual performance
- know the components of individual performance
The starting point for any discussion of individual performance is the way in which the job is actually described. It's inappropriate and unfair to expect somebody to work to an acceptable level of performance without defining those expectations. Many so-called job descriptions in schools are actually little more than lists of tasks, and rarely provide indications of what would constitute acceptable levels of performance. Poor performance can often be the result of:
- role ambiguity - lack of clarity and definition
- role conflict - too many competing demands
Just as the best teachers are clear about their expectations in the classroom, the best leaders are clear about their expectations of their colleagues.
How useful is your job description in helping you to work to an appropriate standard?
Do you actually have a job description? It is not your contract of employment terms of conditions - a job description should be an accurate statement of the job as it actually is.
Go to your Student Book (7) to analyze how clear an idea you have of your job. Use your current job description or experience of the job itself if you do not have an agreed job description. Resource 5: Job Description Prompts.
Even if a job is carefully and fully defined, there's no guarantee that an individual will actually be able to perform satisfactorily. There are many factors that determine the capacity of a person to work to an appropriate level of performance. One way understanding this is to see individual performance as a relationship between two key factors:
- engagement - the level of personal motivation, commitment and willingness to do the job
- capacity - the level of knowledge, skills, technical competence and professional experience
The relationship between these two variables is demonstrated in the following diagram:
Think through the implications for performance of each position - you might find it helpful to think of individuals that you have worked with.
In your StudentBook (8) reflect on each position in the diagram and write down:
- the characteristics and implications of that position (a)
- the appropriate responses to it (b)
Once you've completed this activity, look at our responses in Resource 6: Individual performance. Go back and review your own response in Student Book (8) after reading this material. Having completed this analysis, use the model to reflect on the performance of your own team and most importantly on your own performance. Record your thoughts in your Student Book (9) .
Perhaps the easiest way to understand the components of sustainable high performance is to see them as four variables in permanent interaction. This relationship is shown in the following diagram: The rest of this module is devoted to examining each of these components in turn. It's helpful to reflect on each of them now, and how they relate to sustainable high performance.
In your Student Book (10), give your definitions of motivation, resources, learning and relationships in the context of high performance. Why is each significant? How do they interact?
- motivation is a personal and subjective phenomenon, it's a matter of perception
- one human being cannot motivate another, they can only support an individual's predisposition
- motivation is a complex equation involving the level of commitment, the desirability of the outcome and the likelihood of it being achieved
- what motivates an individual will be a product of their personality, personal value system and life experience as well as their current social situation
In order to help you develop a better appreciation of the factors influencing motivation at work, use diagnostic tool Resource 7: Motivation and high performance inventory to survey your colleagues.
When you've completed the survey, analyze the results to show the individual and shared priorities of your colleagues, i.e., for each factor show its rank order and the number of mentions it obtained. Write up your results in your Student Book (11).
MODULE2J Resources and high performance In a complex area like education, there's a real debate on the impact of resources and performance. Some of the most inspiring teaching takes place in shocking buildings with limited supplies of books and materials, while, conversely, modern, well equipped classrooms with all the latest gadgets and learning resources can produce poor learning and teaching. Resources therefore are contextual. They don't guarantee high performance on their own. Having said that, they can make a real difference! The key issue is what is meant by resources, and how they might influence performance.
Think of the different types of resources that are needed to support effective learning and teaching, and consider why each is significant. Focus on a particular lesson, class or topic to make your analysis more detailed. Record your ideas in your Student book (12). To see the key resources that support performance look at Resource 8: Key resources to support performance. The significance and impact of each will vary according to context, but their significance in general terms is explained.
- creates new knowledge and understanding
- develops new skills
- builds confidence to work in a new way
- supports learning in the future
In your Student book (13), reflect on any successful learning you have engaged in recently which was not linked with your work, e.g., learning to drive, learning to swim, mastering a foreign language or a musical instrument, etc. Identify the characteristics that made your learning successful. Then think of the most successful professional learning that you've engaged in and identify the factors that made it successful. What conclusions do you draw about successful learning? Look at Resource 9: Criteria for effective personal and professional learning - these ideas may prompt your own thinking.
