Bottom-Up Approach With Educational Leadership

As teachers step up to the important role of imparting knowledge and molding minds towards greater thoughts, it is a task much harder than most would think. If one thinks that standing in front of a group of students to tell them right from wrong is a walk in the park, he had better reevaluate his thought process.

Educational leadership may be an inborn talent in some educators as some are bound to remember a teacher who made a significant impression in their childhood. By spending extra time and effort for a student, the added attention expended makes a valued contribution towards the child’s future. For those less blessed in this expertise, various courses are available to enlighten them on the intricacies towards achieving the magic formula.

Perhaps an oft neglected component in the makings of a great educator is confidence. However well one does in the grooming and molding of becoming a member of the profession, this quality needs some tender loving care as it is easily crushed. Lack of experience in handling oneself and a situation can turn the best teacher into a shuddering leaf, vowing to never return to the front of a classroom. By promoting a positive outlook to the teaching culture, educational leadership forms the building blocks as amino acids are to protein strands.

Since the environment can sometimes be likened to a war zone, these professionals are trained to exercise their duties with integrity and fairness. By showing due respect to the various cultures present in current settings, one must be able to exercise correct actions as a true leader. Communication with related parties such as families, community and regulatory bodies is also an essential element to the process.

All in all, it is not about achieving highest billing in terms of role or position. A great educator understands and responds well to elements of social, cultural, economical and legal aspects. Educational leadership influences one to look beyond his confines to deliver better results.

Reasons to Get a PhD in Educational Leadership Through Educational Technology

Since technology has become part and parcel of our everyday lives, we have accepted its company as though the air we breathe. Similarly in the teaching environment, younger aged students quickly grasp the technical side of technology. They may not actually understand why technology is useful but rather it’s a means by which we live. As it may come as a surprise to many, technology is not exactly the do-all and see-all. Technology as a tool remains a steadfast fact. It does not supersede man unless it’s one of those horror science fiction flicks whereby robots take over the world and make man into their slaves.

In order for a teaching professional to better understand how and when to incorporate technology as part of their profession, obtaining a PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology is a good avenue to look into. As part of this doctorate program, the student is made to understand how modern technology shapes the education process. It also imparts clear statements on what technology represents. Being able to identify the latest in processor chips, memory specifications, smart devices, applications and the likes is just a tip of the iceberg. A student is exposed to the role of technology in education, when to include technology as part of the process and when to abstain. When applying technology into the education process, various types of technology are up for discussion and selection. Manufacturers of hardware and software scramble over one another to convince educational leaders of their superiority and latest advancement.

As part of the coverage in a PhD in Educational Leadership through Educational Technology program, the PhD student learns the principles, aspects and importance of designing a curriculum to better apply education into daily lives. The curriculum may or may not adopt technology as an active participant as conventional pen and paper works better at times. In incorporating technology into the education, care is taken to ensure technology complements the curriculum.

Upon completion of this doctorate programs, many candidates pursue a career at academic institutions of higher level such as colleges and universities. Some opt for consulting positions by providing services to assess an institution’s methods in using technology as a tool for education. Others may join governmental or educational authorities to participate in think tank projects to promote education with technology.

Reinventing Educational Leadership

As the 21st century continues to unfold, the task of finding competent leaders to occupy positions of leadership in the educational arena continues to be a challenge not because of a lack of academically qualified leaders, but because of a lack of adaptive -competently qualified candidates. As such, many schools are under the leadership of leaders who lack the qualifications necessary to operate educational institutions in an era marked by rapid and constant change. If the educational scenery is to realize any meaningful change educational leadership should be reinvented. This paper identifies some of the challenges currently faced by the Education system. It looks at how these challenges may be addressed by reinventing educational leadership. The paper culminates with brief recommendations of how institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders in the educational sector may reinvent the manner in which they prepare educational leaders -the end result not only academically-qualified, but also adaptive-competently qualified leaders who are able to perform in environments characterized by constant and rapid changes.

The educational environment in contemporary society is one in which change represents one of the very few constants. Cultural, social, political, technological and economical changes have resulted in a more diverse school populace since the genesis of education. With the advent of these changes, the educational sector is now faced with increased challenges. Challenges such as: low family literacy, increased poverty margins, a rise in dysfunctional families, and increased access to counter-productive information via internet. These challenges have seemingly created an uneven playing ground where students from all walks of life enter the education system being different, but by the time they exit, the barriers of differences should fade significantly, at least academically. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. An article by The National Association of Secondary School Principals “How do you reinvent a principal” highlights a number of effects these challenges have birthed: higher drop out rates, lower academic achievement and teacher attrition. The impact of the effects of these challenges on society is detrimental, as more students exit the educational system without the necessary qualifications to become positively contributing citizens to society.

