Type of Educational Leader
I want to become a school Principal. Becoming a principal is a critical method for me to shape educational policies in our institution. Schools need strong leaders who offer institutional guidance through challenges educators face within and without the class environment. To begin with, I have a deep passion and enthusiasm to create a good learning environment. Becoming a principal will accord me the opportunity to create a smooth and friendly environment for all students to learn and achieve their desired potential. In my current role as the assistant principal, I have always established a special connection with students. We have a working arrangement that encourages discipline, ethical behaviour, and continuous improvement.
I plan to shape this institution and make an impact through a servant and transformational leadership approach. Through shadowing, workshops, and training, I will guide faculty members to create a positive impact on this institution and the community. In other words, I want to utilize my capacity as a principal to encourage and support new teachers in their endeavours to master and learn classroom management, communication and instructions to parents or faculty members. As the Assistant Principal, I was privileged to oversee a training program for new teachers. I enjoyed a cordial working relationship with new minds full of new classroom perspectives during that period. Ultimately, I championed a mentorship program that paired new teachers with veteran teachers to exchange ideas on such perspectives. Also, I allocated enough time for teachers during this period for the pairs to discuss and reflect on feedback from lessons and observations.
Effective leadership plays a critical role in enhancing a positive culture in the education sector. Also, it enhances and influences students’ achievements and academic excellence. Effective leadership in schools is critical to an educational transformation that is far-reaching. The right leadership approach does magic in transforming middle schools into successful institutions. Therefore, I plan to emulate five educational leadership styles to help me convert this school into a successful institution.
First, I will emulate the instructional leadership approach. This type of leadership is basically a coaching style that focuses on students’ learning outcomes through teacher quality improvement (Edith Cowan University, 2019). I will adopt professional development responsibilities for all teachers to realize this objective. Essentially, this leadership style requires proper planning, coordination, evaluation, and teaching/learning improvement (Edith Cowan University, 2019). Therefore, I will redefine the school mission, encourage high expectations, manage instructional programs, and offer incentives to students and teachers. I will directly work with teachers to evaluate their performance and improve their expertise through coaching and mentoring. I understand the capacity of a principal school demands a lot of time to solve pedagogical problems, make teachers answerable for their instructional skills, and take deliberate actions to improve teachers’ instructional skills. Ultimately, the pursuit of improving school learning requires principals to have a detailed understanding of practice and pedagogy themselves (Edith Cowan University, 2019). I have practised in this field long enough, and I possess relevant experience in pedagogy. Domesticating instructional leadership will make our school outperform others.
Second, I will refine transformational leadership in our school. Through collaborative approaches, I will empower my teachers to participate in decision making and collective goal setting. According to Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy (2014), transformational leadership focuses on the development of followers and their needs. In other words, leaders who are mindful of transformational leadership focus on the value of employee growth and development. I will be a role model to my team by creating a culture of improvement, innovation, and shared vision. Ultimately, this will set the foundation for success and growth. Also, transformational leadership helps school leaders influence the best educational outcomes through high-performance expectation demand and people development through individual support (Edith Cowan University, 2019). In essence, transformational leadership will help me instill admiration, respect, loyalty, and trust among my teachers, thus inspiring their performance, morale, and motivation. Research indicates that transformational leadership directly affects the performance of teachers, whereby teachers develop the willingness to embrace certain steps that improve their practice in the classroom. Transformational leadership raises teachers’ job satisfaction and enhances their devotion to professional development (Edith Cowan University, 2019). Ultimately, this leads to improved student outcomes and permanent progress in school.
Third, I will develop a constructivist leadership approach. This type of leadership will help me facilitate a smooth learning process instead of directing it. According to Edith Cowan University (2019), learners have control over their learning process in a constructivist approach. In other words, teachers do not have control. Through this approach, I will be able to make teachers understand that all learners construe educational content in their own way, and therefore they need to consider the different learning needs of all students separately. The constructivist approach enables school leaders to understand that knowledge is a product and a process (Edith Cowan University, 2019). Therefore, teachers are expected to participate in reflective procedures and practices with peers and students. Such reflection will challenge the assumptions about learning and teaching, besides reframing and rethinking student participation. In short, this approach encourages the immersion of teachers into a learning culture that enables them to take risks. The constructivist approach does not encourage dictation to teachers on how to disseminate instructions but makes them understand that both them and students are learners.
