The key themes developed at these seminars relate to how teachers acquire an instructional repertoire of skills, tactics and strategies and how they wisely draw on that repertoire so as to affect student learning. The ability to develop, extend and integrate instructional practices requires of teachers the ability to acquire a language through which they can articulate and critique their practice and this was also a major theme. The workshops also reflected on the need for teachers' instructional intelligence to be merged with real systemic change focused on how students are taught and learn.
The positive response from teachers and school leaders saw the provision of these workshops quickly expanded to meet the requirements of a further two cohorts of teachers drawn from the community/comprehensive and voluntary sectors as well. The intention is that these teachers will return to their local contexts and share with teachers the wisdom that they have acquired. To assist this process, a national steering committee chaired by Ms Russell has been established to ensure that the excellent work achieved through these courses is sustained. This committee has refined thinking on instructional intelligence in the Irish context and has developed a programme of modules which teachers can access and use in their own school settings. A website has also been developed which will evolve into a repository of resources, lesson plans and video links focused on these key modules.
The Instructional Leadership Programme has to date accessed over 400 teachers and school leaders directly, with hundreds more accessing the programme through in-service/ workshops on various aspects of the programme at local level. It is noteworthy that the key principles underpinning the Instructional Leadership Programme are very much in keeping with important policy developments led by Minister Quinn. Such themes as promoting school self-evaluation, improving achievement in literacy and numeracy, enhancing the initial teacher education experience and improving the student learning experience at junior cycle require teachers to adopt a meaningfully reflective practice and to critically examine their thinking and actions in the classroom. The Instructional Leadership Programme is well placed to help teachers in this regard.