Educational Leadership Theoretical and Conceptual Knowledge Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2905 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 13  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

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Educational Leadership: Theoretical Conceptual Knowledge

Current educational landscapes are rapidly changing as accountability looms over public schools. School leaders must develop strategies to increase achievement with all learners. Successfully managing these charges requires skills in change and innovation (Kotter, 1996; Dundon, 2002; Fullan, 2001). In reviewing coursework and current research, this paper lists well-known authors in the field of change theory and innovation. Providing 7 scholarly sources, this paper discusses the common elements among these authorities of change and innovation. From these common elements, the researchers will provide a synopsis of those most likely to successfully interact with faculties resistant to change. An explanation of choices is provided.

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Eckel & Kezar (2002) review the theoretical framework underlying many change processes within institutional settings, evaluating tools and methods that work to help overcome resistance to change in the educational environment. The authors suggest the dominant strategy leading to successful adoption of change at all levels of education is staff development or development strategies that promote self-reflection among staff members, which in turn promotes a culture more willing to adopt change (Eckel & Kezar, p. 435). The authors hypothesize a direct relationship exists between institutional culture and change, and that if culture is changed through direct interactions with staff members, that less resistance to change will be met by members of the organization. When resistance to change declines then new programs allowing greater personal transformation lead to a successful strategies. These promote student achievement and the creation of a "unique culture," one that enables staff members to trust their own instincts and knowledge (Eckel & Kezar, p. 435).

Term Paper on Educational Leadership Theoretical and Conceptual Knowledge Assignment

The International Technology Education Association (2006) working with Reeve (2006) analyze change among middle schools in more than a dozens states, suggesting change and innovations can best be implemented and accepted when educational institutions provide teachers with education and innovation courses that allow them to develop new lesson plans and provide them with supplemental resources for learning. This theoretical framework for change strongly supports the idea that change at the middle school level is best implemented when students and teachers have multiple interventions and tools available to them to help understand and implement change successfully. Critical to this theoretical framework is the idea that teachers, as much as students, must have the opportunity to explore new technology and new tools to help advance change efforts within educational facilities in a positive manner.

The ITEA (2006) provides a model for invention and innovation, focusing on standards-based middle school "model course" guides, whose purpose is to provide students and teachers with a "process" that outlines change in a way that is similar to the way one would introduce a new product or system to the market (p. 25) Using this model one would encourage teachers and students to establish benchmarks for evaluating systems, processes and models built to help encourage change in a positive and developmental manner.

This theoretical framework suggests change be viewed as part of a great model or paradigm. One may liken this framework to the idea of a puzzle; all of the pieces of the puzzle do not fall into place until one understands how each piece should fit together using systematic analysis.

Steier & Ward (2006) provide an interesting conceptual foundation for change in the educational context, and change management in education. Steier & Ward use a theoretical framework and concept toward change suggesting good scholarship and change management in education occurs when educations build the foundation of change on the idea that the educational facility is a family, one that requires ongoing evaluation, inquiry and development from each member of the "family," including educators, teachers, students, families and all others involved in the educational process. Using the idea of a "family firm" or the model of a family business, the researchers propose that successful change management occurs when collectively, each member of the family or institution is provided the opportunity to provide commentary on emerging change and evaluate strategic and organizational change using empirical data and real life experience (Steier & Ward, 2006, p. 887). The primary theory here the authors emphasize as guiding change in management education and in educational institutions is the idea that theories of change management that focus on education or an institution as a "family enterprise" are more likely to act as catalysts necessary to provide a "jolt" necessary to "instigate change" (Steier & Ward, p. 887) a sentiment echoed by many.

These ideas are echoed by other conceptualists including Greenwood, Suddaby & Hinings (2002), suggesting professional associations including teacher associations can help foster greater change especially among institutionalized fields like education. The authors suggest future managers must be open to the idea of ongoing change as something that is normal rather than exceptional, and that al involved in change, including staffers, students, teachers, family members and organizational management teams must have the opportunity to review curriculum development and renewal projects (Greenwood, Suddaby & Hinings, 2002).

On examining these theories, one must realize the relevance of developing the educational institution as a "family type" business. This theoretical framework is important, especially to programs as the Read 180 program, which largely rely on the ability of the educational institution to integrate students, family, community members and staff into the greater "family" that is education, and encourage each member of this family to partake of change in a positive and enlightening way. One key concept underlying this theoretical framework is the idea that a model must be created focusing on: "performance, conceptual underpinnings in related fields and adaptability to varied learning contexts" (Steier & Ward, 2006, p. 887).

As with any theory, there are short- and long-term benefits and perhaps disadvantages to this theory. This theory suggests collectively performance outcomes rely on many factors including: "long-tenured leadership, stewardship, and devoted employees" (Steier & Ward, 2006, 887). If teachers or family members or communities are not devoted to the cause, such as the Read 180 program, then it is less likely to succeed in the long-term. If however, change management is implemented in a way that recognizes constant change is inevitable, and promotes the ability of teachers to become more flexible to change through continuous training and support, as suggested by other theorists (Ekel & Kezar, 2002), then there is a greater possibility for long-term and continuing success, even if employees or other key staff members do not stay with the educational institution for long-periods.

Analysis of Theories of Change Management

What is common to these theories is the concept or idea that change is ever-present. To facilitate successful change in the educational institution, or in any setting implementing new policies or programs such as Read 180, one must recognize the need for staff (teacher) support and education as much as one must recognize the need for support of other members of the learning community or family as Steier & Ward (2006) would describe it. Some theorists including Chrisman, Chua & Sharma (2005) suggest a theory they refer to as "agency" theory with respect to change management and implementation in the organization. The authors suggest that this "leading theoretical framework" (p. 555) suggests that educational institutions and programs leading change innovation work best when "family" involvement is encouraged and performance is routinely evaluated and commented on. When programs work, change can continue; when programs such as Read 180 fail in one way or another, then the time comes not to give up on programs, but rather approach them from the idea that the educational institution or agency must work together and involve all members to develop rational and better solutions so change can become successfully integrated into the core curriculum at a school, regardless of the level of education.

This idea follows on older theories of change management suggesting teachers and students can successfully adopt new programs like Read 180 and implement change when they share a common language. The "family theoretical framework" for change management suggests all students regardless of ability or disability can learn to adopt a shared language, one that would foster support for one another and greater success, even in the event change seemed overwhelming or impossible. And critical to this family "theory" of change management is the idea that to survive, any organization, whether an educational facility or other, must adopt social and cultural change that facilitates positive communication and interaction among all members of the community, family and educational enterprise (Carson-Stern, et al., 2004).

Far too often according to Carson-Stern et al., (2004), when evaluating theoretical frameworks for organizational change and innovation, individuals tend to predict change from "a comfortable distance" on the "periphery of mainstream society" rather than immerse themselves in the very environments they evaluate for successful adoption of change and change theory (407). This modus of thinking however, is outdated, especially given the research previously presented suggesting theoretical frameworks for change and innovation can succeed only when all members of the change unit immerse themselves in the change process, rather than act as "outsiders looking in" as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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