Leadership for Teaching & Learning: Conceptual Framework Development

Principal Investigators

Michael Knapp, University of Washington
Michael A. Copland, University of Washington
Joan Talbert, Stanford University


In this project, CTP researchers created a conceptual framework connecting leadership action with teaching and learning, to inform the Wallace Foundation's Leaders Count initiative (both grantees' work and evaluation of them) and, more broadly, to inform practicing school and district leaders in the field. The Framework, funded by Wallace, is organized around three sets of ideas, each of which incorporated and extended analytic work conducted by CTP: (1) specific pathways of influence on teaching and learning; (2) challenges facing leadership along and among these pathways—in particular, building coherence, creating professional learning environments, and expanding and distributing leadership—and; (3) the adaptation of leadership to the particular contexts in which it is exercised. These ideas were specified and elaborated in the Framework building process, with illustrations and evidence drawn from work of CTP and others.

Main Research Questions

  • By what channels or routes can influence be exerted on teaching and learning in classrooms? What forces and conditions enhance or inhibit leaders' access to these channels?
  • What are the central challenges leadership must address as it mobilizes effort along and among these pathways?
  • In traversing these pathways, how can leadership take account of the particular contexts in which instruction takes place? How do the tasks for leadership, and the opportunities for exercising it, change with the context?


Literature review, focus group analysis and field testing


Research Completed


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