Fourth, I will emulate the servant leadership approach. From the phrase “servant”, this approach demands pushing ego aside and considering other people’s needs instead of focusing on personal interests. According to Edith Cowan University (2019), servant leadership subscribes to the philosophy that great leaders endeavour to serve others first, which is key to their greatness. True leadership is manifested in those whose basic motivation is to help other people. Besides maintaining higher expectations, I will help both students and teachers advance their skills for performance improvement. I will achieve this by installing motivation for improvement while focusing on relationships and results. Servant leaders are identified by certain traits like empathy, listening, persuasion, healing, awareness, foresight, conceptualization, stewardship, foresight, and devotion to developing people (Edith Cowan University, 2019). As a servant leader, I will foster high-performance teachers through resource provision, eradication of barriers, and encouraging open communication streams for the entire school fraternity. Through this approach, I will share the power of decision making to persuade and motivate teachers and students fulfil their long-term vision. By engaging students and teachers about the desired future of our school, I will be able to implement structural adjustments which will focus on the bigger picture. In the long term, this approach will create a productive and positive school environment.
Fifth, I will emulate strategic leadership to help me in long-term planning. Through monitoring, evaluation, and analysis, I will be able to assess the school’s current performance and adopt appropriate steps to improve performance. Strategic leadership does not only foster school direction due to a shared organizational vision but also creates frameworks, allocates resources, establishes interventions, and maintains systems for reforms to occur (Edith Cowan University, 2019). Instead of focusing on daily issues, I will be a future-oriented leader who is always prepared for uncertainties. I will base my decisions on research and evidence. For instance, while analyzing school data about learning outcomes, I will be able to respond with appropriate approaches which can improve performance. For example, I will choose either policy and procedure review, staff training, or implementation of a culture that encourages achievement. According to Edith Cowan University (2019), strategic leaders must be innovative by figuring out possible ways to improve the school environment through relationship building or embracing diversity and creating lasting partnerships with stakeholders like parents. I will invest in partners throughout the school fraternity and employ collective thinking power to establish a value-based institution where accountability, transparency, and ethics form the cornerstone of my leadership.
Effectiveness of Leadership Styles
Transformational leadership builds vision, develops people, redesigns organization, and manages learning/teaching programs. The building vision category carries weight in motivating teachers. In transformative leadership style, principals adopt direction setting practices that influence teachers’ motivation, their organizational commitment, and individual level of efficacy (Day & Sammons, 2016). Ultimately, this helps the teaching staff to develop a shared sense of thus enhancing their work. In developing people, transformational leadership aims at improving both knowledge, skills, and other needs of teachers to achieve school goals. Also, it creates dispositions like capacity, commitment, and resilience among teachers who ultimately work persistently to disseminate knowledge and skills. According to Day & Sammons (2016), this category entails specific practices like promoting intellectual stimulation, providing individualized consideration and support, and creating appropriate behaviours and values. In the management taxonomy, these practices demonstrate managerial behaviours like mentorship and development, support, reward, and recognition. Also, these practices will help me integrate both personal and functional attributes like being supportive, considerate, and collegial. Also, it will help me pay attention to the ideas of teachers besides looking out for their professional and personal welfare. By rewarding and acknowledging their good work and providing them feedback about their performance, a positive working environment for teachers can be easily achieved. As a principal, I will help my teachers by giving them discretionary space, developing their opportunities, promoting regular access to professional development and learning opportunities, and by distributing leadership among them besides encouraging them to practice their teachings.
Redesigning organizations in a transformational leadership approach entail practices that establish favourable working conditions like allowing teachers to utilize their commitments, capacities and motivations. Some techniques involve re-culturing and restructuring organizations, developing collaborative cultures, enhancing productive relations between the community and parents, and connecting the outside environment with schools (Day & Sammons, 2016). In the management of teaching outcomes, strengthening school infrastructure and promoting organizational stability are the indicators of positive working conditions created by specific practices in this category. These practices include teaching support provision, school activities monitoring, teaching program staffing, and cushioning staff from various work distractions. I will provide enough resources for teachers and minimize student behaviour.
