Coursework: The principal as the Managing Leader
The principal as the Managing Leader
1. The principal is the head of any school. He/she is responsible for controlling the school and is an administrative authority. His/her major aim is to group together all teachers, giving them certain responsibilities and monitoring the process of their fulfillment. The principal must control all school staff and give them right directions. The principal is also the constructive leader who arranges the climate to delegate both students and teachers at the site. In addition, implementation of any new program or subject needs strict command of the principal who will supervise and support the teachers to ensure proper execution and maintenance of the program (The Ontario Public Service, 2013, pp. 18-19).
Implementation of a new course usually shows its effectiveness or inefficiency after a certain period of time. It is revealed in students’ understanding, their knowledge improvement as well as parents’ level of satisfaction. It is an exceptional case when the program is suitable for both students and parents but sometimes there are cases when the program is needed to be complemented or improved to have a better perception of the students and result in their ameliorated knowledge. The principal is at the top of the course change and complementation. He/she must conduct a serious work to suggest appropriate steps in improving the program; otherwise, the students’ perception and knowledge will gradually decrease along with the parents’ level of course satisfaction.
The first step the principal should take to receive additional support for the course is analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of the program. The head teacher must attend classes conducted by other teachers to understand the reasons of their negative perception by the students. During the lesson, the chairman can take notes of the moments of students’ high level of understanding and perception as well as those, during which students were bored or did not completely understand the material. The principal should communicate with teachers, who know the children better, to see a whole picture of the problem. The head teacher can also consult the internet and various literature resources to find any other helpful information for implementing the course changes. The chairman can visit other schools and communicate with other principals who can share their experience on new programs’ implementation. After the information has been gathered, the principal must analyze it and deduce certain outcomes for further actions. After coming to particular conclusions, the head teacher has to assemble all the teachers together, and having consulted with them one more time, declare the new teaching principles to work with.
The second step taken by the principal to gain additional support for the program is the need for an individual approach to every student. The head teacher must find some extra approaches and strategies, which will allow the teachers to work with students better in order to reach superior perception and gain exceptional knowledge. The teachers will be in charge of this approach implementation, as they are those who teach the students and direct them. The tutor will be allowed to step away a little bit from the program’s instructions and work according to the students’ interests and needs. The teacher should also attempt to do his/her best for any given project or lesson to be personally meaningful and highly engaging for every student in the class. The tutors who are aware of students’ interests can modify topics, projects, and examples used in manuals to reflect the inner and hidden interests of the students. The understanding of how students study best enables the educators to differentiate the process of instruction efficiently. The students may be superior at processing, internalizing, and interacting with information through auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, or visual learning (The Ontario Public Service, 2013, pp. 18-19).
The scholars single out eight types of intelligence, which are the following: logical/mathematical; verbal/linguistic; visual/spatial; bodily/kinesthetic; musical/rhythmic, intrapersonal; interpersonal; and naturalist. These types strongly affect the ways in which children learn best. A chief teacher’s strategy is the use of pliable groupings, which let the teachers to assign various tasks to various students, working with them individually or in small groups. The learning process must be based on interests, strengths, readiness, and learning styles. The tutees may be grouped according to the interests; however, they may have activities planned at diverse levels of complexity, including abstract thinking processes and questioning levels. These activities result in varying tools, which are oriented on students’ favored learning modality such as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. To examine the effectiveness of an individual approach, it is crucial to conduct authentic ongoing evaluation, and then adapt resources and strategies in accordance with the assessment results (The Ontario Public Service, 2013, pp. 18-19).
The third step in gaining additional support for the program lies in the need for the training courses for the teachers. The principals can organize the training courses at school just for the local tutors or assess their organization among the principals of other schools for all the teachers in the area. The chairmen can invite the training professors to share their experience. During these courses, the tutors can acquire new knowledge about the approaches of teaching and better ways of up-to-date programs implementation. These courses also allow the teachers to interact with each other and share their experience, which can lead to the improvement of the teaching process. Following all these steps will help the principals achieve perfect results in gaining additional support for the brand new programs, ameliorating students’ knowledge and increasing parents’ level of satisfaction.
