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Closing the Teaching Gap

Closing the Teaching Gap
Coaching for Instructional Leaders

Foreword by Grant Wiggins

February 2012 | 280 pages | Corwin
Instructional leadership begins in the classroom

Donald B. Bartalo reveals the experiences of school leaders and teachers who have discovered that meaningful school improvement does not necessarily come from the top—it comes from effective teaching and leaders who support it. Based on eight fundamental tenets, the text features a clear how-to process, success stories, and methods for bridging the "teaching gap" between the kinds of teaching needed for the 21st century and that which is found in most schools. Special features include:

- An interactive writing style that "coaches" educators

- Powerful "what to do" and "how to do it" tools

- Case illustrations and success stories

- Protocols for leading collaborative inquiry

- Journal reflections

- Leadership team activities

This practical guide's step-by-step approach is easy to follow, research based, and steeped in common sense. Closing the Teaching Gap is the next best thing to having a seasoned coach give you the playbook for becoming a successful instructional leader.

Eight Fundamental Tenets for an Instructional Leader

Connecting Your Work and Experience

About the Book

Learning Extensions

About the Author

Bridge to Chapter 1

1. The "Teaching Gap"
What is the Teaching Gap?

Lessons from the Teaching Gap

Reinforcing the Need to Close the Teaching Gap

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 2

2. Doing the Right Things
Data Informed, Not Data Driven

Developing Credibility

Finding Strengths in Others

Getting Into Classrooms

Knowledge, Not Packaged Programs

Learning from Master Teachers

Learning from Students

Not Enough Time?

Try It in the Classroom

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 3

3. Creating Better Learning Opportunities for Students
Teaching Methods and Learning Opportunities

How Do Students Learn Best?

Methods vs. Beliefs

The Culture of Teaching

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 4

4. Helping Teachers Learn More About Teaching

What is Good Teaching?

Selecting the Best Teaching Methods

Mirror on Their Practice

Peer Review of Teaching

Peer Observations

Teacher-Led Teaching Circles

Teacher-Led Lesson Study

Teacher-Led Learning and Improvement

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 5

5. Successfully Leading Instructional Change

Aligning Practice and Beliefs

Changing Methods Where Students are Not Succeeding

Developing a “Theory of Action” Perspective

Leading Change Perceived to be Second Order

Overcoming Resistance to Desired Instructional Change

Strengthening Instruction

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 6

6. Developing Yourself as an Instructional Leader
The Story of an Instructional Leader


Who Am I?

Connect, Not Just Communicate

Persuading and Inspiring

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Reacting to Assessments and Standards-Based Accountability

Leading in a Time of Transition

The Need for Courage

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 7

7. Shared Instructional Leadership

Strengthening Shared Instructional Leadership

Grade and Department Level


Working Relationships

Shared Instructional Leadership in Action

Aligned Instructional Leadership Team for School Improvement

Journal Reflection


Leadership Team Activity

Bridge to Chapter 8

8. Closing the Teaching Gap
Learning from Success Stories

When is Good Instructional Leadership Going On?

Leverage Your Strengths

Closing the Teaching Gap


Leadership Team Activity

Final Reflection

Answers to In-Your-Head Quizzes
Recommended Books and Publications

"Donald Bartalo has a real gift for helping teachers recognize and improve their instructional potency. Drawing on his considerable experience and research as a teacher, administrator and coach, he creates a practical and sustainable method that will help educators become self reflective, focused practitioners."

Gregory Baker, Principal
Geneva High School, NY

”Don Bartalo understands the essence of second order change. He is focused on how to enable school leaders to work within a new pedagogical paradigm. This is a 'how to' book for any school leader wanting to move a school beyond incremental improvement.”

Stephen Uebbing, Associate Professor
University of Rochester, Warner School of Education, NY

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: The "Teaching Gap"

Donald B. Bartalo

Learn more about Donald Bartalo's PD offeringsDonald Bartalo is a nationally recognized instructional leadership consultant and coach with K-12 experience as a teacher, teacher leader, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent of schools. He has worked in rural, suburban, and urban school districts.Donald is the Founder/CEO of his own company, UNITY Instructional Leadership Development and Coaching, with a mission to support school leaders helping teachers to create better learning opportunities for students.He received his B.S. in Science Education and his Masters in Educational Administration from SUNY Brockport, New York and... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452217093