Leadership Characteristics That Facilitate School Change Essay

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Over the last several decades, the state of the U.S. education system has been in consistent decline. Part of the reason for this is: the change in the way that people are living their lives and how various curriculums is delivered by educators / administrators. Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than a 2009 study that was conducted by Northeastern University and the Alternative Schools Network of Chicago. Where, they found that across the country there are 6.2 million high school dropouts. This represents 16.0% of: the 16 to 24-year-old age demographic. The biggest reason why this is occurring is because of a lack of leadership from: teachers and administrators. These individuals are responsible for creating an environment that can improve learning comprehension as much as possible. Given the fact that funding has been cut in many programs to reach out to students, this highlights how a lack of leadership is occurring. Where, educators and administrators are not letting the public know, about how this is contributing to the decline in the education system. As a result, various efforts to address reenrollment have begun to face a number of hurdles. Commenting about what was taking place the report observed, "Because of the widespread, pressing nature of the crisis and the large numbers of young people who have already dropped out, a national re-enrollment strategy should be a fundamental part of America's national education agenda. These programs have found that young people who have left high school before earning a diploma are not dead-end dropouts, but often are in fact students waiting and looking for opportunities to re-enroll and finish high school. The most successful programs are small (80-150 students), offering comprehensive after-school and summer activities, led by experienced principals and teachers, focused on learning in the real world, well-funded with local school site program and fiscal control, and track specific, measurable outcomes for student achievement including skill gains, enrollment, attendance, credit gains, promotions and graduations." ("High School Drop Out Crisis Continues," 2010) This is significant, because it shows how if leadership is applied by educators and administrators, it can have a dramatic impact upon improving the quality of education that everyone receives. To fully understand how we can apply this general concept to a specific educational setting, we must examine the most common characteristics in all successful leaders. This requires looking at how these individuals have: vision, the views of educators / administrators, the ability to work as a team, to be a good communicator / listener, embracing change and being willing to take risks. Together, these different elements will provide the greatest insights, as to how teachers and administrators must apply genuine leadership, to effectively improve the overall quality of education that is being received.


When most educators and administrators hear the word vision, they will often assume the traditional role that has taken place in an educational environment. Where, the teacher will follow the specific instructions of administrators, by covering the curriculum and teaching in a way that will support the educational goals of the administration. In most cases, this would often mean teaching in the traditional lecture format. The problem is that using this model will often, cause many students to slip through the cracks. As they find, the way that material is being presented is boring. At the same time, many educators are frustrated, because they believe that they can adjust from this general strategy, to improve learning comprehension. Yet, they are powerless to do so, as the administration could be taking a one size fits all approach, when it comes to education. Once this occurs, it can work similar to a cancer that will eat away at various achievement scores and possibly the accreditation of the school. This is because, the conservative vision that the administration is embracing, is only making the situation worse. A good example of this can be seen with a study conducted by the British Education Journal. Where, researchers were attempting to see the differences between: the quality of education received using the traditional lecture format and other alternative methods. To achieve this objective, they would survey students from fourteen different schools throughout Victoria, Australia. They were divided into two different groups. With one group: being presented the curriculum, in a different educational format. While the other group, would learn through the traditional classroom setting. The idea was to see, if the way students were presented the information would have an impact on: their perceptions of themselves and their desire to learn the underlying material. The results were, that that those students who were presented with the curriculum in different ways, were more interested in the material and they had greater levels of self-confidence. Where, the mastery and understanding of these concepts helped them to see themselves in a positive light. (Batten, 1989, pp. 259 -- 270) This is important, because it underscores how the vision that the administration has, will have a ripple effects on the staff. At the same time, those educators who do not question this vision, are doing an injustice to the students, by not wanting to use the best techniques to reach out to them. When this occurs, these difference or lack of vision can cause the overall quality of education to decline. Where, the traditional methods that have worked in the past are continuing to be utilized. This is challenging, because with globalization occurring requires individuals to have more specialized skills. Where, they must be prepared for what they will encounter in the real world. The way the information is presented, is tied directly to the vision of educators and administrators, as it will highlight how much passion they have. Where, the vision of an individual can help to challenge the status quo for the better. The biggest challenge for educators and administrators is being able to communicate this vision with others, when they are resistant to such changes or have differences of opinions.

However, when you look at what is required to have vision as a part of true educational leadership, it is clear that there are of different principals that must be embraced. The most notable would include: having a sense of purpose, setting achievable objectives and having flexibility. A sense of purpose is when you are defining, how you want the various kinds of curriculum to be provided to the students. This will often involve creating a general outline, as to what an individual believes, would be the best way to reach out to everyone. At which point, they could take these different ideas and communicate them with other educators. This will help them to utilize the ideas of different individuals and will allow you to formulate them, into one workable solution. ("Leadership Characteristics that Facilitate School Change," 2010)

Next, you would want to take the sense of purpose that was established and create achievable, yet challenging objectives for the staff / student body. The idea is to use these as both short / long-term goals, to motivate students and improve the overall amounts of learning comprehension that is taking place. This will allow everyone to be able to effectively focus on specific learning objectives. At the same time, this strategy is pushing each person to become better, by setting long-term objectives that are challenging enough for all individuals to be adequately tested. ("Leadership Characteristics that Facilitate School Change," 2010)

Then, you must have flexibility, this means being able to adjust to various changes that are occurring within the classroom or at the school level. This is important, because most administrators claim to have vision, yet they have no flexibility. To be able to effectively adjust to new challenges and to ensure that you are reaching out to as many people as possible requires: giving greater flexibility to administrators / teachers. This would provide them with the basic curriculum that needs to be followed. Then, giving them the ability to deviate in how it is presented and when it is covered; will help to improve the way the material is presented. Once this takes place, it will increase the total amounts of learning comprehension, as educators are reaching out to students in numerous ways. If this kind of strategy could be utilized, it would dramatically improve the underlying amounts of learning comprehension and it will provide vision inside the educational environment. ("Leadership Characteristics that Facilitate School Change," 2010)

Once this occurs, it means that this vision will become a part of the culture of the school. As more teachers and administrators will embrace those ideas: that can achieve this objective and give them greater job satisfaction. This is the key for having and effectively applying vision inside any kind of educational environment.

The Views of Educators and Administrators

The views that educators and administrators have, about how to most effectively meet various educational objectives will play an important role, in determining how the different values are applied to the school. This… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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