Global Learners

New South Wales Department of Education and Communities

2012–2013 Northern Sydney Region Leadership Fellowship Report

Leadership skills and professional practices that support 21st century global learning

Denise Lofts

Principal, Ulladulla High School

New South Wales, Australia

2012–2013 Northern Sydney Region Leadership Fellowship Report

Leadership skills and professional practices that support 21st century global learning




Executive summary


1. Overview of the research study


2. Background information


3. Research questions


4. Research methodology


5. Findings


6. Implications for leadership


7. Recommendations








Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3




Executive summary

This research investigated what “Principals and school leaders” do (skills and professional practices), that build students who are 21st century global learners, and the effect this has on overall school improvement and effectiveness. The research defines the skills and practices apparent in leading improvement, innovation and change toward this goal.

The focus was on schools in the United States of America, that were identified as schools in which students are gaining 21st century skills, and where innovation, emerging technologies and global competencies were an integral part of the school profile. These schools were performing overall at a higher level. The selection of schools sits outside the so-called high performing system, of Finland and Asia, rather these school are seen as lighthouse schools and districts within their education systems. The selected schools were both public schools and charter schools.

The research rationale investigated those schools who were executing highly engaging, innovative and successful programs, focused on 21st Century skills and global competencies. The school focus was on preparing students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century. There was a focus on Ways of Working, Ways of Thinking, Tools for Working, Living in the world defined in 21st Century skills.[1]

The research sought to identify what leaders do, the skills and professional practices that support 21st Century global learning. It also sought to identity the successful programs initiated by the school leaders that enhanced school success. This research was gathered from interviews with principals, education directors, superintendents, university professors, students, expert recommendations, professional judgements and case studies to determine the key skills and practices that were consistently embedded in school leaders practice.

The research findings indicated consistent practices across all leaders. The research, also revealed a hierarchical importance of certain skills and practices over others. Leadership practices were interdependent on the personal skills to lead improvement, innovation and change to support school programs and planning. The following skills and practices were identified as being imperative to success.

  • Educational Vision
  • Personal Qualities
  • Networking, use of champions & mentoring systems focusing on quality teaching
  • Professional learning communities within the school and beyond
  • School structural reform in the support for 21st century learners
  • Innovative interpretation of the curriculum with a focus on pedagogy
  • Resource management
  • Personal use of emerging technologies in leadership

Further to the practices, key findings indicated that the success of leaders, was enhanced when they were working closely with innovative educational thinkers and researchers. The work of Richard Dufour around Professional Learning Communities and Yong Zhao, World Class Learners was sited as being influential in leaders educational thinking for the 21st century.

  1. 1.         Overview of the research study

This research was undertaken by Denise Lofts, Principal, Ulladulla High School, previously Marsden High School and the recipient of the 2012–2013 Northern Sydney Region Leadership Fellowship, awarded by the Deputy Director-General, Schools, New South Wales Department of Education and Communities.

The focus of the investigation was to research what “Principals and school leaders” do (skills and professional practices), that build students who are 21st century global learners. What affect could this have on school improvement, if any, for the NSW Public school context? The research also focused on professional practices to assist principals in leading improvement, innovation and change.

  1. 2.         Background information

The study builds on the current research on school leadership practices imperative in leading change in schools to meet the demands of the 21st Century and how schools embed innovation, emerging technologies, changing pedagogy, curriculum demands to build global learners (Lee and Ward 2013). The interest in ‘teachers work and school change’ to build global learners is foremost in all principals thinking.   This research was an opportunity to illustrate the pressures of opportunity and change (Hannon 2012) by gathering successful examples of leadership skills and practices that meet the needs of global learning.

A number of educational thinkers and writers are challenging the traditional in favour of 21st Century skills to drive student skill development to be global learners. Crockett, Jukes and Churches 2012 put the case forward indicating that for students, literacy is not enough and the need for 21st century fluencies in the digital age is necessary. Zhao (2012) reiterates the need for education systems to build entrepreneurial, creative world-class learners who have the skills to thrive in and beyond the 21st century.  The influence of Zhao’s work and the schools that are identified as being ‘alternative’ lighthouse schools, with visionary, courageous educational leaders that are preparing their students for the future not the past inspired this research (Zhao 2012).

