Leadership for Learning Notes - PDA Learning Summer 2011

Glickman, C. D. (2002). Leadership for learning: How to help teachers succeed. Virginia: ASCD.

Summary: This book is a summary of Glickman’s earlier work on supervision and developmental supervision. He draws upon his research over the years to make a practical guide for instructional leaders.

Chapter 1: Looking at Classroom Teaching and Learning

  • “Successful schools understand that the direct improvement of teaching and learning in every classroom comes via a constellation of individuals and groups who undertake a myriad of activities and initiatives (p. 2).”
  • “But such identities of self and how those identities influence the perspectives of others can have a powerful impact on your efforts to open those classroom doors, possibly determining which teachers you really have access to and which understandings and priorities of learning you wish to see practiced behind the classroom doors (p. 3).”
  • “Certainty (about what good teaching is) can become arrogance and dogmatism, but uncertainty can become permissiveness and the acceptance of all teaching as having equal merit (p. 3).”
  • What every student deserves: “…teachers in every classroom who are the greatest learners of their own practice and an intellectually challenging, relevant education (p. 4).”
  • How Do Teaching and Learning Improve?

    • “The typical and infrequent drop-in visit by an evaluator a few times a year without continuous discussion, critiquing, and planning with others leads to the deadening and routinizing of practice and the diminishment of teaching as a profession (p. 4).”
    • “By definition, a profession is the work of persons who possess a body of knowledge, skills, and practices that must be continually tested and upgraded with colleagues (p. 4).”
    • “A professional field, as opposed to a technical one, is one that prizes constant dissatisfaction with one’s own practice with current clients as the core to better service to clients in the future (p. 4).”
  • Organizing the Quest

    • Glickman offers a figure that illustrates the elements that affect professional knowledge using concentric circles.


Chapter 2: Structures for Classroom Assistance

  • Clinical Supervision
  • Peer Coaching
  • Critical Friends
  • Classroom Action Research Teams or Study Groups


Chapter 3: Formats for Focusing Observation

  • “The process for determining what to look for, with the teacher, is as important as the structures and formats for communicating feedback and making plans for further improvements. What is essential is that both parties understand what the purpose of the observation is, how this purpose fits into a larger yearlong or multiyear plan for continuous individual improvement for all faculty, how the observation will be conducted, and what data will be collected at each particular phase (p. 24).”
  • Using Frameworks for Teaching
  • Using Open-Ended Questionnaires
  • Looking at Student Work
  • Looking at Student Achievement According to State Standards
  • Why Such a Stress on Clarifying the Focus for Observation?

    • “Individuals involved in observations should discuss and act upon only what they agreed to focus on. It certainly is appropriate to do a few general observations to gain an overall feel for a classroom and for a teacher to become comfortable with another adult in his or her setting. But after a point, if the leader and the teacher don’t know what is being looked at together, then discussions predictably will move away from issues of teaching and learning to issues outside the classroom (such as individual misbehavior of students, parent needs, school politics, personal issues, and so on) (p. 35).”
    • “To talk deeply, wisely, and practically about teaching and learning means that leadership, force, structure, and focus must permeate the entire school environment (p. 36).”


Chapter 4: Approaches to Working Closely With Teachers

  • Supervisors need knowledge about self, the other, and the institution(s) in order to support professional learning effectively.
  • Instructional Leadership Approaches and Behaviors
  • Behaviors of a supervisor include listening, clarifying, encouraging, reflecting, presenting, problem solving, negotiating, directing, standardizing, and reinforcing. Glickman offers a continuum of the supervisor’s and the teacher’s responsibilities with regard to these behaviors.
  • “When an instructional leader listens to the teacher, clarifies what the teacher says, encourages the teacher to speak more about the concern, and reflects by verifying the teacher’s perceptions, then clearly the teacher participates in making the decisions about professional practice (p. 42).”



Instructional Leader’s Role

Teacher’s Role


Nondirective Interpersonal

Active prober

Sounding board

Support for teacher


Primary decision maker

Teacher = high

Leader = low

Collaborative Interpersonal

Uses nondirective behaviors

Understands teacher’s point of view

Participant in decision-making

Presents views but engages in collaborative problem solving with teacher

Negotiates an agreed upon solution


Active participant

Equal decision making w/leader

Understands leader’s point of view

Shared by both

Directive-Informational Interpersonal


Offers specific choices


Provides information including the timeline of implementation and expected outcomes

Limited participation

Leader dominated control

Teacher limited control

Leader = High

Teacher = Low

Directive-Control Interpersonal

Leader directed

Leader responsibility for all activities & consequences

Leader determines all activities


Passive recipient

No participation

Leader = Absolute

Teacher = No

  • Outcomes of the Conference
  • Clarifying Your Own Approach
  • Glickman offers an inventory for understanding your beliefs as a leader.
  • What to Do with the Approaches?

    • “The idea is that a leader needs to understand the teacher (his or her needs, experiences, identity, and development), the instructional focus under consideration and the related student learning, and the context of the classroom in determining which approach might both meet the immediate learning need and facilitate over time the teacher’s own progress toward reflective, more autonomous, action research (p. 51).”