This will be dealt with in more detail in Module 4. At this stage, simply reflect on the quality of professional relationships in any high performing situation you've worked in. In your Student book (14), describe how people actually behave, the sort of language they use and the overall 'feel' of being part of a high performing team or organization.
When you've worked through the activities in this module, look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 2. By the end of this module you should: understand how to define a job to support high performance recognize the key variables influencing individual performance know the components of individual performance How much has this course helped you achieve these outcomes? Make a note in your Student book (15) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.
By the end of this module you should:
- understand the concept of the performance management cycle
- know the principles of successful coaching
- understand the components of effective CPD
Sustainable high performance is not achieved by luck, goodwill or pious aspiration. The high performing school has a clear and explicit strategy to ensure that performance is at the centre of every aspect of the school's management systems and structures. Any approach to performance management should integrate the following elements:
- a clear statement of purpose, vision and values (the mission statement)
- a strategy to translate principles into practice (the improvement or development plan)
- clear definitions of levels of performance (job descriptions, school policies, schemes of work)
- systematic monitoring, review and evaluation
It is common practice to see these elements in a cyclical relationship:
To what extent are the elements of the performance management cycle present in your school? Note down examples in your Student book (16). Then comment on the extent that they actually inform daily practice. Look at Resource 10: The performance management cycle. Obviously it's impossible to comment on your school, but this resource covers a number of typical situations.
If the performance management cycle is the skeleton of high performance then coaching is its flesh and blood. Coaching is the single most important factor in translating principles into practice - it brings all of the structures and systems of high performance approaches to life into individual terms. There is abundant evidence that coaching is one of the most powerful strategies to support individual capability and motivation.
Coaching and mentoring are often used as interchangeable terms, but they have specific meanings that need to be understood and used accurately.
Resource 11: Coaching and mentoring details the differences.
In your Student book (17) list the characteristics of coaching and mentoring and draw out the differences between them.
Using your responses to Activity 11 answer the following questions in your Student book (18):
What are the essential components of coaching?
What are the skills of the effective coach?
What behaviors would you expect a skilled coach to use?
See our responses to these questions in Resource 12: Answers to key questions about coaching.
Coaching is fundamental to the high performance school. Everyone should be a coach. Coaching is basic to effective learning - it works as well for five year olds as it does for 50 year olds. The capacity of any top athlete to perform at the highest level is significantly influenced by the quality of coaching they receive. It's the same for all learners - from the youngest child to the oldest teacher.
In many ways the roles of teacher, manager and leader is best expressed through coaching. In your Student book (19) reflect on the genuine coaching culture in your school. If you are lucky you will have been informally mentored over the years or had critical friendships, but these are often by chance. In the high performance school coaching has to be the fundamental relationship.
Read Resource 13: Expectations of coaching in schools. (Note: if you'd like to find out more about coaching, we offer a complete course on the subject called "An introduction to coaching".)
Few areas of school life have changed as radically in recent years as the training and development of education professionals. It's changed from being random, ad-hoc and variable to being integrated, systematic and of a consistent quality. The labels applied have changed, but CPD is still widely used. The label doesn't matter as long as the focus is on learning to sustain high performance.
Personal learning was discussed in Module 2. This section reviews the importance of a whole-school approach to sustaining high performance through building capacity. The purpose of this section is to help you develop your own criteria for successful and effective CPD in schools.
Talk to the person responsible for coordinating professional development in your school, and a range of colleagues and ask them to identify the criteria for effective CPD. Use Resource 14: Model for effective CPD to help in your discussions and recording of information about CPD.
Review their comments and try to synthesize them into seven or eight criteria in your Student book (20).