2. The mission of the Jackson County School district is rather understandable and remains in partnership with the relevant community. The Jackson School mission is helping the 21st century residents to graduate and become career-directed, value-oriented, competent in interpersonal communication and problem solving, skillful in critical thinking and creative activities, as well as knowledgeable in the technology field as a part of a multicultural and global society (Jackson County Schools, 2013). The school aims at shaping competent workers who will not only strive for career but will also possess communicative and critical thinking abilities. The Jackson School struggles to develop its technological basis, which will facilitate the process of learning. The students, principals, and teachers will utilize technology to generate quality work and to develop an environment, which can offer opportunities for excellence in students’ educational performance and where teachers, students, and principals would support the awareness that the entire work is directed to creating the school district, which is caring, safe, and responsive to the needs of stakeholders. The school administration is going to allocate great sums of money for the development of technology for students to learn better and achieve the goals they pursue.
In the modern highly developed world, technology plays a significant role and it is not surprising that the vision of Jackson School is oriented on the technology development. “Our vision for the school district is to increase our technological footprint and place more emphasis on digital literacy in and out of the classroom starting from the Pre-K level going forward as they progress through grade levels until they ultimately graduate from high school”(Jackson County Schools , 2013). The Jackson School wants to help their students evolve through life providing them with computer literacy; technical understanding that will assist the students through their lives. The school administration claims that it is vital that students obtain a technology skill set, which will encourage technology growth, so that the tutees will have at least a fundamental understanding of the devices that they will utilize in their further education in college as well as while dealing with technologies throughout their vocational route.
The review of the school statement and vision shows that they are directed to educating healthy, smart and technologically advanced students who will be able to go through life and achieve success. Maybe someone can analyze the school management in a different way, but to my mind, children require learning to interact with others, think critically and work with modern devices. The school administration allocates the great sums of money to support all the students with modern technical tools, which enhance students’ process of learning and promote their further career growth.
3. The principal is the managing leader who creates the proper climate to authorize both students and teachers at the site. The principal should be the commander in implementing and maintaining entitlement and teacher leadership.
Traditionally, the chairmen were supposed to be bureaucratic authoritarians who managed the school in authoring manner and made all the teachers be afraid of him. The chairman turned into a controlling, coercive and manipulative principal who tried to control all the staff making them follow all the instructions without introducing their ideas and making improvements in the learning process. These negative tactics denied teachers’ sense of success, efficacy, and self-worth. However, the time passed and current principals are non-bureaucratic ones who try to share the authority with the teachers and other staff members. The chairman listens to the thoughts and ideas of the tutors, visits training courses and shares the experience with other principals (Terry, 2000, pp. 2-3).
Unfortunately, many teachers go through a phase of training under the strict supervision of the authoritarian principals. In such cases, the teacher becomes unhappy, resentful, and bored. Most of them get up in the morning and say, “I don’t want to go to work today.” Many are thinking about leaving the teaching job altogether. In comparison with the above case, many teachers see themselves working “with” chairmen instead of working “for” head teachers. The teachers’ opinion has merits. The non-bureaucratic principals give the tutors freedom, which allows the latter to take risks during the classes, improvise and step away from the traditional program. Their techniques of teaching reflect the teachers’ personality as they are allowed by the administration to be creative and empowered. Such teachers declare success during the classes because the chairman gives them the freedom for creativity, additional tasks and improvisation. Such principals share the authority with the teachers to allow them to be the leaders for their students during the classes (Terry, 2000, p. 5).
The authorized, bureaucratic chairmen do not stimulate the teacher to progress and develop as a professional in the process of teaching. Compared to such chairmen, the non-bureaucratic principals stimulate the tutors to evolve from lesson to lesson. The authorized chairmen constantly control all the teacher’s actions and do not allow deviating from the program. In this case, the non-authorized principal gives a complete freedom to the tutor allowing him/her to implement new strategies in teaching and improvise. Comparison shows that the non-bureaucratic chairman is more useful in the process of teaching than that bureaucratic one. Thus, the students’ knowledge and level of understanding will be much higher if the teacher works “with” the principle and not “for” the chairman (Terry, 2000, p. 6).