The research was to gather information and examine successful school leaders, their skills and practices from the lighthouse schools based in the USA. The context of change in NSW Public schools and the implementation of the NSW Board of studies National Curriculum could be informed by research into school principal’s professional practices and skills to lead improvement, innovation and change.

  1. 3.         Research questions

Main research question

  • What Leadership skills and professional practices support 21st century global learning?

Supplementary questions to the research focus:

Leadership Skills

  • What is the most effective skill used by leaders to support 21st Century global learning?
  • What school programs and structures indicate leadership skills to develop 21st Century global learning?

Leadership Professional Practices

  • What is the most effective practice by leaders to support 21st Century global learning?
  • What school programs and structures indicate leadership skills to develop 21st Century global learning?
  1. 4.         Research methodology

A review of relevant literature and reports was undertaken identifying key areas of skill and professional practice associated to leading 21st century schools.  In particular the assistance of AITSL Local Leadership, Empowering Local Schools Initiative was imperative in setting the direction of the research focus. This informed the educational directions of the research of leading improvement, innovation, and change to align to the implementation of the National Standards for Principals. In particular Professor Yong Zhao’s research on World Class learners 2012 was pivot to the research.

The review of literature informed the research in the identification of key educational leaders, innovative schools and school districts in the US.  These schools are seen as lighthouse schools and districts within their education systems.  The leaders were identified as being visionary and courageous.

The key educational contacts were identified which included 3 Universities: UCLA, X Center, Graduate school of Education & Information Studies, California Institute of Technology, University of Oregon, (School of Global and Online Education),Eugene. In addition, contact was made with 4 varying school districts to interview their superintendents and principals, Paramount School District (Los Angeles, California), West Linn-Wilsonville (Portland, Oregon), High Tech High (San Diego, California) and Oxford Community of Schools, (Oxford, Michigan).

Travel was undertaken to all universities listed above, school districts and schools. Structured interviews (Appendix 1) took place with Superintendents, Principals and Lecturers. An extensive interview with Professor Yong Zhao and a full day tour and workshop with students and teachers at High Tech High proved highly valuable in my attempts to gather evidence to substantiate the skills and practices of the school leaders.  In particular evidence of innovation, school improvement and substantial change toward providing successful global learning for the students in the schools visited.  See Appendix 2 for the list of Schools and Institutions visited. The visits took place from the 8 January to the 25 January 2013.

During the tour, evidence was gathered, patterns of similarity emerged and lists were formed for analysis, there was an identified consistency of leadership skills and practices.

The interviews were video recorded and substantial qualitative evidence was gathered in the form of photographs, student and teacher interviews as evidence of school programs and structures. The evidence gathered gives excellent contextual information for Principals, which may provide potential information for similar initiatives and programs to be used in a New South Wales.

  1. 5.         Findings

What leadership skills and professional practices support 21st century global learning?

The responses were identified under the following headings and they are placed in hierarchical order. These findings are substantiated with the school programs and structures embedded in each of the schools and school districts.

The following leadership skills and practices were identified as being imperative to successfully building 21st global learners:

  1. educational vision for 21st century skills and global learning
  2. personal qualities that support 21st century learning
  3. networking by leaders, the use of champions for organizational change and mentoring systems with a focus on quality teaching
  4.  professional learning communities within the school
  5. school structural reform in the support for 21st century learners
  6. innovative interpretation of the curriculum with a focus on pedagogy
  7. resource management
  8. personal use of emerging technologies in leadership.

The research has been analysed to further illustrate these findings.

5.1    Educational vision for 21st century skills and global learning


Research, while not surprising found that the leaders have clear, concise and informed educational vision focused on 21st century learning and preparation of students for a global world. This articulation was physically apparent in each of the school environs. In addition there was overwhelming evidence of innovative programs that were operating in the schools and school districts to support this vision. The Globe is our Campus is reiterated throughout the schools.


