In contemporary perspective, the definition of instructional leadership includes classic analysis of professional development by putting a special emphasis on the usage of data in order to make decisions (King, 2002). Focus on the implication has significantly been shifted from teaching to learning, hence few researchers prefer to define it as 'learning leader' over 'instructional leader' (DuFour, 2002). This paper aims at defining the role of principal as an instructional leader in school setting.
At the onset of the revolution of instructional leadership it was primarily principal-centred, often associated with images of epic leaders who by himself could put the school on track. Many researchers documented principals as the 'principle learning officer' who holds the absolute liability for accomplishment or failure of a system in question (Bottoms & O'Neill, 2001). School principals are being to focus their efforts on the core business of schooling on the basis of teaching and learning. Instructional leadership, in consideration of the wider array of formal as well as informal leadership roles, is not only confined to the activity of principal, leading to the central role in moving the prominence of school activity more unswervingly on instructional enhancements, in turn, directed towards improvement in student learning process and performance.
An efficient instructional leadership involves in curricular and instructional concerns in an intensified fashion that unswervingly influence student accomplishment (Cotton, 2003). This is aligned with the studies conducted by various researchers, additionally confirming the extension of the significance of the role beyond the scope of the school principal in practice by involving other leaders as well (King, 2002; Elmore, 2000; Spillane, Halverson, and Diamond, 2000). The instructional leadership includes the responsibility to prioritize, align, assess, monitor and learn in order to accomplish student outcomes.
Role of Principals as an Instructional Leader
Several researchers confirmed that principals who put special emphasis on academics as a priority experience may lead to an increase in student accomplishment (Bartell, 1990; Cotton, 2000; Johnson & Asera, 1999; Short & Spencer, 1990). Principals typically reserve sufficient freedom in establishing priorities within the school setting. By keeping the instructional improvement at the top level priority, principals can essentially organize the major concerns to be addressed appropriately such as primary grade reading instructions. Principals must communicate upon teachers the significance of alignment of curriculum, assessment and instruction to the standard by virtue of guiding the teachers to employ effective alignment practices. While considering the assessment aspect, it can be mentioned that administration, scoring, reporting as well as perfect usage of analytical information can be put under significant consideration by the school leader as central to the enhanced student accomplishment. This is principal's job to analyze the information in order to administer decisions regarding policy, programs, as well as professional development.
Monitoring or consistent observation is one of the central responsibilities of a principal. Once the