As these changes and their impact are manifested in the educational environment, stakeholders are forced to raise their expectations from those in leadership positions within schools. Copeland in his article “The myth of a Super Principal” substantiates this point when he states that the expectations of leaders have increased significantly since the 1980’s (2001). The mandate of the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB) in 2001 solidified the prior statements as under the act leaders working in schools which were repeatedly classified as not meeting annual yearly progress (AYP) goals were relinquished of their positions. Incidentally, most of the leaders who were “relocated” were academically qualified for leadership positions, but lacked adaptive-competent qualification. Academically qualified leaders have successfully completed their years of training, by mastering the necessary dogma that was required. Adaptive-competent leaders are able to execute the theoretical skills practically and are able to assess new situations and appropriately modify their leadership style to suit the situation. As the educational scenery changes leadership should be reinvented if any measure of success is to be expected in erasing the effects of the challenges facing education.

The expectations of society have shaped and will continue to shape the roles of those in leadership positions. Educational leaders are now expected to be more than managers, creating rules and policies and maintaining the necessary paper work. They have to be more than disciplinarians, enforcing rules and policies and giving consequences in the event that rules and policies are broken. Leaders are expected to, amidst all the challenges they face, contribute to the increase in student achievement, cut drop out rates, and be a motivating force to their teachers. As the period of high stake testing takes root, no educational leader is exempt from these new demands. Institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders within the educational arena must now ponder and quickly, how to prepare leaders to take on an educational system that must survive in these turbulent times, or face a future with yearly increase in the number of counter-productive students.

Educational leadership for this era demands a style of leadership that is fluid sufficiently to deal effectively with the challenges which will continue to bombard the academic world. This style of leadership should be entrenched in values, only then can an educational culture that is conducive to the invention of productive future citizens be realized. These values should encourage integrity in decision-making which will impact not only education, but stakeholders as well. A value-driven culture should produce leaders and followers who are willing to listen, and evaluate data before taking the steps to implement or act on the data. 21st century educational leadership should encourage collaborative team work within their organizations. This will permit staff members to feel a sense of self worth and subsequently self confidence as they work with their leaders to realize the necessary changes needed to counteract the challenges they face. Educational leaders should encourage staff-creativity, as they seek new ways to address new situations facing education. Far too often educators rely on the advice of those outside of the educational arena to provide techniques with which they may master the challenges they face. In order for staff members to maximize their creative potential leaders should create environments that facilitate and encourage employee creativity and innovative efforts. Encourage workshops sessions were brainstorm techniques as well as the random word technique or mind mapping is used to identify on going methods of providing a climate in which students are motivated to learn. The environment in question should prompt employees to enthusiastically participate decisions critical to the education process. This can be achieved if leaders create a culture that is conducive to open communication, where followers are able to participate by expressing their ideas without fear of ridicule.

Contemporary educational leaders should move away from a particular style, but should utilize different leadership styles as the situation warrants in order to effectively deal with the challenges they face. Any leadership style that lacks the flexibility to bend as the time changes will become an impediment to academic progress. Institutions of higher learning as well as stakeholders should prepare educational leaders to embrace new strategies of dealing with a new “generation” which will continue to metamorphosise as the time changes. As society grapple with the shortage of qualified educational leaders, institutions of higher learning need to provide adequate and on going professional development opportunities to qualify those seeking leadership positions in order to produce academically and adaptively-competently qualified leaders.

21st century educational leadership should be equipped to deal with the myriad changes bombarding society. As technology, culture, politics, economy, and social factors continue to modify the educational environment, academic-qualification, should no longer be the measuring stick by which leaders are prepared. The need to develop adaptive-competence becomes necessary. Only then can leadership be revolutionized to meet the demand of a changing school populace.

Educational Leadership: The Head of the Educational Trainwreck

Educational leadership. There’s a nice official sounding phrase that would lead the uninitiated to believe in something positive. But like military intelligence, it’s a perfect oxymoron. In my experience the people who practice this “art” are neither leaders nor are they operating in the best interests of the kids. You know, the part about their education. They believe they are, they say they are, but actions speak louder than words. And their actions do not support the words that come out of their mouths.

Now don’t get me wrong, being a school administrator is indeed a tough job. It’s a no-win job really. With the pressures placed on education because of state mandated standardized testing and the tightening noose of the regulations placed on school districts because of the No Child Left Behind Act, school administrators have a great deal of pressure placed on them to “improve student performance”. In other words, get the test scores up. Add to that parents, teachers and community leaders and you have a situation that has to be unbearable. Makes you wonder why any sane person would want the job. Maybe sane people don’t.