  1. A clear and defined vision of 21st century learning is articulated and published. For example “creating a world-class education today to shape tomorrow’s selfless, global learners”. Superintendent Dr. William C. Skilling had a vision and established a focus on high cultural IQ to prepare his students for a global marketplace. (Oxford Community of schools)
  1. Innovative programs are implemented across communities of schools. Fifth Coretm world language and cultural program, equated to each student, starting from kindergarten receiving daily instruction in Mandarin. On graduation each student graduates with a world language having studied Mandarin for 11 years. (Oxford Community of schools)
  1. Education without barriers: Online. Anytime. Free! (Oxford Virtual Academy, Oxford Community of schools)
  1. Real world problem solving is embedded in learning. Schools are environments where students own the school and are happily engaged in works that matter. Project/product based learning is a school focus, where the learner is compelled to think creatively to solve real world problems. (High Tech High School)
  1. Establish school principles that respond directly to student need. The best example was at High Tech High where the four design principles:  personalization, adult world connection, common intellectual mission and teacher as designer. Responding directly to the needs of students, all four principles connect to the broad mission of preparation for the adult world. The design principles permeate every aspect of life at High Tech High: the small size of the school, the openness of the facilities, the personalization through advisory, the emphasis on integrated, project-based learning and student exhibitions, the requirement that all students complete internships in the community, and the provision of ample planning time for teacher teams during the work day.
  1. Student led course design. Students leading learning where there is a focus on entrepreneurship, opportunity and innovation transformed into student led course design. An example was developed at Oregon University College of Education OBA Online Education, a platform where students from schools across the world create courses for other students.(OBA Education, Oregon University- College of Education, Eugene)
  1. Creating a culture, and shared purpose. The visited schools emphasized experienced leadership, reflective practice, and peer learning, all in the interest of an evolving sense of shared purpose. For example HTH employ a “mitochondrial” strategy to create new schools. That is, they “seed” our new schools with a principal, teachers, and even students who already have lived and worked in a HTH school.

5.2    Personal qualities that support 21st century learning


Leaders interviewed had a focus on established protocols for learning of both the teachers and the students. They were passionate and courageous with a world view about what students needed to have to be global learners. They had invested in gathering the right combinations of staff in their schools and there was an established culture built on innovation, strong relationships, and perseverance with disciplined creativity.

  1. Developing in staff unique and diverse talents. Teachers are encouraged to foster their own passions through the curriculum. Built around people, finding the best people, the champions and mentoring to build the strengths and passions of staff. (Oxford High School)
  1. Development of an educational leadership code in the organization: Trust and character, communication and educational knowledge is articulated to staff. This took varying forms and was supported by outstanding staff induction programs. The exemplar was at High Tech High. The program unfolds over two years, providing organizational meetings, Learning Seminars, inquiry based classroom research, weekly support and observations from a trained teacher mentor, and teacher networking. (High Tech High and Inza Wood Middle School Wilsonville, Oregon USA).
  1. Collaboration learning by staff embedded in practice. Established protocols for reviewing and discussing students work, preparing team teaching programs and assessment. (High Tech High)
  1. The Globe is the campus. Students are encouraged to build global competencies by helping others, rather than in competition, students work collaboratively with students across the world on common projects establishing a global perspective. (Oxford Community of schools with Cherwell in UK)

5.3    Networking by leaders, the use of champions for organizational change and mentoring systems with a focus on quality teaching

Throughout the schools visited the leaders established tools for transforming the culture of schools and enriching professional interactions. The use of champions, teacher mentoring and partnering were embedded in school structure. These structures were supported by protocols of inquiry orientated professional learning tools within a high performance workplace to enable schools to successfully teach all students to high standards.

  1. Established protocols for improving teaching practice for professional learning. Professional learning is collaborative, shared and facilitated to improve all aspects. Established protocols for all aspects of learning, teacher and teacher, teacher and student and teacher and parent. Named “Consultancy Protocol” at High Tech High was a very good example. Hard on content, soft on people. (High Tech High). (McDonald, Mohr, Dichter and McDonald 2012).
  1. Teachers collaborate in teams on a daily basis. As seen at High tech High, teachers collaborate in teams that serve the same cohort of students. They arrive a hour early each day to plan, program and discuss students in teaching teams, academic departments, study groups and the faculty as a whole.
  1. Rigorous Curriculum. The challenge academically is high in each of the schools visited. At Cal Tech, in first year the task is made difficult and challenging to ensure students collaborate. They need to help each other to solve the problem thus developing a culture of collaboration not competition. This philosophy permeates the entire degree structure. At High Tech High, Inch wide, mile deep philosophy of building deep intellectual substantive and meaningful learning was clearly articulated.
  1. Partner and Team teaching established as norm.  Grouping and naming of collegial groups established as ways of learning. For example, the Pioneer Learning Group established to drive 21st Century skills at Inza Wood Middle School Wilsonville, Oregon USA.
  1. A sustained organization culture focused on Global learners.  Leaders implemented organizational culture and work processes that supported innovation, the work of champions and early adaptors.  Evidence was seen in each of the schools visited.


