Capacity and resources

Building capacity dissolves differences. It irons out inequalities.

– Abdul Kalan

Interested in how your school is doing with ensuring adequate capacity and resources for collective leadership? Use one of the self-assessments in the linked document below.

What do we mean by capacity and resources?

What building capacity and resources look like: Physical space is available for collaboration and teachers have regular time meet. Additionally, they have the time and financial resources to try new ideas and the preparation, development, and capacity to grow. 

Time, space, and financial resources catalyze or constrain collective leadership development. Leaders need time to develop together, and this requires financial resources that make space for co-learning and co-leading. Moreover, if teachers and administrators are going to innovate productively, they need some margin in order to tolerate risks for initiatives that might not be immediately successful.

Another consideration is the capacity of teachers and leaders. Teachers’ capacity for leadership work is central to the transformation of a school. Capacity is contingent upon many factors such as preparation, professional development, or colleagues. If teachers are already at capacity with their instructional responsibilities, then adding additional work — even if it is meaningful — will not necessarily improve outcomes for students. Teachers cannot do more than their capacity allows. Their initial capacity as well as the capacity that can be developed must be considered in this model. In practice, this means not allowing a beginning teacher to take on so many responsibilities beyond the classroom that this work becomes detrimental to his or her instruction. On the other end of the spectrum, this means not expecting the 25-year veteran teacher to just keep adding more leadership work without support.

Capacity is malleable and can grow through deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is not just experience; it is practice that includes feedback, reflection, and opportunities for improvement. In schools, we know growth occurs best with other educators. 

The importance of capacity and resources

Even if all other enabling conditions are present, a lack of capacity and/or resources can lead to frustration that can stall progress in any given effort. Educators, once provided the opportunity to co-create the vision and strategy for an effort, are normally enthusiastic about implementation, especially if they believe that students will benefit. But when they are faced with not having sufficient capacity and resources to effectively implement something, they can become frustrated, making it that much more difficult to create the desired impact. In the end, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right and making sure that staff have the capacity and resources they need to be successful will help avoid frustration.


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