On the practice architectures of instructional leadership

Petri Salo, Jan Nylund, Else Stjernstrøm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


     This paper explores the concept of instructional leadership and principals’ perceptions of the

    practices of instructional leadership. Despite the emphasis on the effects of school leadership

    regarding teaching practices and learning outcomes, research on direct instructional leadership is

    scarce. It is focused either on identifying overall leadership practices or on measuring the effect of

    various intangible school level variables, such as school climate, on student learning. The concepts

    related to instructional leadership are ambiguous and vague, and challenged by contemporary

    understandings of school leadership (transformative and distributed leadership). The data consists

    of narratives written by principals from Norway, Sweden and Finland on successful and unsuccessful

    efforts of guiding teachers’ work in the classroom. These narratives are used for enabling

    principals to communicate their experiences of the complexity of interacting with teachers in

    instructional matters. A theoretical framework of practice architectures is used to elucidate the

    material, discursive and relational aspects of instructional leadership. A three-step analysis of the

    data suggests that successful instructional leadership is characterized by solidity, co-production

    and direction. Interestingly, principals’ narratives on instructional leadership lack an explicit

    vocabulary of didactics, examples of face-to-face guidance of teaching as well as direct professional

    relationships for strengthening teaching practices.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)1–17
    JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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