University Of Tasmania

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Leading change for student achievement

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 17:51 authored by William MulfordWilliam Mulford
This article argues that in order to meet the heightened expectations now placed on schools in a knowledge society, avoid cultural resistance to positive change by those in schools and achieve improved student outcomes (attitudinal, behavioural and academic), we need to not only engage multiple forms of leadership but also have a more complex understanding of relationships between these leaderships and a range of other school and contextual variables. Evidence employed from recent research funded by the Australian Research Council supported by a range of reviews of mainly North American literature on the effects of leadership on student outcomes helps with an identification of these variables and their relationships. Three major, sequential and aligned elements are identified for successful school reform with the leadership emphasis changing with each element. The first element relates to how people are communicated with and treated. Success is more likely where people act rather than are always reacting, are empowered, involved in decision-making through a transparent, facilitative and supportive structure, and are trusted, respected, encouraged, and valued. The second element concerns a professional community. A professional community involves shared norms and values including valuing differences and diversity, a focus on implementation and continuous enhancement of learning for all students, de-privatisation of practice, collaboration, and critical reflective dialogue, especially that based on performance data. The final element relates to the presence of a capacity for change, learning and innovation, or professional learning community. Each element and each transition between them is facilitated by an appropriate ongoing, optimistic, caring, nurturing professional development program.


Publication title

Journal of Educational Change








Faculty of Education



Place of publication


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Socio-economic Objectives

Other education and training not elsewhere classified

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