In order to meet the criteria you've developed for effective CPD, it's important it's designed to maximize its impact. There are numerous models of CPD, and all have strengths and weaknesses according to context.
In yourStudent book (21) list as many different means of delivering CPD as you can think of. You can use Resource 15: Models of CPD as a prompt. Note that effective CPD requires a combination of strategies to suit a specific need.
Take your list of models of CPD - Resources (21) - to produce a questionnaire as shown in the Resources 16: CPD diagnostic questionnaire. Define a specific CPD need and ask a range of colleagues to complete the questionnaire. Use two or three different topics to build up a full picture of CPD in your school.
Analyze and record your results to develop a review of the effectiveness of CPD provision in your school. Consider:
- the implications of your findings for CPD in your school
- your school's published strategy and how it coincides with your findings about effective CPD
- on the basis of your analysis the recommendations you would make about the management of CPD in your school
When you've worked through the activities in this module, look again at the intended learning outcomes for Module 3.
By the end of this module you should:
- understand the concept of the performance management cycle
- know the principles of successful coaching
- understand the components of effective continuing professional development
How much has this course helped you achieve these outcomes? Make a note in your Student book (22) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.
By the end of this module you should understand the contribution of leadership to the high performing school.
This module focuses on only one aspect of leadership - its relationship with high performance. It would be impossible to do the topic of leadership justice in one module. It's a course in its own right.
Much of the content of this course so far points to leadership rather than management as the basis for sustainable high performance. There are numerous discussions of the differences between leadership and management. One way to understand the difference is to contrast them in terms of their key characteristics: management - structures, systems and procedures, short-termism leadership - relationships, values the strategic
Read Resource 17: Creating a performance culture, taken from Performance management in schools (see bibliography). When you've read it, note in your Student book (23) what'll help you develop your criteria for a high performance culture. Resource 18: Essential components of a performance culture outlines the criteria for high performance.
Clearly it is impossible to "manage" something as complex as a culture. It requires nurturing, development and growth. Leadership behavior is therefore a crucial factor in creating a high performance culture. Daniel Goleman in his most recent book, The new leaders (see bibliography) argues that leadership styles are one of the most significant factors in creating a high performance culture.
He states: "Quite simply, in any human group the leader has maximal power to sway everyone's emotions. If people's emotions are pushed towards the range of enthusiasm, performance can soar; if people are driven towards rancor and anxiety they will be thrown off stride."
Goleman identifies six leadership styles, each one having a distinct effect on organizational climate. Read Resource 19: The leadership styles in a nutshell.
Goleman's model argues for an explicit link between a leadership style and climate, although it's important to remember that each has its place in the leadership repertoire. In your Student book (24) consider each style in turn, and provide from your own experience examples of how that style manifests itself and the implications of using that style.
Now spend some time reflecting on how you lead in order to secure high performance in your classroom, team or school. Using the various elements reviewed, write a critical appraisal of yourself as you currently lead and, if appropriate, how you feel you should aim to lead in the future. Share this with your coach.
- What personal strategies might you develop?
- How can you influence the creation of a high performance culture in your school?
- What are the implications for working with your students, colleagues and those who lead you?
You may want to record your thoughts and ideas in your Student book (25).
When you have worked through the activities in this module, look again at the intended learning outcome for Module 4. By the end of this module you should understand the contribution of leadership to the high performing school. How much has this course helped you to achieve this outcome? Make a note in your Student book (26) and e-mail your comments to your instructor.
Resource 9: Criteria for effective personal and professional learning
- intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation
- perceived personal relevance and interest
- appropriate learning materials and resources
- negotiated strategies to suit your learning style
- opportunities for success
- recognition and reinforcement of success
- support to apply your new learning
|Resource 10: The performance management cycle
|Resource 11: Coaching and mentoring
Resource 12: Answers to key questions about coaching
What are the essential components of coaching?
