Publication Date



In 'The leadership challenge : improving learning in schools, conference proceedings', pages 33-39. Camberwell Vic : Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)


There is a vast body of research confirming the important influence of the classroom teacher on student achievement. A key issue then, is that of how the quality of teaching and learning within individual classrooms can be influenced and improved. Based upon findings from a range of research projects investigating aspects of quality teaching, it is argued that two key, related influences on classroom achievement are educational leadership and teachers' professional learning. This paper concentrates mainly on the former. Educational leadership, like teaching and life generally, is heavily dependent upon relationships. There are two fundamental dimensions to relationships: responsiveness and demandingness. This paper considers the two dimensions in the contexts of parenting, where these were first proposed, and then teaching and educational leadership, where it is proposed these have equally valid and valuable application. A postscript considers how responsiveness and demandingness may have shaped and can explain educational change since the early 1960s.