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I achieved my QTS after my PGCE in 2007, and I have gained five years experience partly as a classroom teacher and as a subject leader. Design and Technology was the subject I chose to complete my PGCE in because of my degree in Product Design Engineering. Graphic Products is now my specialist subject area and I have been subject leader for three years.
In the last five years as a teacher I have had the opportunity to gain different experiences especially in teaching and learning styles. This has allowed me to know my different teaching groups and adapt to the style that most benefits them. I have since learnt that I have to learn and acquire more than one teaching style because my preferred and most comfortable, may benefit me but will not necessarily help my students learn. My most memorable experience as a teacher was when I once had a class that was challenging, and I always made them sit quietly and do their work. When I realised that the challenges in the group came from my teaching style, I decided to try designing first and then do some research later. The 'Backward to forward' approach was the best style for this class because it got them thinking, and analysing really early which was worth more marks. They were really proud of what they had made half way through, so comparing it to what was in the market was not as 'Boring' as it would have been for them.
Three years ago I took on the responsibility for head of Graphics Product this has helped me to research ways to improve myself as a subject leader and this is why I decided to undertake an MA in Education. I believe that it will help enhance my skills and knowledge of education and I can apply both the vision and appropriate methods to have a positive impact in my future teaching career, thereby improving my whole school community. I also intend on applying the theoretical knowledge I acquire from this MA to teaching, to help me understand the Key decisions made within the school.
Being a third generation Teacher in my family tree, I believe education plays an important role in developing 'the Leaders of Tomorrow'. As teachers we should help children achieve their potential by challenging them with different learning situations and giving them the opportunity to achieve their overall potential as independent learners. Students always rely on the judgement of their teachers who they see as their leaders and role models. Whilst most students grow up and can hardly remember the people that they have met in their school life, they always remember a particular teacher that has impacted their life by helping them learn about life's virtues and make key decisions about milestones in their education.
The educational setting I work in promotes the practice of an honest self evaluation in order to pursue and achieve excellence. Every member of the community is respected as a unique individual and everyone in the community is challenged to develop their talents to the utmost of their ability with support from senior members of staff.
To help achieve outstanding excellence distributive leadership is structured in an orderly manner. There is a pyramid-like "chain of command" which is easy to follow it consists of numerous HODS', Line managers, a few Deputy Heads and a Head teacher. This type of leadership allows and encourages teachers to have an input in the way the school is run. Feedback could be given easily and researched for more improvement. It is the culture of the school to celebrate the success and achievement of their staff or students gained within or outside the school.
SUMMARY OF CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW
The module reader, had a lot of interesting articles in it, but the four listed below where the ones that I have found easy to understand, and are most intriguing. I have explained below, why I have chosen to review them.
Luckcock, T. (2008) 'Spritual intelligence in leadership development', in Educational Management Administration and leadership,
This is the first literature that I am going to review. It is about how Luckcok argues that to create an excellent working environment leaders have to be aware of themselves and others.
Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005) 'Distributive leadership', in improving schools through Teacher Leadership.
This is the second article that I have decided to review because I like the way Harris & Muijs puts forward the idea that everyone has to matter to create an excellent working environment.
Harris, A. (2005) 'Distributed leadership', in Davies, B. (Ed) (2005) The Essentials of School Leadership.
This article was the third one I wanted to review because it was written by Harris, and it was about a topic that I am interested in "Distributed leadership". Harris argues that distributing leadership is the best solution for everyone to excel in a working environment.
Senge, P. (1992) 'Give me a lever long enough ... and single-handed I can move the world' in the fifth Discipline, the Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation.
This article was the last one chose to do because I like the way Senge encourages the reader to be the best they can and achieve as much as they can and not stop until they have reached their ultimate goal, but when they get there, they need not blow their own trumpets but wait for others to notice and praise them for what they have done to achieve outstanding success.
CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW 1
Luckcock, T. (2008) 'Spritual intelligence in leadership development', in Educational Management Administration and leadership, BELMAS Vol.36 (1)373-391
Luckcock, T. (2008) 'Spiritual intelligence in leadership Development'.
This article is written from the perspective of Tim Luckcock who was a Practitioner Headteacher that had taken part in the Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers (LSPH). The purpose of the article is to bring to the reader's attention that the "Morally correct direction" Leadership styles that the LPSH want Headteachers to use whilst managing an organisation might not be the best option as a standalone style.
The importance of this article is the emphasis Luckcock puts on the six LPSH leadership styles which are Coercive, Authoritative, Affliative, Democratic, Pacesetting and coaching.
He then tries to fit Hodgkinson's Leadership Archetypes and value paradigm which are Poet, Technician, Politician and Careerist into the LPSH leadership styles. He bring to the reader's attention that not all leaders can achieve what the LSPH are implying except they are of the Politician Archetype.