5.4    Professional learning communities within the school and beyond

In all the schools visited, there was a strong emphasis on mentoring, partner teachers and learning communities. In particular, the Graduate school at High Tech High and the International program at Oxford community of schools all reflected established educational academic writing as part of a teachers reflection, development and learning.

  1. A culture of academic research and writing is encouraged. The publishing of published peer reviewed journal “Unboxed” A journal of Adult Learning in schools from High Tech High was exemplar. Leading Schools Program, Unboxed Speaker Series and Masters of Education are part of the PL at High Tech High. The concept of reflecting on practice and sharing ideas as a way of teaching for school improvement is reiterated in the example schools and in the Universities.
  1. Global Collaboration as part of professional learning is normalized. Such strategies as “Collegial conversations” Online using ‘Elluminate’, Teachmeet: Professional Development by teachers, for teachers, was part of the dialogue at the schools visited.

5.5    School structural reform in the support for 21st century learners

In each of the schools and districts bar one, there were obvious structural reforms in school organization. Schools within schools were established, larger schools saw this as an opportunity to ensure care and cohesive relationships. The establishment of innovative programs to broader the curriculum and fostered disciplined global skills, in particular the learning of global languages from kindergarten to year 12.


  1. 1.         Creating school structures that engage schools and communities. As an example, West Linn-Wilsonville School District outside of Portland conducted a Futures Conference bringing together all spectrums of the community to envisage a structure for learning. The structures are built on this global theme: “How do we create learning communities for the greatest thinkers and most thoughtful people… for the world?” (West Linn-Wilsonville School District).
  1. 2.         Secondary schools with graduate schools within the context of the school. For example at the High Tech High graduate school, the mission parallels that of the High Tech High K-12 schools: to provide all students with an extraordinary project-based education and to graduate students who will succeed in post-secondary education and be thoughtful, engaged citizens.
  1. 3.         Connecting students to community through authentic embedded programs. At High Tech High, learning is connected to the world beyond school. To graduate, each student must complete a substantial Academic Internship in a local business or social service agency. The internships are for a month in the community in Year 11.
  1. 4.         Establishment of international learning partnerships. Northeast Yucai Education Group, Oxford Community Schools, and Beijing Channel Consulting have a cooperative agreement committed to a school that provides quality education and educational resources for students in the United States and China. The schools share methods of managing advanced education, provide outstanding teachers and quality teaching resources, and promote educational exchanges between the schools. Students spend time in each of the schools acquiring both an American certificate and Chinese. (Oxford Community of schools)

5.6      Innovative interpretation of the curriculum with a focus on changing pedagogies.

Each of the schools visited, there was an emphasis on “project based learning” in various forms and in varying degrees to build meaning in the curriculum. The common aspect in each model was, reasoning over memory of information. Another common aspect was a focus on conduct over information for its own sake, the natural setting versus the artificial setting and the priority of the problem versus the priority of the principles. More successful examples, indicated an emphasis on integrated, project-based learning and student exhibitions integral in the teaching and learning process throughout the school.

  1. Product or Project-based learning. This approach to learning changes the orientation of the learner from the recipient and consumer to the creator and provider. It changes the relationship between the teacher and learner. Examples of teachers as motivators, reviewers, facilitators and organizers were evident in the schools visited and integral to the way of doing the business of learning. Project or product-based learning is secured firmly in ‘Real world’ audience. (High Tech High, Cal Tech High and Wilsonville High).
  1. Assessment is performance based, product focussed and student-led. In student-led learning, students develop the projects, solve the problems and present the findings. Students work alongside teachers in developing assessment rubrics then proceed to evaluate the rubric at the conclusion of the project. The use of protocol led assessment was utilised as a way to build snapshots and understand what these examples reflected and meant for learning. (McDonald, Mohr, Dichter and McDonald) (High Tech High and Inza Wood Middle School, Wilsonville).

