Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Module 8 The Leadership of Schools

Module 8 Leadership in Schools is available on this website in both text and PDF formats (Portable Display Format). Just go to the side bar on the right to find a link to see the module or down load it.

The module is a complete re-write of the original one and should be much clearer for trainees to follow. The following is a summary of the new module for your information:

Module Eight
Understanding leadership in schools
In this unit, we looked at the main reasons why we have schools in Guyana in order to focus on the role of the leader and the concept of leadership and, in particular, the type of action that is associated with a good leader. We concentrated on the differences between administration, management and leadership and concluded that, although all have their place, leadership is the most important role and is essential to the development of efficient and successful schools. We examined the characteristics of effective leaders.

We looked particularly at the diverse approaches of the reactive and the proactive headteacher and concluded that it is essential for heads to be proactive in all that they do rather than simply waiting for the specific instructions of others. And finally, we brought to your attention the need for leaders to model how to follow and highlighted the main hallmarks of effective followers.

The principles of educational leadership
Whereas in Unit One we looked at leadership in relationship to schools, in this unit we examined more closely the general skills which are required to be an effective leader and related them to your own practice in school. In some cases we gave you examples of what you could do in school to become accomplished in the desired skills. We added to the work of an earlier module by considering the effectiveness of a variety of styles and, at various points in the unit, asked you to start evaluating your own leadership performance.

Leadership in Guyana’s schools
In this unit we have moved the focus to the needs of the Guyanese educational system, from the theory to its application in schools. We required you to understand the essential characteristics that Guyana wants to develop in its leaders and to put some of this into practice by analysing your own performance in these areas.

We identified a number of groups, whose responsibility it is to develop the future leaders of Guyana. These range from yourself as a potential leader (or perhaps you already are one) through each of the various levels in the school though to those externally responsible for schools in the regions and the Ministry of Education. In each case we related these requirements to the imperative to create effective and successful schools.

Leading in your new school
In this unit we asked you to use your imagination and consider the implications for you of a new leadership post. You were exposed to the various emotions and thoughts that you might have before taking up the post. We looked at the effects that your appointment may have on others and their reaction to you and how you might ease for them the transition from one manager to another. Our aim was to help you to feel more confident about being a middle leader, member of a senior leadership team or headteacher.

We looked at some practical issues such as developing strategies for getting to know and understand your staff and how to make an impact in the first few weeks without making persons feel threatened by any changes you may wish to make. Finally we discussed the way you might use your own experience to date and that of other staff to your best advantage.

Developing leadership in others
Leadership training is now commonly seen as a key feature in the agenda to raise achievement in schools and to improve their effectiveness. We believe, therefore, that it cannot be left to chance or delivered in an ad hoc way. It is important that you are able to appreciate what is meant by leadership professional development and why it is essential to develop people in leadership. As a result of this, you need to understand the process of providing professional development and be able to describe the various forms that leadership professional development may take both for individuals and groups of people in order that you will be able to put them into practice.

However, we are aware that such training in Guyana has its challenges especially in the light of decreasing resources and resource persons. We provided for you strategies to try to overcome this in a positive way. Each type of leader deserves a tailor-made programme to meet its needs. In this unit, we outlined for you the specific leadership training focus of each group and assisted you in evaluating those skills in order that good decisions will be made about future leaders.

Finally, we all need to plan for a time when our leaders will move on to other things. Succession planning is a way of preparing for this and we linked this concept to all of the other training processes already outlined.

Identifying leadership characteristics
This unit was quite different from many others in that it not only assisted you in understanding the basic competencies of a headteacher but also showed you how to evaluate those competencies in a way which would be meaningful and useful for you. If you completed the exercise, you now be in possession of a document which shows clearly your strengths and weaknesses as a leader according to the perceptions both of yourself and others who you manage or are managed by.

Your own leadership growth plan
After working through the competency evaluation of the last unit, it was essential that the information gained was used to inform further development of your leadership skills. To this end, you should now have a better understanding of the variety of methods of receiving feedback about your leadership competencies that are available to you and recognise the sources on hand for feedback about your performance.

We encouraged you to create your own leadership growth plan and use examples of leadership growth plans for middle and senior leaders to improve your own one. Finally, we encouraged the use of and described a leadership portfolio which would store your background and professional information as well as successful examples of your leadership activities and your reflections on them.

Go forward and lead
Having reached the end of the main modules of the Education Management Programme, this module will pull together all you have learnt to allow you to apply this knowledge and skills in a real life situation.

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