4. It is very difficult to become an effective leader for the school to lead all the staff and students in the right direction. Effective head teachers support a sense of direction and clear vision for the educational institution. They priority is to focus the attention of staff on the things, which are significant, and not to allow them get sidetracked and diverted with the initiatives, which will have a very little impact on the students’ performance. These leaders know what is going on during the classes in their classrooms. They clearly imagine the strengths and weaknesses of their teachers and other staff members. Moreover, they know how to mitigate the weaknesses and focus on the strengths. They normally focus their staff development program on the true needs of the school and their staff. They have learnt to conduct a systematic program of evaluation and monitoring, which helps them examine all the branches in the educational institution and come up with some decisions. Their lucidity of thought, and a sense of knowledge and purpose of what is happening mean that the efficient head teachers can direct their staff in the most practical and effective way, which is the answer to the efficient work in the classroom and improving the progress achieved by students (Day & Sammons, 2013, pp. 6-7).
The leader of the school must also possess certain values to manage the school effectively. The principal must be patient to the failures and successes of his/her teachers. He should patiently explain the importance of diverse aspects of teaching and direct his/her staff in the right direction. The effective ruler must be smart enough to notice and punish for certain mishaps but praise and reward for the success. The principal must be self-controlling to restrain his/her emotions and feelings when he/she is working with colleagues. In any situation, he/she must be calm and tolerate with the staff, parents and students.
The effective leaders usually create a strategic plan and shared vision for the school that stimulates staff, students and parents in the community. The efficient head teachers take responsibility for enhancing the quality of learning and teaching as well as for students’ achievements. This includes setting high expectations, monitoring, and examining the efficiency of learning outcomes. A prosperous learning culture will make the students enthusiastic, efficient, and independent learners who are committed to continuing learning. The successful principals improve organizational systems through organization, self-evaluation, and management of resources and people to construct capacity across the personnel and deploy effective resources. The principals, who truly lead their school, are accountable to their career, the local authority, governors, the whole community, students, and parents to provide the education of high quality for the sake of promoting complex responsibility within the entire school community and contributing to the education labor (Day & Sammons, 2013, p. 8).
5. Many schools had been operating according to the standard principles until Ted Tizer created new principles, which would be used to reform the standardized school. The new principles had to transform into the Coalition of Essential Schools that would work according to the “rigorous standards, total quality, and zero tolerance of rejects”(The Coalition of Essential Schools, n.d.). The researcher further developed nine fundamentals, which were to be the basics for the future school management.
The first principle claims that an individual should learn to use his/her mind in a proper way. The second is “less is more”, which means that students have to cover less material but more deeply as well as learn simpler material rather than cram the one they do not really understand. According to the third fundamental, the teaching goals should apply to all the students, which means that an individuality of every child must be taken into account. The fourth principle of personalization strengthens the third one and applies the maximum feasible individual approach to each of the students. The fifth suggests that the student should be a worker while the teacher has to be a coach. The next principle suggests that teachers must enhance their mastery to the maximum level. They should constantly evolve. The seventh principle suggests introducing and maintaining a trustful and fair tone during the process of learning. The eighth fundamental principle suggests that the entire school must be a complex, harmonized organism. Moreover, the last one wants the students and teachers to be supplied with everything necessary concerning the financial issues.
There are different types of leadership in schools but mainly the two most prominent and diverse are the bureaucratic and distributed leadership. The bureaucratic leader tries to control every process within the school telling everybody what to do while the distributed leader gives the freedom of choice to the teachers and students sharing his/her administrative duties. For example, while implementing a new educational program, the bureaucratic leader will make the teachers and students obey the regulations of the program and by no means step away from them. At the same time, the distributed principal will consult teachers, students and parents first and then give freedom to the teacher to improvise and implement some changes in the program.
