Leadership for Teacher Quality: Touchpoints and the Spaces In-between

Year: 2019

Author: Drysdale, Lawrence, Gurr, David, Goode, Helen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The purpose is to provide a roadmap for school leaders to ensure teacher quality. The paper argues that a major leadership challenge for school leaders is to attract, develop and maintain the quality, commitment and engagement of teachers over their career, and that leaders need to take a strategic approach over long term. Quality teachers and quality teaching have been a core concern of educational systems and schools around the world. Current evidence-based research has shown that the ‘good’ (effective/inspiring) teacher is a significant factor in improving student outcomes. Estimates of the percentage contribution of teachers to student outcomes varies from 30% (Hattie 2003) to 59% (Alton-Lee 2003; Rowe 2003). With the increased trend towards devolution and greater accountability, school leaders are increasingly be involved in attracting, developing and retaining quality teachers as well as the leader’s traditional role of teacher deployment. They will need take on roles such as talent scout, developer and retainer. An additional consequence of the focus on quality teachers is the attention on underperforming teachers. Within this context we present a conceptual framework that we label a ‘roadmap for teacher quality’. The road map is based on a human resource management framework that integrates several key functions that help leaders identify and acquire the very best prospects and potential for the teaching profession and then support them in their journey. The roadmap outlines the key stages of a teacher’s journey: the aspiration to teach, their preparation and recruitment into the system, and their early experiences with the teaching profession. School leaders can play an important part in at each stage: identifying, acquiring and developing teachers though what we have identified ‘touchpoints. Touch points are key stages in a teacher’s career that can support and encourage them to be the very best they can. Alternatively, teachers can be turned away from the profession through negative experiences. We argue that leaders need to understand the whole journey and intervene to help teachers reach their potential and help them to maintain it over their career.

This paper is largely conceptual although it is based on sound theory and research. We present a road map for leading teacher quality that is based on a strategic human resource management framework. The authors draw on the strategic human resource management literature and the emerging literature on human resources in education to support the road map.