- recognition of the professional expertise and credibility of the coach
- a long-term relationship based on regular contact
- regular, systematic and formative feedback on performance in the actual job
- proposing strategies to improve performance, providing support to introduce those strategies
- negotiating targets to sustain improvement
- providing feedback on the implementation of new strategies
- consolidation and reinforcement of success
- building a win/win interdependent approach
- empathy and sensitivity
- active listening and appropriate questioning
- supportive challenging and option building
- analysis of evidence
- problem solving and negotiation
- building the self-esteem of the person being coached by recognizing their existing skills, abilities and knowledge
- acting as a model of good professional practice
- creating a climate of high trust based on mutual respect, recognition of competence and removing fear of failure
- responding to the whole person - dealing with the personal and professional, the emotional and the
- showing genuineness and authenticity
Resource 13: Expectations of coaching in schools
Coaching is used:
- as part of the induction of a new skill
- in developing new skills and knowledge
- to improve performance to achieve stated levels
- to provide support with difficult or challenging circumstances
- as part of the regular appraisal of work
- for career development
- to manage poor performance
- to facilitate change
- to reinforce the school's values, purpose and vision
- to model effective learning and teaching strategies
Resource 14: Model for effective CPD
Your criteria will obviously be a reflection of your experience and the circumstances and needs of your school. The following is a generic model that can be adopted to meet specific contexts:
- relevant, focused on the actual job
- specific, based on individual needs
- cost effective, value for money
- practical, applicable and problem solving
- resources and support are available
- accreditation and recognition for career development are available as appropriate
- it makes a difference, it has impact
Resource 15: Models of CPD
- out-of-school short courses and workshops
- in-school, externally provided courses
- award-bearing courses
- distance, open and online learning
- team-based learning
- coaching and mentoring
- lectures and presentations
Resource 18: Essential components of a performance culture
The essential components of a performance culture are:
- values and norms
- attitudes, values and skills, images and metaphors
- shared meaning and practice
- dialogue and debate
- intrinsic motivation
- cooperation and collaboration
Resource 19: The leadership styles in a nutshell
How it builds resonance: Moves people toward shared dreams
Impact on climate: Most strongly positive
When appropriate: When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed
How it builds resonance: Connects what a person wants with the organization's goals
Impact on climate: Highly positive
When appropriate: To help an employee improve performance by building long-term capabilities
How it builds resonance: Creates harmony by connecting people to each other
Impact on climate: Positive
When appropriate: To heal rifts in a team, motivate during stressful times, or strengthen connections
How it builds resonance: Values people's input and gets commitment through participation
Impact on climate: Positive
When appropriate: To build buy-in or consensus, or to get valuable input from employees
How it builds resonance: Meets challenging and exciting goals
Impact on climate: Because too frequently poorly executed, often highly negative
When appropriate: To get high-quality results from a motivated and competent team
How it builds resonance: Soothes fears by giving clear direction in an emergency
Impact on climate: Because often misused, highly negative
When appropriate: In a crisis, to kick-start a turnaround, or with problem employees
Occasionally a study or program is mentioned and a link is given
Brighouse T and Woods D
Title How to improve your school (1999)
Publisher Routledge Falmer ISBN 041 519444 X
Author Goleman D
Title The new leaders (2002)
Publisher Little Brown ISBN 0316857661
Author Hartle F et al
Title Getting the best out of performance management in your school (2001)
Publisher Kogan Page ISBN 074 9436379
BACK TO INDEX
Author Jones J
Title Performance management for school improvement (2001)
Publisher David Fulton ISBN 185 3467693
Author Visscher A J
Title Managing schools towards high performance (1999)
Publisher Swets and Zeitlinger ISBN 9026515464
Author West-Burnham J et al
Title Performance management in schools (2001)
Publisher Pearson Education ISBN 0273 65487
These are linked in your outline to take you to further reading and any data forms you might need to help you answer questions
The Reform Support Network of the U.S. Department of Education
Teach to Lead Resources