Cultural competency in the field of instructional leadership
Moret, Lauren Amy Robinson
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As U.S. school systems are called upon to serve increasingly diverse student populations, school leaders must expand their roles to help teachers meet all students’ academic, social, and cultural needs. The purpose of this study was to examine culturally competent instructional leadership by interviewing principals and assistant principals known for their commitment to culturally responsive supervision. Eleven school leaders from four states participated in this in-depth interview study. Using inductive, qualitative analysis, this interpretive study examined how the administrators learned these skills and modeled them for teachers through the practice of instructional supervision. A model was constructed to illustrate the key findings of the study, which were as follows: Leaders encountered inequity and differential treatment early in their lives or as new teachers, and these experiences ultimately shaped who they became as school supervisors. Leaders used culturally responsive pedagogies as teachers, and now build on those skills in their supervision practices. Leaders described what it meant to be culturally competent in their work as K-12 instructional supervisors and practiced awareness as a way to “know” their instructional supervision work. Leaders shared the importance of connecting professionally and personally with teachers through relationship building. Finally, leaders engaged in multiple strategies to support teachers in becoming knowledgeable about students and their communities. These findings have implications for the preparation and socialization of new school supervisors and indicate a need to examine in greater detail cultural competency used by instructional leaders.