5.7    Resource management


Leaders in all the schools and school districts interviewed have a clear strategic plan of resource management. In particular, staff recruitment, professional learning and ongoing staff development was a crucial part in resource management. There was a clear delineation between educational leadership, teaching staff and those that were responsible for the management of properties, administration, technology support and buildings.  Support staff, nurses, IT assistance and counselors were part of the staff to support students.  In both the public school and the charter school this was consistent. Libraries were consistently viewed as the hub of the school, often being open spaces, like learning lounge rooms, positioned in the centre of the school buildings.

  1. Staff recruitment was focused on matching school and staff in the shared vision. Recruitment practice was built around high expectations of staff, certain school wide pedagogy (example Project Based Learning) that focused on building 21st Century skills as defined for this research . It was a localized system. This was evidenced in all 3 school districts. High Tech High, Oxford and West Linn-Wilsonville, statements such as, “Think you’ll fit in here?” in providing a world-class education to our students starts with a world-class staff.
  1. Management of Accountability of resources was crucial in the delivery of programs. There was a clear link to effective management of resources and  leadership. However, the management of facilities implemented by a team of professional staff, part of the property management facility. Support was localised. Every area was scrutinized and schools employed the most practical solutions to the harsh realities of today’s economy. (Oxford High School and Wilsonville High were examples).
  1. Technology resource management was a priority in all schools. Specific teams were established to innovate and manage the hardware resources for each school.  Along with the hardware management, there was a pedagogical leader who managed the professional learning support. In the Oxford Community of schools, there was an appointed leadership role. The Director of technology led the innovations in the district, from the virtual academy, school implementation with staff, through to the collaborative links with China. (Oxford Community of Schools, Michigan).
  1. Innovative learning spaces. In nearly all the schools visited, learning spaces were highly varied. Glass walled rooms, small nooks and very large open spaces, libraries that looked like lounge rooms, corridors that were akin to art galleries, meeting spaces that were informal and relaxed, strategically placed gymnasiums robust exercise equipment, construction and technology rooms interlaced within large working spaces, pods of computers interlocked with science labs, rooms that interlocked with studios, the list goes on. The designs were user friendly, welcoming and in my observation places of personalised learning where students had the freedom to choose the space that best suited the learning task at hand. (Oxford High School, High tech High and Cal Tech)

5.8    Personal use of emerging technologies in leadership

All the leaders interviewed were asked about their personal skills in the use of emerging technologies, there was not conclusive evidence to support the use of personal emerging technologies was necessary in successful school leadership. Most leaders were moderately competent, some had used Facebook, many interviewed did not have a blog or utilized twitter. Yong Zhao being the exception. However, they had strong beliefs on the benefits and showed passion toward the relationship of emerging technologies to today’s learners. Often they had a key support person and understood the vital need to support schools through connecting with social media and utilized online communication. In all cases, their schools were strongly supported by outstanding comprehensive websites, digital portfolios for student work and online tools for learning to support the curriculum.

Comprehensive use of collaborative online spaces for student work was impressively supported. (High Tech High being the exemplar, along with OBA Education, Oregon University).

  1. 6.         Implications for leadership

Across all the selected schools visited in the US, leaders were endeavouring to move their schools through a paradigm shift both structurally and educationally to prepare their students for the 21st Century and global learning.  There was a clearly articulated common purpose.

Leaders must, most importantly have a clear informed innovative vision which is supported by protocols, pedagogies and practices inherent in all operations from classrooms to community.  There must be a focus on leading schools that authentically prepare their students for successful careers and opportunities, not just pushing through the curriculum. The school must operate with a real world paradigm and leaders need to ensure that their school does this in its daily practice.

Leaders need to apply consistent use of mentoring, team teaching, coaching for teachers, inherently built this into daily operations and structures of the school. Professional learning should allow teachers to explore their own questions through action research and other forms of inquiry, and develop digital portfolios to demonstrate their learning.

Leaders must ensure the curriculum has a focus on real world learning, global connections and the ‘normalising of technology’ is used to support ‘problem based’ learning that is facilitated through enquiry and design protocols. Timetable assumptions need to be challenged.

Leaders should ensure the ongoing development of the role of student teacher relationships, innovative use of classroom space, use of digital portfolios, professional learning through enquiry, real-world learning and innovation that challenges the common assumptions of schools, teaching and learning and the role of the student and teacher.

While the context in NSW Schools may vary slightly from the schools visited, the common goal is the same, to develop 21st century global learners. All the schools visited were on a journey to fulfil this goal. It was evident that ongoing reflection, adaption, enquiry learning was part of the schools day to day practice and part of each leaders focus for improvement toward the goal.

