IB Leadership Workshops

The IB have designed a suite of leadership workshops which provide an IB perspective on leadership and aim to help you become "an effective IB leader".

On this page you will be introduced to the initial offering of five complimentary workshops through activities that help you understand what each workshop is about.

The page also shows how you can find where to access and sign up to the workshops.

The Workshops

The foundational workshop entitled 'Understanding Leadership' helps you explore your own personal leadership style. This is only offered as a face-to-face workshop, but is offered in all three IB regions. One of the learning outcomes of this workshop is to draft your own personal leadership philosophy statement helping you to formulate your vision of leadership, values and beliefs. See My leadership.

Four further workshops inquire into different facets of being an effective leader of an IB World School. They are offered both as face-to-face workshops and online workshops.

  • Leading with a clear vision and strategy: helps you to refine your mission and vision and examine how to develop strategy and being about change.
  • Leading through an understanding of culture and context: helps you explore the concept that leadership is context driven and will help you explore leadership issues in different IB contexts in the world.
  • Leading for effective teaching and learning: helps you inquire into your role as pedagogical leader of the school and the theories of learning and instructional design principles underpinning the IB programmes.
  • Leading an effective professional learning community:this workshop inquires into your role as leader of the professional learning community, especially that of all of your staff and you will investigate different approaches to developing IB focused professional learning communities.


  • Audience: educators who are working in an IB context. Early participants to these workshops have held leadership positions in IB World Schools. They have been Heads of Department, IB Coordinators, Section Leaders, Heads of School and School Governors.
  • Programme: Details of workshops are published in the IB professional development catalog. Click here to access the most recent information about the IB series. This site also provides you with links to find upcoming workshops.
  • Length: Each workshop follows the pattern of IB programme workshops, namely: 2.5 days (Americas and AEM regions) and 3 days (Asia Pacific region)
  • Certification: Participants receive a certificate on successful completion.
  • Workshop Leaders: WSLs are high-performing IB school leaders: they have been district superintendents, heads of groups of schools and Heads of IB World Schools.

Understanding Leadership

The professional inquiry that underpins this workshop focuses on the following three lines of inquiry:

  • What is leadership? How do I conceive of leadership? What beliefs and values underpin my understanding of leadership? How does context impact upon leadership? How is leadership affected by cultural identities, including national cultural identities? How does research inform our understanding of leadership?
  • How does our understanding of leadership affect our leadership practice? How do we put our beliefs and values into practice? How does exploring case studies help us understand leadership in practice?
  • What is the IB Leadership Pathway? How is IB leadership development different from other leadership programmes? What are the IB leadership capabilities? How do these show themselves in practice? How does professional inquiry inform the IB approach to leadership?

Activity 1: IB perspective on leadership

The IB have produced a Webex resource entitled Evolving Leadership in schools that explores the background to the Understanding Leadership workshop. It introduces you to some of the research that underpins the IB Leadership Pathway. You may need to add Webex extension to your computer to access this.

This Webex is 55 minutes long and so it probably best used individually as a reflective exercise.

  • Access the Webex by clicking here and scrolling down to the resources at the bottom of the page.
  • Identify the key understandings that underpin the IB perspective on leadership.
  • Choose one of the following internal links to explore key aspects in this workshop:

What is leadership? which looks at the importance of understanding your self and your personal style of leadership

What makes school leadership effective? which inquires into what makes school leadership effective

Leadership traits, behaviors and skills which explores what international research informs us about leadership

Leading with a clear vision and strategy

The professional inquiry that underpins this workshop focuses on the following four lines of inquiry:

  • What is the difference between a mission and a vision? What makes a robust mission and vision that is owned by all stakeholders in the school community? How does a leader develop a mission and vision for a new school? How do we evaluate our mission and vision to ensure that it has secured 'buy in' from all stakeholders? How do IB leaders demonstrate an ability to align the school's philosophy and mission with the IB philosophy and mission?
  • What is strategy? How are your strategic plans created and what are they for? What makes a strategic plan a good one? How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your strategic plan? How does a strategic approach help you translate your core vision, core purpose and futures perspective into action? How can schools plan for strategic development - what strategic approaches can be used to plan for the future? How do schools build strategic processes that enable staff to engage in futures and strategic discussions in order to build strategic capability?
  • How can leaders manage change and create sustainable systems? What is the role of leadership in managing change? How can leaders manage change and sustainable development in a constantly changing environment?

Activity 2: Our mission and vision

  • (Without looking) recite your school mission and vision? Were you able to without looking at your website or prospectus? What does this tell you about your mission and vision?
  • Now look at the words of both your mission and vision. Identify the key words in each? Does your mission adequately describe what you do? Is your vision statement aspirational? Is it audacious? Does it inspire the hearts and minds of key stakeholder groups?