Luckcock's claims are quiet secure because a leader can almost not tell which of Hodgkinson Leadership Archetype category they fall into, whilst it is easier to pick and choose Leadership styles from the LSPH they want to be.
Luckcock addresses this when he puts Hogdkinson's leadership Archetypes in LSPH and picks which of the Four-Quadrant model of emotional intelligence (derived from Goleman et al., 2002) When I read through "the Careerist Archetype in LSPSH and Partial Emotional Intelligence", it was easy to not the implications Luckcock is concerned about. The careerist archetype is someone who is always in survival mode this person lacks spiritual intelligence because at their highest aspirations this type of leader is an opportunist and at their lowest a predator (Hodgkinsin. 1993) and is prone to using other people for purpose to maintain and advance self. Morality is used for the careerist's own gratification. A careerist is allowed to flourish and be successful in an organisation that is competitive. The concern is that the organisation will depend more on this type of leader, thereby suppressing the Poet, technician and Politician archetypes that the organisation has. Luckcock states his concerns using the facts that he has gathered from (Hodgkinson; 1993) and (Goleman; 2002) allowing a leader pick a leadership style from LSPH without exploring what archetype and emotional intelligence they have, may not work well for the organisation and the people they lead.
When Luckcock puts the Pet Archetype in LSPH and Spiritual intelligence, he makes the reader appreciate the poet -leader as an ideal type to integrate the key strands of LSPH. Spiritual intelligence can be achieved in leadership is if everyone is ready be of a Poet-leader.
Finally Luckcock implies that "spiritually intelligent leadership understood in relation to the parameter of the Poet leader archetype, and posited in terms of Zohar's (2005) principles by way of example, indicates that emotional intelligence is not necessarily the ultimate form of intelligence open to head teachers." And "while the six leadership styles of LPSH may be helpful pragmatic indicators of effective headship, they become more philosophically coherent when correlated with a sophisticated values paradigm as Hodgkinson provides".
CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW 2
Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005) 'Distributive leadership', in improving schools through Teacher Leadership, Maidenhead: Open University Press
Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005) 'Distributed Leadership', in improving schools through Teacher Leadership.
Taking on roles like HOD, HOY, Subject coordinators, Advance skills teacher, KS coordinator, or just coaching and mentoring, has become the norm in schools because teachers now practice some sort of leadership either as informal leadership or formal leadership. In the last few years 'Distributed Leadership' has become more popular even though most teachers can hardly interpret or understand the term. Harris & Muijs, states that there has been significant advantages to schools that recognise teachers as leaders, and Bennett et al. (2003) Suggests that 'Distributed leadership' should be thought of as 'a way of thinking about leadership' rather than as another technique or practice to make a school excellent as a whole.
Harris & Muijs article is Plausible because they say that the "formal" leadership role teachers can take on in schools on the foundation of their professional status is fairly an insignificant part of their possible leadership influence. They suggest that the ability of teachers to influence decision-making "informally" through communication, with each other and constant contact with other people in the school is more effective. They suggest "informal" leadership is self motivated especially between individuals, a result of social interaction and persistent teamwork. The whole idea of "improving schools through teacher leadership" is an attractive one especially in the quest for examples of shared good practice that might contribute to achieving excellence in the school as a whole.
Harris & Muijs implies that "teacher leadership" puts in a nut shell and explain that all staff engaged in supporting teaching and learning in a school are potential leaders and should be heard.
Harris and Muijs believe that "teacher leadership" is the way forward to achieve excellence as a whole in a school environment. Whilst this is great in the context that everyone is treated as "equals", it could be a dangerous step to take because school rules and policies will be changed based on what a particular teacher leader is feeling like on a particular day. I question the credibility in this article because schools allow teachers take on "Middle management" roles in schools and even allocate pay to the roles. This creates a structure that can get a school to excellence because potential leaders are interviewed and then chosen based on the fact that they are capable to lead. What Harris & Muijs suggest is quite flattering but not all teachers will want to share knowledge or opinion without being rewarded for it because "it's the middle managements responsibility and not mine", "I will attend an inset to find out what management requires of me" and for the leadership in schools the common thought is "what is the government requiring of the school".
Harris & Muijis' observation is hard to follow, they appear to suggest that teachers say things and do things liable to cause attitudes and behaviours around the school to change, whether as a result of conscious effort or not, particularly in relation to teaching and learning.
CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW 3
Harris, A. (2005) 'Distributed leadership', in Davies, B. (Ed) (2005) The Essentials of School Leadership, London: Paul Chapman
Harris, A. (2005) 'Distributed leadership', in Davies, B. (Ed) (2005) The Essentials of School Leadership, London: Paul Chapman
In this article Harris sets out to discuss and argue about how a school community's effectiveness is and should be very important to both staff and students.
