Course aims and content


To assist participants to:

  • Build a deeper understanding of leadership: the research and the factors that most influence it in practice
  • Deepen understanding of how national and organizational cultures interact and impact on beliefs, values and behaviours in schools
  • Learn how to build an inclusive organisation that understands its culture and context and that evaluates the impact of change and an uncertain future
  • Explore the capabilities associated with creative professionalism and learn how to support teachers in developing and refining these capabilities
  • Maximize impact in leading effective learning and teaching
  • Develop and articulate a personal leadership philosophy and approach and a vision for a mission-based education.


Participants will:

  • Understand educational leadership research, practice and praxis
  • Develop, apply, challenge and refine their leadership intelligences
  • Engage with key areas of leadership knowledge to improve understanding of leadership in diverse contexts
  • Identify strategies for community building
  • Join a network of international school heads.

Course content

The course comprises four units that all participants must complete.

1. Foundational Unit

Understanding leadership - Build your own leadership platform

Foci of Inquiry

  • What is leadership?
  • What does research tell us about educational leadership?
  • What are your personal reflections on leadership?
  • What does it mean to lead in an IB context?

Unit Description

Leadership is in part a social construct, positioned in time and place and influenced by personality. This workshop aims to identify, test and critique the assumptions upon which your own style, definition and understanding of leadership are based. Leadership theory and current research will form the basis for discussion, with case studies and your own experiences being used to explore leadership styles and practices. There will be an emphasis on the complex, contextual and holistic nature of leadership, and you will build deeper understandings of how to adapt your leadership style in different contexts.

The workshop will include an introduction to the capabilities and intelligences, core themes and leadership processes that are considered to be most supportive of effective leadership in a range of IB contexts. In line with IB philosophy, you will be encouraged to develop an investigative mindset, become more inquiry focused and reflective, and build your commitment to lifelong learning. You will develop and articulate a deeper understanding of your own philosophy and draft a personal philosophy statement, which you can then evaluate as to its relevance and effectiveness in daily practice, using a reflective journal or blog.

Find upcoming "Understanding leadership" workshops

You may opt in to the Essentials of International Leadership credential pathway at any time.

2. Core Unit

Leading with a clear vision and strategy - Discover how to engage with a diverse community

Foci of Inquiry

  • What is a vision and mission?
  • How can a leader develop and evaluate a vision and mission?
  • What is a strategic plan?
  • How is a strategic plan implemented?
  • How can leaders develop strategic partnerships? 
  • How can leaders create sustainable systems? 

Unit Description

Each school has a slightly different vision and mission, and it is the way each school puts these into practice which determines how successful the school is for its students. A clear, strong and supported vision, which is efficiently implemented and continually reviewed, will provide a very strong focus for the school community’s energy and drive. This clarity ensures resources are efficiently utilized.

In this workshop you will deepen your understanding of the significance of a vision and mission to the high achievement of student learning. The importance of a strategic plan to implement that mission is explored. A process of review that evaluates the appropriateness of the links between the vision and mission, as well as the alignment of the vision and mission to the IB philosophy, is examined.

Find upcoming "Leading with a clear vision and strategy" workshops

You may opt in to the Essentials of International Leadership credential pathway at any time.

3. Core Unit

Leading through an understanding of culture and context - Continue to refine your vision

Foci of Inquiry

  • What is culture?
  • Do values, beliefs and actions related to education differ between cultures?
  • Are there other aspects of leading which are impacted by culture?
  • Are there leadership behaviours which are universally acceptable and successful?
  • Does organizational culture impact leadership effectiveness?
  • Is there one leadership style that is most appropriate in IB schools? 

Unit Description

When leaders move to different schools, the organizational culture and the national cultures within which they operate may be different and they must know how to adapt their approach in order for leadership to be most effective. The capability to evaluate their own experiences and reflect upon how best to lead within new and changing contexts is critical to school leaders’ own personal success and to the success of the school in achieving its goals.

This workshop therefore explores the concept that leadership is context driven. You will deepen your understanding of how national and organizational cultures interact and impact on beliefs, values and behaviours in schools. In addition, you will discuss how to develop a positive organizational culture which is proven to be closely aligned with high student achievement.

The workshop will enable you to investigate leadership issues in different IB contexts. Through illustrative case studies, critical reading, collaborative problem solving, reflective journals, diagnostic testing and research projects, you will be expected to reflect upon how these relate to your own experiences and develop responses and solutions that align with IB philosophy. You will identify the approaches and strategies that are culturally appropriate and relevant for the particular contexts in which you operate.

Find upcoming "Leading through an understanding of culture and context" workshops

You may opt in to the Essentials of International Leadership credential pathway at any time.

4. Core Unit

Leading for effective teaching and learning - Create a culture of inquiry

Foci of Inquiry

  • What is effective teaching and learning?
  • Where is a school on the road from ‘Poor to Excellent’ in terms of quality of teaching and learning?
  • How does a school leader decide what leadership behaviours are most effective?
  • What is IB theory on teaching and learning and instructional design?
  • How can approaches to learning be evaluated, reviewed and improved in a sustainable system?
  • What is inquiry-based learning and how can it be implemented?
  • What is assessment?
  • How can professionalism be developed in teaching staff?
  • How do national systems impact IB schools? 

Unit Description

Implementing the IB programmes often means schools need to review and change some aspects of the ways in which teaching and learning are organized. School leaders must understand the nature of the educational programmes, their impact on the school culture and the implications for leading and managing their schools.

In this workshop, you will explore how to improve teaching and learning in schools. With an understanding of the impact of different leadership styles, you will examine the most effective methods of implementing change and continuous improvement in the community.

Find upcoming "Leading for effective teaching and learning" workshops

You may opt in to the Essentials of International Leadership credential pathway at any time.