Middle-Tier Instructional Leadership for Quality Teaching and Learning at Scale
The ‘middle tier’, although frequently overlooked, forms a key part of education systems around the world. Middle-tier professionals – such as advisors, supervisors, pedagogical coaches and teacher mentors – working directly with schools and teachers are increasingly acting as a key link between policy and practice, helping to introduce and embed successful policies in schools and classrooms across the regions or districts that they work in.
emerging evidence on middle-tier instructional leadership
In this working paper, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO), Education Development Trust, and the Education Commission review recent evidence on the role of middle-tier actors and the ways in which they are helping to deliver improvements in teaching and learning.
Their analysis suggests that middle-tier professionals are delivering these improvements in four key ways:
- by providing support,
- opportunities for collaboration,
- accountability and monitoring,
- and instructional direction and system alignment.
However, the evidence also shows the importance of balancing these roles – supportive roles, for example, must be carefully balanced with oversight and accountability to ensure the best outcomes for teachers and learners.
case studies on middle-tier instructional leadership
IIEP-UNESCO and Education Development Trust see the ‘middle tier’ of education systems as a potential solution to improve teaching and learning quality at scale, and how to strengthen delivery systems to achieve this. In a new research collaboration, they investigated the potential of middle tier professionals to act as catalysts for change in local school reforms. These case studies look at effective or promising practice from around the world, in which the middle tier is playing a key role in scaling effective teaching and learning reforms.
The research questions are:
- What can we learn from promising case studies about the potential for middle tier roles to make impact on teaching and learning quality?
- How can these roles be recruited and strengthened to get value from their position as lynchpins in the education delivery chain?
- How do these roles bring about wider changes such as mindset shifts and changes in professional cultures and practices, which contribute to teaching and learning quality?