Choose one of the following internal links to explore key aspects in this workshop:

Writing Vision and Mission Statements which looks at the difference between mission and vision and how to write robust mission and vision statements

Aligning Mission with IB which looks at how you align your mission and philosophy to that of the IB mission and philosophy

Strategic Planning Process which explores how to write a strategic plan

How do leaders best manage change? which inquires into the role of the leader in bringing about change in a school

Leading through an understanding of culture and context

The professional inquiry that underpins this workshop focuses on the following four lines of inquiry:

  • What is culture? What do we mean by organizational culture? How do you develop and improve organizational culture? What is meant by national culture? Is it possible to be defined? If so how does national culture(s) impact on leadership practice?
  • To what extent do national culture's values and beliefs affect education? How might national cultural views and beliefs about education be different around the world? How is school leadership impacted by national cultural views and values? What beliefs does the IB have about education? What does it mean to lead an IB World School?
  • Are there universal leadership attributes or are they all culturally contingent? What do we know about effective leadership traits? What impact does this have on leading an IB World School?
  • Is there a particular leadership style that is most appropriate in IB World Schools? To what extent is it important to be flexible in the leadership style you adopt in an IB World School? Is one style more appropriate in one context than in another?

Activity 3: Exploring the impact of culture and context

This activity is a useful discussion starter that you can use within the leadership team but also with the whole staff team. It uses a Padlet to collect your colleagues understandings of how national cultures and their beliefs about education can impact on your role as a leader in the school.

  • Use a padlet for your region on which you can post your thoughts (use words, images and even videos) on the culture(s) you work in.
  • Choose one of the following internal links to explore key aspects in this workshop

  • What is our school culture? which inquires into what culture is and how you can develop and improve your school organizational culture
    What's the impact of national cultures? which considers the extent to which national culture's values and beliefs affect education and whether there are universal leadership attributes or whether they are culturally contingent.

Leading for effective teaching and learning

The professional inquiry that underpins this workshop focuses on the following lines of inquiry:

  • What is effective teaching and learning? How does a school leader decide what is effective?
  • Where is a school on the road from 'poor' to 'excellent' in its quality of teaching and learning? What does international research in different educational jurisdictions tell us about this journey? What impact can a school leader have on the school journey to excellence? What leadership behaviors do they need to exhibit? How should school leaders intervene?
  • What does the IB consider to be effective teaching and learning? What are the essential elements of an IB approach? How can the IB approaches to teaching and learning be reviewed, evaluated and improved?
  • What is inquiry based learning and how can it be implemented? How is inquiry based learning different from other approaches to learning? How can teachers demonstrate inquiry based learning? How can teachers be supported in their inquiry based learning?

Activity 4:

Leading an effective professional learning community

The professional inquiry that underpins this workshop focuses on the following lines of inquiry:

  • What are professional learning communities? What are their key features? How central is learning to our school community? Do IB schools operate as professional learning communities? To what extent do the philosophies and practices of professional learning communities resonate with IB World Schools? What are the challenges of creating professional learning communities in multi-cultural school communities as many IB schools are?
  • How do professional learning communities grow, develop and become sustainable? Where is our school on the roadmap of becoming a sustainable professional learning community? What is the role of the school leader in developing this professional learning community?
  • How can networking enrich our professional learning community? Who are we currently networked with? What opportunities exist within the wider IB world for developing our networks? How do we sustain networked relationships?
  • How can we create a climate of trust and promote collaboration and effective teamwork? Collaborative working is at the heart of the IB community but how good are we at it? What is the role of the school leader in modeling, developing and sustaining collaborative work in the school? How do we create truly collaborative teams?
  • How do we use an inquiry approach to promote collaborative learning? Where does research fit in to collaborative learning in the leadership team and staff room? What criteria should be used to evaluate our professional learning? Should professional learning be an integral part of the schools performance management process?

Activity 5: To what extent is our school a professional learning community?

  • To what extent does your school culture embrace and promote professional learning?
  • What is the most significant professional learning you have had as a school during the past 12 months? What impact has it had on the students? How do you know?
  • Choose one of the following internal links to explore key aspects in this workshop:

What is a PLC? After exploring the culture of your school you will look in some depth at the characteristics of effective professional learning community.

Developing our PLC Activities which provide an opportunity to reflect on the role of the leader in growing and developing the school as a professional learning community.

Developing collaboration looks at some of the challenges of establishing a collaborative culture and the role school leaders play in establishing such a culture.

Professional Inquiry To professionally inquire is to be curious, to ask questions, to examine, to consult and investigate ideas. It is also to carry out research where your classrooms are your laboratories of learning.

The IB Network (community)  which looks at how you can access and benefit from the IB community.

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