Middle Leadership in Schools : A Practical Guide for Leading Learning book cover
1st Edition

Middle Leadership in Schools
A Practical Guide for Leading Learning

ISBN 9780367460006
Published March 30, 2020 by Routledge
170 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Middle leading refers to those teachers that both teach and have leadership roles, and thus can bridge the gap between the practices of learning and the managemant of schooling. Focusing on the practices of middle leaders, this book addresses the current lack of support and professional development for middle leaders in educational settings.

Middle Leadership in Schools positions middle leaders as professional leaders, and an integral part of educational and professional development in schools and other educational institutions. Drawing on empirical research spanning four countries, this book provides readers with a conceptual framework to understand middle leading and shows how middle leading practices unfold in real educational contexts. This is a valuable resource that goes beyond a theoretical conversation about middle leaders to provide readers with practical applications based on extensive research undertaken by the authors. The book is divided into seven chapters, each of which include reflective discussion questions and recommended readings to promote collaborative engagement with the text. Chapters cover topics such as how middle leading is shaped in practice, its role in professional development and its impact on schools.

Illustrating to middle leaders how they can develop their leadership skills, the book will also be of interest to school principals and other senior leaders as a guide to supporting their middle leaders.

Table of Contents


Foreword: Middle Leadership: Leading Professional Learning

Leading from The Middle: Words from a Middle Leader

Chapter 1: Leading from The Middle

Chapter 2: Practices and Practice Architectures of Middle Leading

Chapter 3: School-Based Professional Learning and Development

Chapter 4: Relating, Trust and Dialogic Practice in Middle Leading

Chapter 5: Evidence Informed Development

Chapter 6: Middle Leading in Practice: Criticality and Impact in Schools

Chapter 7: Middle Leading as a Practice Changing Practice

Appendix 1: Facilitating Teacher Reflection: Questions and Strategies

Appendix 2: Interactive Strategies for Facilitating Focused Reflection, Rich Discussion and Critical Thinking

Appendix 3: Questions to Guide Evidentiary Talk in Professional Learning Conversations and for Individual Self-Reflection

Appendix 4: Conversation Transcription Conventions

Appendix 5: Supporting A Dialogic Approach: An Example from the Field - Teacher Reflection Questions

Appendix 6: Learning Together through Action-oriented Professional Learning: A Guide to Collaborative Peer Coaching in the Classroom Setting

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Peter Grootenboer was a school teacher and middle leader for 12 years before moving into the tertiary sector. He received a national Jim Campbell Award for teaching excellence. He is now a Professor in Education at Griffith University.

Christine Edwards-Groves is Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University, Australia. She researches classroom interaction, dialogic pedagogies and professional learning, and is especially interested in practice theory.

Karin Rönnerman is a professor in Education at the University of Gothenburg. Her research is in the field of action research connected to professional learning and development of practices through middle leading.


This is the book I have missed! You know that you have missed some books, the first time you read them. For me this is such a book. From my experiences of having worked as a middle leader for teacher development for the last two decades, I am more convinced than ever that for professional and school-based development to be sustained means recognising the interplay between teachers’ past, present and the future practices. This means that professionals, like middle leaders, need methods, models and theories that help them to develop the competencies needed to do this work. This guidance and support is presented in this book.

Dr Lisbeth Gyllander Torkildsen, Director of Quality and Development Department, Malmö, Sweden.

Middle leaders are the silent, at times overlooked leaders and administrators of professional learning and classroom practice. This book places them at the centre of the action in schools, as agents of professional learning who lead practice through action research. They are the players and the risk takers. This book is rich with vignettes that provide us with the evidence of practice we need as researchers and practitioners to celebrate the importance of middle leading in the life of the school. Unpacking these rich examples of practice using the theory of practice architectures, with additional resources, Grootenboer, Edwards-Groves and Rönnerman show us how and why middle leading matters, and what to do next.

Dr Christine Grice, Christine Grice, Lecturer, Educational Leadership Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Australia