Leadership Competencies for Educators


This course is part of a D2L/Educator and Leadership Institute (ELI) suite of online learning programmes. The programmes aim to boost knowledge in 4 areas: Special Education, School Leadership, Mathematics Pedagogy, and Science and Technology Pedagogy.

This School Leadership programme, like the other 3, is an 8-lesson course designed by research assistants, including volunteers, with advice from professors and diverse resource persons. You will learn that as much as possible, the lesson materials are presented to be relevant to non-western contexts. Learners will be exposed to vital resources to help better lead a school and/or hone their skills in teaching to support student achievement.

Course Description

Admission to the course is cost-free for the learner. In addition, materials associated with the lessons have been provided at no cost to the learner. The course is self-paced and each lesson is put together to be completed in approximately 2 hours. The lessons are presented in the form of reading materials, images and short videos.

Learners are not required to sit an exam, but questions are included at the end of each lesson. The questions are meant to help the learner have a better understanding of the material that was discussed and to stimulate further discussion of the issues.


Course Outline

Lesson 1: Setting the Context for School Leadership – In this lesson, there will be a discussion of international agreements and frameworks relating to education and school leadership. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ways school leaders can help achieve specific targets that capture global ambitions for education will be considered

Lesson 2: Policies and Practices of School Leadership in a Developing Country Context In this lesson, the existence of an educational framework or the lack of it as well as its influences on the practices of school principals is discussed. The lesson will provide an opportunity to consider the localised realities within non-western contexts as well as the opportunity to raise comparisons with more developed contexts

Lesson 3: 21st Century School Leadership – School leadership in the 21st century is looked at in this lesson. The traits and practices of school leaders are reviewed to highlight their changing roles in the 21st century

Lesson 4: School leadership in Times of Crisis - School Leadership in times of crisis is discussed in this lesson. What lessons can be learned from previous crises are explored to provide a guide to schools or educational institutions to be more prepared in a crisis situation.

Lesson 5: Roles and Responsibilities of the School Leader in Enhancing Student Achievement- In this lesson, the roles and responsibilities of the school leader as proposed by Marzano et al. (2005) is discussed. The lesson will provide an opportunity to examine how the school leader’s role positively impact the achievement of students. 

Lesson 6: Types of School Leaders -This lesson will discuss 5 different types of school leaders (surgeon, soldier, accountant, philosopher, and architect). Different school contexts necessitating a particular type of school leader is also looked at. The discussion highlights why the architect school leader stands out and why school leaders should strive to be architects.

Lesson 7: Factors Influencing Reforms in Schools -In this lesson, the factors influencing reforms in schools for student academic achievement are discussed. The focus will be on school-level factors and the learner is encouraged to consider how the information from the factors identified might be used to foster substantive change in their school.

Lesson 8: Making Inclusion and Equity Work in Schools -In this final lesson of the school leadership course, some issues related to inclusion and equity in schools are discussed. The lesson provides an opportunity to find out how the learner may support efforts toward inclusive education. It is also an opportunity to consider intersectional identities that explain inequity in schools including disabilities, gender, and belonging to a minority religious, cultural or ethnic group.

As part of our research on professional learning for educators, we collect data about the user experience in these courses. Research ethics clearance for the project “Face-to-Face and On-line Professional Development for Educators: Impact on Practice” (file #5003) has been provided by the Research Ethics Board of Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada. By registering for a course, you provide consent to the use of your data for this research project. No aspect of your participation will cause any harm or discomfort. All data will be securely stored and only used with identifying information removed and in aggregate form. You do not need to complete any questionnaire or questions within them to complete courses. Your participation will benefit research on how to most effectively support professional learning for educators globally. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the primary investigator, Dr. Steve Sider (ssider@wlu.ca).

Course Details

Course Developed by:
Research Assistants, including volunteers, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Sider Educator and Leadership Institute, Wilfrid Laurier University


  Real world applications of learning
  Interaction Opportunities
  100% Self-paced
  Cost per student: FREE


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If this is your first time visiting D2L Open Courses, you can register for this course by selecting the Register button below. The first time you register in D2L Open Courses, you will be asked to set up an account and agree to the Learner Terms of Use.   If you have already registered for this course please login now with your existing D2L Open Courses credentials to return to this course.

 Start Date: October 31, 2022
 End Date: December 21, 2024
 Duration:  100% self paced
 Cost: FREE

Registration is open as of October 31, 2022 until December 21, 2024

2268 seats available.
Price: Free