  1. 7.         Recommendations

That the NSW Department of Education and Communities:

  1. Foster, mentor and support innovative school leadership in schools that challenge common assumptions of school management and learning.

DEC should encourage schools educational practice of innovation, through supportive management practices in both theory and DEC practice. In light of Local Schools and Local Decisions and Empowering local schools initiatives, there should be genuine reform in management restrictions such as building and facility coding, ongoing freeing of restrictions such as procurement, staffing formulas, imposed accountability measures unrelated to real world learning for our students.

  1. Support further research into school structures and practices that build world-class learners.

Rigorous research studies and internships for principals to learn from other school systems which are required to develop a greater knowledge about school-level 21st Century learning and leadership in this area. In particular, the leadership of educational protocols for better educational practice, inquiry learning as a basis for professional school practice and solution focussed skill development in school leaders.

  1. Support and develop a structure for genuine networking of school leaders to build collectives of knowledge and vision to support the implementation of innovative school structures.

That the NSW Primary Principals’ Association and NSW Secondary Principals’ Council:

  1. Create a reference group that fosters leadership in innovation of school design, inquiry based learning and teaching that drives real world solutions (21st Century schools) to be global learners.

That principals and aspiring leaders in schools:

  1. Establish genuine links with successful global schools and school district leaders to inform the understanding of school practice to build global learners. Understand and build a vision from these experiences.

Throughout the selected schools visited in the US, it was clear the leaders in each of the schools had a strong understanding of what needed to be done to build global learners. Our school leaders and schools can benefit from these experiences.

  1. Act, share and encourage rigorous research of educational practice. Establish best practice schools and school districts that foster innovation, inquiry learning, global and real world focus.

Schools and leaders need to focus on the importance of 21st Century and global learning with staff and students to prepare students for the world beyond schools. 21st Century Skills should be a topic regularly discussed by principals with supervisors in teacher, executive and principal assessment and review meetings, staff meetings and wider forums.

  1. Establish school structures that support global and 21st learning with an inquiry based individual approach to school life.

This would include evaluation of timetable structures and conventions, faculty and staff groupings to support inquiry based learning, professional learning structures and curriculum development.

  1. Establish real world links to support the curriculum with the world beyond school.

Establish mechanisms for teachers and students to connect their studies to the world beyond school through field studies, community service, internships, and consultation with outside experts as matter of everyday practice. Students should routinely create work for authentic audiences and exhibit that work in professional venues.  Prepare opportunities for students to complete substantial internships in the world of work and service, where they develop projects that contribute to the workplace.


The redefinition of entrepreneurship. The world Economic Forum defines entrepreneurship as:

‘a process that results in creativity, innovation and growth. Innovative entrepreneurs come in all shapes and forms; its benefits are not limited to start ups, innovative ventures or new jobs. Entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action and is therefore a key competence for all, helping young people to be more creative and self confident in whatever they undertake.’ (World Economic Forum, 2009, p.9).

21st Century skills defined from the Learning and Technology World Forum 2010 (

  • Ways of thinking  Creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning
  • Ways of working. Communication and collaboration
  • Tools for working. Information and communications technology (ICT) and information literacy
  • Skills for living in the world. Citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility


I would like to acknowledge the efforts, honesty and time given to the researcher by the school principals of all the schools, Universities and School Districts visited. Also to acknowledge the students and staff who opened up their classrooms for my visits.

Particularly, I would like to acknowledge Professor Yong Zhao and Dane Ramshaw for their time in my extended visit to College of Education, Oregon University Eugene.


Crokett, L. Jukes, I. Churches,A. (2011) Literacy is Not enough: 21st Century Learning Fluencies for a Digital Age. 21st Century Fluency Project Inc.

Dufour,R.,Fullan,M.,(2013) Cultures Built to Last. Solution tree Press. Bloomington IN

Dubrin,A.J. (2010) Leadership: Research Findings, Practice and Skills. Cengage Learning, Mason OH. USA

Duignan, P. and Gurr, D. (2008) (eds) Leading Australia’s Schools. ACEL. Sydney

Fullan, M. & Levin, B. The fundamentals of Whole –System Reform A case study from Canada. Published online June 12 2009.

