Seminar in change in education session 1
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Seminar in Change in Education : Session 1. Early research on leadership: not conclusive. Difference between leaders and followers Focus on the kind of leaders needed based on the situation

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Seminar in Change in Education : Session 1

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Seminar in change in education session 1

Seminar in Change in Education: Session 1

Early research on leadership not conclusive

Early research on leadership: not conclusive

  • Difference between leaders and followers

  • Focus on the kind of leaders needed based on the situation

  • The contingency models focused on the fit between personality characteristics, leaders' behaviors, and situational variables but did not clarify which or what combination of these determine effective leadership

Studies on effective and non effective leaders

Studies on effective and non effective leaders

  • The situation approach to leadership supports the contention that effective leaders are able to address both the tasks and human aspects of their organizations.

Administrators vs teacher leaders

Administrators vs. teacher leaders

  • School administrators that have developed a shared vision with their faculty have also created common ground that serves to facilitate or compel action to the realization of this common vision.

  • Underlying a shared vision are teachers' and administrators' shared belief that schools are for students' learning. The connection between leaders' values or beliefs and their vision for their organizations is important.

Traits that help to embrace and facilitate change

Traits that help to embrace and facilitate change

  • having vision,

  • believing that the schools are for learning,

  • valuing human resources,

  • being a skilled communicator and listener,

  • acting proactively, and

  • taking risks.

Having a vision

Having a vision

  • Effective superintendents believe that students come first;

  • Effective principals believe in meeting the instructional needs of the students.

  • Teachers value working with students and believe that they have an impact on their achievement.

Shared belief that schools are for learning

Shared belief that schools are for learning

  • They have the shared belief that students' learning is of primary importance. This common ground appears to facilitate the development of a shared vision.

Value of human resources

Value of Human Resources

  • Saw the importance of the contributions, talents, and efforts -of others in their organization.

  • The characteristic of valuing human resources manifest in three dimensions: valuing the contributions and efforts of co-workers, relating effectively with others, and fostering collaboration.

Communicate and listen

Communicate and listen

  • This characteristic of effective leaders of school change that is connected to their ability to communicate and listen. 

  • The communicating and listening skills of superintendents, principals, and teachers are the basis for their ability to articulate a vision, develop a shared vision, express their belief that schools are for the students' learning, and demonstrate that they value the human resources of their peers and subordinates.

Being proactive

Being proactive

  • Superintendents, principals and teachers that are effective leaders of school change are proactive.

  • They initiate action, anticipate and recognize changes in their environment that will affect their schools and districts,

  • They challenge the status quo, the established ways of operating, that interfere with realization of their organizations' vision.

Being a risk taker

Being a risk taker

  • Principals and superintendents that lead and guide others in school change take risks but not carelessly or without forethought.

  • Furthermore they encourage others to be risk takers by providing an environment that makes this safer.

  • Teachers appear to be reluctant risk takers for a variety of reasons, although current educational reform efforts may change this aspect of teachers.

Finally leaders were skilled in two dimensions

Finally: leaders were skilled in two dimensions

  • initiating structure, which is primarily concern for organizational tasks,

  • and consideration, which is the concern for individuals and the interpersonal relations between them --.

    "Effective change requires skilled leadership that can integrate the soft human elements with hard business actions" (Joiner, 1987 p. 1).

Questions about characteristics and leaders of change

Questions about characteristics and leaders of change

  • Do the characteristics discussed represent a composite picture of leaders of educational change or are there other characteristics that have not surfaced?

  • Is there a unique formula for these characteristics that educators attempting to implement an educational innovation or a systemic change at the school or district level should seek to possess?

  • Does having congruent values between a community and a superintendent promote and encourage school improvement?

  • What is the influence of leaders' values and beliefs on their leadership skills?

  • Can these characteristics be learned or are they innate? If they can be acquired, how does this occur?

School context bridge or barrier to change

School Context: Bridge or Barrier to Change

Ecology of a school

Ecology of a School

  • Resources

  • Physical arrangements

  • Scheduling patterns and school size

  • Demographic shifts

  • Working conditions

  • Local, state, and federal policies



  • The lack of resources is a major barrier to sustained change efforts. These resources include not only money, but also time. Patience with implementation efforts and student outcomes translates to a willingness to allow the time necessary for change.

  • There are no quick fixes.

Factors impacting time for change

Factors impacting time for change

  • Urgency or a crisis situation,

  • The attractiveness of the proposed change to individuals,

  • The strength of the culture that exists

    (Deal & Kennedy, 1982)

Physical arrangements

Physical arrangements

  • Physical Structures in the school that contribute to teacher isolation and the feeling that the individual cannot make a difference are indeed barriers to school improvement efforts.

  • Modifications in the physical arrangement of schools in order to facilitate professional interaction between teachers will reduce this isolation.

Scheduling patterns and school size

Scheduling Patterns and school size

  • Historically schedules have not changed and don’t seem to ever be on the change agenda? Do these schedules limit alternatives?

  • School size influences change.

Demographic shifts

Demographic shifts

  • What is the school’s population?

  • Do changes in demographics indicate appropriateness of policies and curriculum? Does the vision need to be revisited?

Working conditions

Working conditions

  • According to Fullan (1991), the working conditions of teachers in the vast majority of schools are not conducive to sustained teacher innovation. To improve teacher performance, the work environment must enhance teachers' sense of professionalism and decrease their career dissatisfaction.

Local state and federal policies

Local, state, and federal policies

  • Rules, regulations, and policies at the national, state and district level may constrain or enhance successful implementation efforts.

  • Knowledge about the types of policies that will increase student achievement and address the second-order level of change is needed.

  • These policies, however, need to allow autonomy for day-to-day decisions at the local site.

The school culture

The School Culture

  • Here the culture of the school will be viewed as the existence of an interplay between three factor:

    • the attitudes and beliefs of persons both inside the school and in the external environment

    • the cultural norms of the school

    • the relationships between persons in the school.

  • Each of these factors may present barriers to change or a bridge to long-lasting implementation of school improvement.

School culture attitudes and beliefs

School Culture : Attitudes and beliefs

  • School culture does affect the behavior and achievement of elementary and secondary school students (though the effect of classroom and student variables remains greater).

  • School culture does not fall from the sky; it is created and thus can be manipulated by people within the school.

  • School cultures are unique; whatever their commonalities, no two schools will be exactly alike -- nor should they be.

  • To the extent that it provides a focus and clear purpose for the school, culture becomes the cohesion that bonds the school together as it goes about its mission.

  • Though we concentrate on its beneficial nature, culture can be counterproductive and an obstacle to educational success; culture can also be oppressive and discriminatory for various subgroups within the school.

  • Lasting fundamental change (e.g. changes in teaching practices or the decision making structure) requires understanding and, often, altering the school's culture; cultural change is a slow process.

Common attitudes as obstructions

Common attitudes as obstructions

  • Things can't change.

  • Discipline is the overwhelming obstacle to school success.

  • Work with the survivors.

  • Educational bureaucracy obstructs progressive public education.

  • I do the best



  • Change is built on trust and empathic relationships. 

  • Change will be undermined if misconceptions held by teachers regarding administrators and by administrators regarding teachers are not dealt with.

  • Liftig (1990) asserts that administrators perceptions of teachers as "the Loafer, the Artful Dodger, and Them" and teachers' perceptions of administrators as the "Snoopervisor, the Terminator, and the Successful Incompetent" cloud this essential relationship for school improvement.

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