The changes can happen in any school. Some of them are cultural, which include the mission and vision of the school as well as school’s tone and environment. The other changes are structural, which include organization of the school syllable, programs implemented and the schedule. The instance of the cultural change can be alerting for the school’s mission or the tone according to which all the staff is working. The structural changes can include the implementation of new programs or making changes in the whole school syllable.
The school changes can be supported by the state as well as the district. The district support is rather important as it consists of the local people, whose children attend the school. For example, the local people can show their support for the schools changes by transferring their children from other school to this particular one, while the district government can also support the changes by allocating greater sums of money for the school’s further development. The state support can be more complex as it can evolve the school to the state level, which will allow it to have financial and human resources allocated.
Having read the principles of the CES School functioning, I would be pleased to operate as a principal in such kind of school. The first reason for this is the opportunity to gain an extra experience for future life and career. In this kind of school, I would be able to meet interesting people who are professionals in their jobs and who would share their practices with me. The second reason is that I would change myself by working as a principal as I would learn to communicate with the staff, parents and students better. This interaction would definitely change my entire life for the better. I think that I would make all the efforts to work as the best principle in the CES as it is the school with warm and friendly tone among its staff and students.
6. The increasing prestige of the school is a rather complicated issue even for the skilled principals. The case of Madison High School appears to be complex as well. After its prestige dropped, the chairman failed to raise it till the previous satisfactory level. The school attendance continued to remain low, the achievement tests were scored low along with the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, and the dropout rates were climbing. The solutions to increase the rates, attendance and scores are not easy to find but it is still possible.
The reason for low attendance rates to my mind was due to the uninteresting lessons and teachers who could not properly motivate the students to work hard. I think that cooperation between the administration, teachers, and students was poor. The right resolution in this case must start from the school management, which should strictly examine the lessons conducted by visiting them. The principal must attend the classes of the teachers and gain all the necessary information about the situation during the classes. Then the head teacher must analyze it and come to certain conclusions. The teachers must attend some kind of training courses to enhance their knowledge and learn about new methods in teaching, which may be interesting for the students. Moreover, the principal should try to create a friendly and pleasant atmosphere for the students to study. The tone in the school must be pleasant to the extent that children would want to attend the classes themselves (Owens & Valesky, 2011, pp.112-113).
The achievement tests were low due to the uninteresting subjects as well as the process of learning for the students who became bored during the classes, decided not to attend school and just did the things they liked. To solve this problem, the principal must implement the new program of teaching, change the syllabus and help teachers to make their subjects more interesting and accessible for the students to learn. The teachers must try to conduct the lessons in a friendlier manner to be not just a teacher but also a friend to the students. He/she should also find the individual approach to each child, understand the subjects they are more curious about and submit the interesting and suitable material to every of the students. During the lessons, the tutor must group the entire class together to teach them to cooperate and share their experience. By doing so, the teachers and the administration will see the results quickly (Owens & Valesky, 2011, pp.112-113).
To decide the problem of low SAT scores, the principals together with the tutors must cooperate in terms of developing particular programs for students to learn the information better and be prepared for college education. The principal should interact with the college administration to clarify the principles of the test. During the classes, the tutors must do similar tests with the children to show them the prompts of the original one they are going to pass. The teachers can also motivate students to pass the test well to enter the best college.
To my mind, the reason for children to drop out from school was unfriendly learning atmosphere and improper interaction with the classmates and teachers. The low grades may be one more reason. Thus, the principals have to make attempt to group students by creating a pleasant atmosphere in the school. The staff must behave in a friendly way and be always willing to help the children in any situation. The administration should conduct travels and other entertaining events, which will allow the students not only to study but also to enjoy and cooperate with each other. By so doing, the children will become friends with their classmates and will want to attend the school not only to study but also to communicate and interact with their friends. Moreover, the teachers and chairman should interact with parents more to give them all the necessary information and ask for recommendations.