Hannon, V. (2012)  Innovating a new future for learning: Finding our path. Valerie Hannon. Innovation Unit. UK Viewed Dec 2012

Lee, M. & Ward, L. (2013) Collaboration in Learning; Transcending the classroom walls. Acer Press. Camberwell, Victoria.

Masters, G.N. (2010). School Improvement Framework. State of QLD (DET) & ACER. 2010.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, December 2008.

Mulford, W.,SIlins. H. & Leithwood, K. (2004) Educational Leadership for Organisational Learning and Improved Student Outcomes ( Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic).

Peterson,B.W., (2012).  Unboxed. A journal of Adult Learning in Schools (Volume 6. Iss.1) Uncovering the Progressive Past: The Origins of Project Based Learning. San Diego: High Tech High:

McDonald,J., Mohr,N., Dichter,A., McDonald,E., (2007) The power of Protocols: An Educators Guide to Better Practice (2nd Ed.) New York: Teachers College Press.

Ridden, P. & De Noble,J. Keys to School Leadership. 2012. Acer Press. Camberwell. Victoria

Zhao, Y. (2012) World Class Learners. Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. 2012. Corwin. A Sage Company. Thousand Oaks, California 91320. Pp 3-6

Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills Website Viewed 9/05/ 2012.

School, University and District Websites

High Tech High:

High Tech High Graduate School:

Oxford Community Schools:

West Linn Wilsonville School District:

UCLA centerX:

California Institute of Technology (Caltech):

Appendix 1: Questions for structured interviews – Principal visits

Main research question

  • What Leadership skills and professional practices support 21st century global learning

Supplementary questions to the research focus:

Leadership Skills

  • What is the most effective skill used by leaders to support 21st Century global learning?
  • What school programs and structures indicate leadership skills to develop 21st Century global learning?

Leadership Professional Practices

  • What is the most effective practice by leaders to support 21st Century global learning
  • What school programs and structures indicate leadership skills to develop 21st Century global learning?

Focus questions asked of principals and superintendents  

Educational Vision

  1. What are the reasons you are an educational leader and why do you come to school everyday?
  1. What vision do school leaders have for 21st Century learners? What is your vision for your school or group of schools? Does the system in which you work support your vision and if so how? What opportunities does your system provide for you to fulfill your vision? What system constraint hinders this vision? Where is this vision documented? Is it part of the strategic plan for the school?
  1. What skills and knowledge should a 21st Century global learner have? (After the answer, the interviewer would describe the skills and knowledge from the learning and Education Forum 2010).

Resource management

  1. How do you manage your resources focused on building 21st Century learners? For example do you have personal learning devices for all students, computer kiosks, what learning devices are teachers provided with? What do students use? What do the classrooms look like? Who makes these decisions? The curriculum, the school or the system?

Professional experience, educational and professional leadership

  1. What are your educational professional experiences and leadership in building 21st Century global learners? Has there been any significant, career changing moments or key people, philosophies, ideas that have informed your leadership of building 21st Century Learners?
  1. Has research or theory informed your practice as an educational leader to build the 21st Century global learner? – If so, how have you been exposed to this research or theory? How did you then adapt to your own school context?
  1. Has research or theory informed your practice as an educational leader to build the 21st Century global learner? – If so, how have you been exposed to this research or theory?  How did you then adapt to your own school context?
  1. Use three words to describe your leadership qualities.

Use of technology and expertise in the personal use of learning devices and technologies for learning including social media

  1. Describe your use of technology and expertise in the personal use of learning devices and technologies for learning. Rating your skills 1-10, 10 being outstanding and 2 being elementary. Where do you see yourself on that scale?

10. Do you use emerging technologies, for example Web 2.0 tools, World-wide classrooms, adobe connect, connected classrooms, online webinars or blogs in your leadership? Do you have a blog? Do you use social media and social networking such as Facebook or twitter for educational or personal reasons? If used for educational purpose, how do you use it? How do you rate it? Is it an effective tool in educational leadership?


11. How do you lead strategically, the curriculum to support 21st Century learning. What learning structures do you have in place to build the global 21st Century learners? What curriculum areas do you strategically focus upon to build 21st Century global learners?

System reform and support for 21st century learners

12. How have you implemented system reform across your school in support of for 21st Century learners? Is this part of the whole school system in your country, or is this school based?

13. Do you or have you selected your staff? If so, what were 3 qualities in a teacher were you looking for to build 21st Century global learners?