Leadership, by definition, is getting people to do things because they want to. We normally use the military and business as the models for effective leadership. I’m sure there are effective leaders in education but normally we think of the military and business, not education. Ever wonder why? Ever wonder why when you read books on leadership there are no educators in them as examples?

Effective leaders all share the same characteristics. Besides a drive to get the job done, accomplish the mission, or whatever you want to call it, the essence of effective leaders is how they think of and treat the people they are responsible for. We call it a number of things; team work, espirit de corps, and school spirit. It’s all about a sense of belonging and caring and doing the best you can under any conditions whether it be in the market place or in combat. And it should be true in our schools, but way too often you find an “us versus them” attitude when it comes to how the schools are run. The ‘us” being the administrators and the “them” everyone else.

Leaders are supposed to provide those things necessary to allow their people to be successful. Leaders are supposed to let their people do their jobs without micromanagement. Forget the context. If any organization is going to be successful, the leadership has an obligation to do its utmost to see that everyone has what they need to get the job done and support them in that endeavor. Leaders do not belittle people or make them feel that they have nothing to contribute. Leaders don’t hide in their offices to ignore problems. Leaders have to be visible, they have to convey a sense of one-ness, that we are all in this together. When people sense that they are important, that their contributions have meaning, good things happen overall.

Never in all my years in the classroom has an administrator asked me what I need to be better. They have never “brainstormed” with us to find solutions to our problems. They’re good at making threats. They’re good at not providing us with what we need by blaming the district. They’re good at pointing out our shortcomings, never our strengths. They don’t seem to understand the basic concept of human relations. They don’t seem to get the idea of community; that we are all in this together. They don’t seem to get the idea that their success is directly tied to our success.

What we have, instead, is a layer of bureaucracy that isn’t leading the next generation of kids to meet challenges of the 21st century. We have a layer of bureaucracy whose only job, it seems, is to enforce regulation, find fault, and make reports. But there is no leadership. My administrators, for example, have no idea of the depth of talent in our department. They don’t even know us as teachers much less as individuals. They have no idea what each of us brings to the table. How can they possibly plan for the improvement of our schools’s science program when they don’t even know who’s teaching science? This is leadership?

How can a system whose leaders are abrogating their responsibilities to the students, teachers, parents, and community be trusted to know what is best for the students, teachers, parents, and community? How is it that this layer of bureaucracy is allowed to get away with it? Why aren’t they held to the same, or maybe even higher, standards of accountability that a classroom teacher is?

You want to see real reform in our schools? Then train the leaders properly in the principles of leadership and human relations. In case they don’t understand it, education is a people business. When the kids see that the administration doesn’t care about them, when the staff becomes alienated by being treated with indifference and contempt, when teachers are not allowed to provide any input into how the school can be better, when administrators isolate themselves from the staff and the students, someone is not doing their job and this should not be acceptable to anyone.

Parents and community leaders have to be given more say in how the schools are run. School district officials have got to be held more accountable to the community for the actions of not only the teachers, but everyone else who is responsible for the education of our kids. Can this kind of change happen? With a lot of hard work, yes. Will it? Probably not. We have not yet reached the point where the average person sees where they can make a difference. The average person knows the system is broken, that the bureaucracy is nearly impossible to deal with, and feels that he or she is powerless to fix it.

But maybe, just maybe, a step in the right direction would be the selection and intense training of highly qualified people to become administrators. Maybe the paradigm can slowly change when educational leadership becomes less of an oxymoron and more of a reality.

Better Schools With a PhD in Educational Leadership

A teaching establishment made up of the best teaching staff and smartest students do not get to where they are without a good leader spearheading the way. To ensure the continual supply of good leadership in the field of education, it is towards the advantage of current and prospective school leaders to obtain a PhD in Educational Leadership. The aim of this doctorate program is to instill leadership skills in the areas of management and administration of a teaching environment.

As teachers have their hands full with teaching and promoting students’ progress, principals need to ensure their school performance is heading towards the achievement of educational objectives. By participating in this PhD program, the candidate is exposed to the workings of a good school, well-oiled and fine-tuned to near perfection. By delving into historical and current statistics, the candidate then understands why his or her school is what it is. Upon knowing what to look for, careful research can then be conducted into areas which are sorely in need of improvement. New areas of potential can also be added to the pipeline as fear of the unknown is countered with strategies and sound plans.

Human resource is always an area which needs a leader’s attention. In the event teachers are overworked or under utilized, the principal needs to take steps to rectify the situation. As part of the PhD in Education Leadership program, the candidate is exposed to what others have successfully implemented in their schools or is challenged to come up with new strategies. Student affairs are also a veritable area for serious address. Due to the varied population in most schools, tensions arising from differences abound and need to be dealt with adequate actions.