For constructivist/instructional leadership, the importance of curriculum planning, clear educational goal establishment, and teacher evaluation have been emphasized. The principal’s focus is responsible for enhancing better student outcomes, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, and emphasizing its importance (Day & Sammons, 2016). I will greatly influence student outcomes by focusing my influence more on learning, teacher relationships, and the school’s core business of learning and teaching. The constructivist leadership style effectively emphasizes the importance of clear educational goal establishment, curriculum planning, and teacher/teaching evaluation. Also, the Constructivist leadership style utilizes five dimensions to influence better student outcomes. This includes establishing expectations and goals, strategic resourcing, curriculum planning, promotion of teacher learning/development, and ensuring a supportive environment (Day & Sammons, 2016). Establishing expectations and goals involves clear goal setting, staff commitment to goals, and emphasizing the importance of dreams. Also, strategic resourcing includes using clear criteria aligned to philosophical purposes. Besides, it ensures the availability of funds for pedagogical activities. Curriculum planning also involves coordination and evaluation, which enhances collegial discussions about teaching and its effects on students’ achievement. Besides, curriculum planning provides coordination and oversight of teaching programs. Promotion of teacher learning/development entails the promotion of collective accountability and responsibility for student well-being and achievements. Besides, it provides meaningful advice about solving educational problems. Finally, ensuring a supportive environment entails protecting the time of teachers, quick and effective identification and resolving of conflicts, and promoting consistent routines of discipline.
Effective school leaders portray certain leadership characteristics and practices which lead to a positive school climate. As a principal, I will demonstrate four leadership practices to achieve a positive climate in the school. They include focusing on instructional improvement, monitoring classroom instructions, supporting teachers’ leadership development, and establishing structures that enhance collaboration.
Focusing on instructional improvement will help me reverse any instance of declining academic achievements. Also, it will help me close any opportunity gap arising. There is no doubt that setting focus on supporting instruction improvement, and dedicating resources is the top priority at the moment. The entire school fraternity has a moral responsibility to do whatever it can to improve the academic achievement of students. According to Bagwell (2019), steadfast goal setting and data analysis directly affect teacher practice and instructional improvement with time. In goal setting goals, I will implement Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals as a strategy to keep focusing on instructions. Also, SMART goals keep teachers accountable for the progress of students and establish ways in which the school can observe and evaluate the performance of students over some time (Bagwell, 2019). Ultimately, goal setting will influence teachers to focus on disseminating instructions in a specific way, and in the long run, teachers will realize the importance of goal setting for individual teachers. During this goal-setting stage, I will reflect on students whose progress is stagnant and the appropriate goals to adopt for them to start progressing. Also, my data dialogues will provide a structure and process of direct communication with teachers and their colleagues about data assessment. According to Bagwell (2019), data dialogues impact teaching practices by the ultimate laying of the foundation for building a school culture that is focused on enhancing internal student accountability and improving the quality of disseminating instructions. It is a method of focusing on personal and professional conversations with fellow teachers about their type of results when teaching.
Monitoring classroom instructions strengthens the understanding of an educational leader about instructional practices, effective pedagogy, constructive classroom management, supportive classroom domain, and student-centered learning. An educational leader can’t keep a tab of instructions without regular visitation to classrooms to observe the kind of learning and teaching going on (Bagwell, 2019). I will commit myself to improve learning quality by improving the understanding of teachers about effective instructions and my framework for improving their understanding. Also, I will engage with teachers in conversations about their practice to monitor their classroom instructions. According to Bagwell (2019), engaging in meaningful conversations with teachers about their practice productively makes meaningful instructional changes, reinforces instructional focus messages, and monitors instructional strategy implementation. I will have regular conversations with teachers about what I observe in classrooms to give them feedback on possible improvements.