Focus on pedagogy and quality teaching

14. Describe quality teaching to build 21st Century global learners. How do you ensure this happens in your school? What systems do you have in place, how do you monitor this?

15. Describe quality teaching to build 21st Century global learners. How do you ensure this happens in your school? What systems do you have in place, how do you monitor this?

Leadership practices and skills for change

16. What skills or capabilities do leaders employ for successful school improvement? In particular, describe your leadership practices and your skills in LEADING Improvement, innovation and change for school improvement?.

17. Do you have future plans? What is your next step toward building great 21st Century learners?

Appendix 2.

Schools visited, universities and district offices visited

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

UCLA Center X Graduate school of Education & Information Studies

The Califronia Institute of Technology (CAL TECH)

Paramount Park School Los Angeles California USA

Los Angeles Unified School District, USA

West Linn-Wilsonville School District Office, Oregon USA

Wilsonville High School, Wilsonville, Oregon, USA

Inza Wood Middle School, Wilsonville, Oregon USA

Athey Creek Middle School, Tualatin, Oregon USA

Oregon University College of Education, Eugene Oregon USA

High Tech High, San Diego, California, USA

Oxford Community Schools District Office, Oxford, Michigan USA

Oxford High School, Oxford, Michigan USA

Oxford elementary, Oxford, Michigan USA

Appendix 3: Itinerary Leadership Fellowship Research Study

Tuesday 1 January 2013 to Saturday 26 January 2013




Day 1


8 January 2013

Travel from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, United States of America.Flight
Day 2


9 January 2013

Flight arrives in Los Angeles, United States of America.

Travel to Long Beach.

Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 13


10 January 2013

Visit Education Professional Development Unit at the University of California Los Angeles to meet with Shervaughnna Anderson-Demiraz, Director, California Reading and Literature Project to discuss the leadership of schools and digital learning environments and communities.Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 4


11 January 2013

Visit schools connected with the University of California Los Angeles Reading and Literature Project organised by Shervaughnna Anderson-Demiraz, Director to discuss leadership and digital learning.Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 5


12 January 2013

Review research information and collate data.Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 6


13 January 2013

Review research information and collate data.


Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 7


14 January2013

Visit California Institute of Technology to meet with Ms Sharon Fahn, Officer from the Graduate Studies Office to discuss their post graduate course in leadership and creating global citizen educational pedagogy in their courses.Long Beach (United States of America)
Day 8


15 January 2013

Travel from Los Angeles to Portland, travel to Eugene, Oregon City.

Visit Mr Yong Zhao at the University of Oregon to interview him about his ‘Product based learning’ and his research on educational leadership skills and high performing schools.

Eugene, Oregon (United States of America)
Day 9


16 January 2013

Visit the district of West Linn-Wilsonville school district to interview the Superintendent, Dr William Rhoades.

Visit West Linn High School to interview the Principal Lou Bailey and Wilsonville High School to interview the Principal, Aaron Downs to discuss their approaches to leadership and building 21st century skills for students.

Oregon City, Oregon (United States of America)
Day 10


17 January 2013

Travel from Portland to Salt Lake City to San Diego.San Diego (United States of America)
Day 11


18 January 2013

Visit High Tech High for an extended tour and interview with Principal, Hayley Murugesan.San Diego (United States of America)
Day 12


19 January 2013

Travel from San Diego to Salt Lake City to Detroit.Detroit (United States of America)


Day 13


20 January 2013

Travel from Detroit to Oxford.

Prepare Interview questions.

Oxford (United States of America)
Day 14


21 January2013

Visit Oxford High School to meet with Principal, Todd Dunckley and Superintendent, Dr. William Skilling to explore their leadership of professional learning for teachers.Oxford (United States of America)
Day 15


22 January 2013

Visit Oxford High School to meet with Technology Leader, Tim Throne to discuss practices and skills of project based learning and building 21st Century learners.Oxford (United States of America)
Day 16


23 January 2013

Travel from Oxford to Detroit.Detroit (United States of America)
Day 17


24 January 2013

Travel from Detroit to Los Angeles.

Travel from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia.

Day 18


25 January 2013

Travel from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia.Flight
Day 19


26 January 2013

Flight arrives in Sydney, Australia.Sydney (Australia)

[1] 21st Century Skills defined from the Learning and Technology World Forum 2010 (  


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