School performance is an automatic indication of prestige. By comprehending methods in performance assessment, the PhD candidate can strategize towards better performance in his school. Earning a PhD is also a positive move in career advancement as a doctorate holder can hold a leadership position at regional or national levels.

Understanding What a Masters in Educational Leadership Entails

The intent of this type of advanced degree is to give educational leaders the tools they need to create positive change. This allows a school leader to create an opportunity for students to actually learn, which supporting the process entirely. This kind of degree also helps inspire professionals by developing their skills for more of an empowered leadership.

Servicing the community is a major factor for getting such a degree. In fact, a degree in educational leadership depends on the basis that this individual wants to work toward the development and success of each student under their supervision. The goal is to give students equal access to learning methods, facilities and materials.

There are a number of basic principles that guide this kind of degree. Namely, the obligation of school leaders to serve their student population equally. The tools received with this degree also focus on the power of student-based leadership and how this can encourage a student all the way to success.

School administrators learn how to become instructional and curriculum leaders. The focus is place on the curriculum along with a student’s ability to succeed. This program gives administrators the knowledge they need to encourage vital critical thinking skills.

A masters in educational leadership facilitates the knowledge of how to properly lead students to their success. The goal of such a program is to help historically marginalized groups bypass educational hurdles. How? The emphasis is placed on giving students equal educational tools.

If you are one of the many teachers who suffers from not earning enough, than perhaps getting a Masters In Educational Leadership will help boost your career goals.

Educational Leadership in the 21st Century

Education plays a unique role right from the birth of humanity in its onward journey. In the background of the emerging global country of 21st century, education has incomparably challenging roles to play. The ‘global family’ becomes a close -knit community, minimizing and eliminating geographic, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and all other barriers and the role of education has to undergo a conspicuous change. At this era of reconstruction and redefining, the very concept of education has to be reconstructed, redefined and modified assimilating the good elements of the past and discarding the bad ones. In fact, the basic concept of education remains intact in its mission but pedagogy and methodology have to be reviewed. That is what T.S Eliot said, “It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”The educational leadership in this century is endowed with the noble role of managing these changes in an effective and appropriate manner.

The most important challenge of education is to keep pace with the knowledge society. The knowledge and information evolve, develop and are acquired at an alarming speed. The educational leadership has to help the institution encompass the exploding growth of knowledge lest it would remain obsolete. This emphasizes the education being technologically up to date and scientifically exploring. This paradigm shift is due to the giant leaps in communication and information technology that can be manipulated as an asset rather than a challenge. Thus, the real concern in education today lies in the effective management of this complex phenomenon. Therefore, the academicians need to be dynamically ultra paced in the pedagogic process.

The highest edge of competition is the talisman of 21st century. This quest for excellence prioritises the need for competitiveness in all fields. The quiescent knowledge imparted through conventional methods may leave the principal and the agent in the education far behind the signs of the time. The product of an alma mater needs to be equipped with the best to face the world ahead of it. Unless the institution succeeds in this noble mission, it will merely be added up as just one among the others in the list of the so-called millions of schools. Thus, leading innovation in education ensuring uncompromising quality in the minutest of details and at the same time being effective, the educational leadership makes an institution a pace-setting one.

An effective education is life education. Advancing one’s knowledge and imbibing competence become worthwhile only when it contributes to the emotional intelligence and quality of life of the individual. John Dewey defines,” Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. 21st century has the biggest chaos in its values and priorities. Along with achieving professional growth in life, the overall development of the individual needs a special stress. Education should equip an individual to re-define and re-discover the culture and values for oneself. How an individual takes decisions and allots priorities depend on how well the education has expanded his/her horizons. To dedicate oneself to the service of the nation and his/her fellowmen, one needs to be reinforced by the quality of education he/she receives. The question is whether the modern education leads a learner forward along a path where he is enriched academically, culturally, emotionally, physically and spiritually or not. “The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

The education is a vision, mission and a passion. The field of education thus needs visionaries, missionaries and people with zest and zeal. When it comes to Indian educational scenario, a country with human capital as the greatest strength finds, at the same time, its enormously growing population as one of the hurdles in its path to greater heights. Benjamin Distraeli states, ‘in the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends’. Provided the population becomes equipped with quality skills and education, the country will have a strong edge over the other nations in the emerging world. Specifically for India, its future lies in how the young generations bring forth favorable changes in all the realms of political, economic, social, spiritual so on and so forth. As the education moulds the generations, so will be the future of the society. To conclude, G.K Chestertson rightly said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another”.