I will support leadership development among teachers because I believe in giving them opportunities for professional development. It entails developing ‘teacher leaders’ by allowing them to become leaders in their areas of expertise. Hansen (2016) describes this interdependence as a trust which relies on positive relationships of individuals. Essentially, presenting them with such an amazing opportunity allows them to be creative and innovative in their preferred methods of achieving personal growth and student success. According to Bagwell (2019), encouraging teachers and supporting their efforts in their role of developing and spearheading professional development enterprises empowers them and builds their capacity as leaders. I believe fellow teachers will embrace my call to claim these leadership roles in schools.
Finally, I will establish structures that promote collaboration among teachers. I will advocate the removal of isolation barriers existing between teachers and deprivatizing practice. In other words, I will improve existing routines to increase grade-level articulation and teacher collaboration. Through data cycle analysis, a school leader develops a common instructional focal point to improve pedagogy. According to Bagwell (2019), providing data analysis opportunities to teachers enables them to teach one another about the utilization of data in the identification of instructional goals necessary for improvement. The opportunity whereby teachers share, take responsibility, assume leadership when committing themselves to instructional strategies, and assume leadership on how to improve learning and teaching experiences is critical in improving students’ performance.
Developing, Supervising, and Improving Teachers
The professional development of teachers is critical because their knowledge significantly contributes to effective teaching methods besides creating more accepting students. Professional development improves the effectiveness of teachers through active learning, content focus, coherence, collective participation, and duration (Chen, 2018). Content focus is a critical component of teacher development because it is linked to student comprehension of the content. I will increase the knowledge and skills of teachers to improve their practice and, ultimately, the success of students. They also provide teachers with an opportunity to participate in active learning that influences professional development effectiveness. Unlike passive learning, active learning is defined by lectures which happen in different forms like teacher observation, leading discussions, interactive feedback, and reviewing relevant work of students. Coherence means consistency between teacher learning and teacher knowledge and skills. Such intellectual change requires sufficient time duration, like time taken to complete an activity and the number of hours spent to complete a task (Chen, 2018). I will achieve collective participation through cooperation with teachers to enhance discourse and collaboration, which is a powerful method of teacher learning. Also, I will utilize Knowledge-Management behaviors to predict the effectiveness of teachers’ professional development. Better Knowledge-Management behavior of a teacher translates to better teaching effectiveness and professional development. Improved teacher’s Knowledge-Management behaviors improve their teaching and professional development effectiveness.
In addition, instructional supervision will happen in classroom teaching observations and classroom walkthroughs by the principal. According to Chen (2018), classroom walkthroughs and observation by the principal are critical elements of instructional supervision and curriculum development. By conducting classroom walkthroughs, I will familiarize myself with teachers’ instructional practices and the school curriculum. Also, I will be able to assess the school climate; on whether the school community is supporting or resisting the supervision. Also, classroom walkthroughs will breed a team atmosphere in school as I, together with teachers, examine student motivation, instructions, and achievements. Classroom observations and walkthroughs will help me establish myself as an instructional mentor and campus leader who influences teaching, learning, and school regeneration. Finally, students will develop a sense of appreciation whereby both teachers and the school administration value their education. The classroom observation and walkthrough concept is different from circumambulating the hall, whereby the principal enters the hall unannounced (Chen, 2018). Classroom observations are meant to monitor classroom management skills, and they usually don’t take more than ten minutes. Instructional supervision helps teachers to promote school improvement by reflecting on their actions.
Improving teachers will take a professional development approach whereby school members support learning opportunities for teachers. According to Chen (2018), professional development is a continuous process of educating teachers to improve educational quality. Professional development is concerned with controversies related to the political dynamics of the growing careers of teachers and their preservice preparation. Also, it is concerned with political strategies utilized by educational leaders to empower teachers (Chen, 2018). Since teachers use their influence to resist or comply with the principal’s orders, I will employ some political strategies to maneuver through.
Also, I will utilize group development to mobilize teachers and implement decisions about shared instructional issues. According to Chen (2018), principals harbor decisive influence concerning school curriculum practice because of their monopoly of instructional leadership. I will enhance positive attitudes among teachers for effective instructional supervision. I will achieve this by creating teaching groups that allow teachers to learn together. Group development encourages teachers to work together cooperatively as opposed to working alone and competitively (Chen, 2018). Group development enhances decision-making, problem-solving, and communication abilities among teachers.