Hypothetically, Distributed leadership is a catalogue of sources of numerous leadership and direction, based on the outline of the most experienced leader in an organisation.
Distributed leadership is most effective when teachers are encouraged to share their knowledge with each other, either in a formal or informal way.
Leadership is the most important catalyst at the centre of change. Distributed leadership is said to improve teaching and learning in schools. Harris shows the different leadership models that could be used in an established hierarchy system in schools. She starts off by arguing about the standardisation concept and how it does almost nothing to improve the school community. She argues that it suppresses the different ways in which a teacher can be flexible and creative.
The government has an important role to play in the educational system. Things like the national standard, a chosen curriculum and testing have been introduce heavily by the government in recent years.
There is a range of description and definitions of distributed leadership in this article, however it appears that Harris does not have a favourite one to pick and stick to. This introduces a certain level of difficult, especially when the reader of the article tries to mirror the suggested Distributed leadership concept in their working environment. She emphasises on 'interaction amongst individuals' which requires the highest level of a teacher's participation and contribution.
I am enthusiastic about the concept of Distributed leadership in schools because Harris sells the idea out to the reader as the simplest solution that could solves current problems and prevent potential issues in a school whilst becoming outstanding in all aspects. The only problem is that it is not plausible enough as there is also no hard evidence or statistics to back up her claims. She assumes that teachers will be dedicated and zealous enough to take up more responsibilities even if they are not getting paid extra for it. On the contrary, only a handful of teachers will go the extra mile to pick up responsibilities when they are not paid, but this is usually 'for the experience' at least 'I've tick the box for this standard'.
Harris is not making any concrete argument in her article, it seem she wants to raise the awareness in the reader that distributed leadership is the solution to a continuous outstanding school environment. She encourages all staff that works in schools to speak up when they think that their opinion counts.
The truth is Distributive leadership is already happening in and around the schools environment on a daily basis. It is nothing new neither is it a new concept. The words 'Distributed Leadership' makes it all formal and sounds like a lot of work or extra work for an already busy teacher.
A lot of large schools practice Distributed leadership, the onus is not just on the Headteacher to carry out decisions about the students and staff. Usually through entrustment and responsibility sharing, teachers are now taking more meaningful roles in schools.
CRITICAL LITERATURE REVIEW 4
Senge, P. (1992) 'Give me a lever long enough ... and single-handed I can move the world'.in the fifth Discipline, the Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation, Random House
Senge, P. (1992) 'Give me a lever long enoughâ€¦.and single-handed I can move the world'.
Senge investigate the concept of our educational systems and encourages the reader to adopt five different ways to achieve an outstanding outcome. He argues that an educational establishment should be able to provide the 'ability to learn faster than your competitor.' Senge assumes that everyone is enthusiastic about learning and it is human nature to want to learn, this however is not the case in schools. The evidence that not everyone loves education is seen and noticed when a student has a choice to either stay in education or find a job. If Senge's claims are true then what we should notice is a 100% turnaround for students that register for and stay in higher education. Senge states that our education systems should be based on mostly learning because we are all curious by nature.
Senge's five ways to this concept are system thinking, personal mastery, mental models building shared vision and team learning.
He describes system thinking as common knowledge that has been developed over a period of time to help us understand situations and adapt to change easily.
Personal Mastery is described as further self development carrying on from where 'system thinking' stops. It is described as the ability to want to know more and not take things for 'face value.'
Mental Models focuses on one's ability to question their actions, by understanding and reflecting on tasks at hand and identifying areas that will help and benefit their learning journey.
Senge describes Building shared vision as a concept that encourages people to want to know more and acquire knowledge. It is more about the wider community, it is the 'bigger picture' 'this is where we are and this is what we want to achieve'. Everyone is actively working towards the same goal because it is beneficial to the community.
Team learning is best describes as constructive criticism at its best whilst resolving and discussing problems that arises.
In this article, Senge highlights the fact that team work and learning is more important than individual development, thereby bringing forth the outstanding learning environment. I agree with Senge's argument that the best teams learn to be great because working together as a team produces good communication and great results.
Even though I have compared Senge's theory to the educational system as I read through it, the examples he used are based on Private companies he only starts to tie in education and public organisation at the end of the article. This article applies to schools especially nowadays that most schools are becoming academies, this mean that it is sort of privatised and run in a 'private company' manner. It is now common practice for schools to research and discover why another school is excelling and then try to copy/implement their 'successful module' to their own school.
Senge also argues that an organisation cannot declare themselves a 'learning or an outstanding school. I cannot help but wonder about how contradicting this is because on one hand her pushes for being outstanding in self, team and organisation and at the same time he is saying you can have it all but not blow your trumpet. Does this mean that when a lesson is observed and the teacher is classed as outstanding or ofsted grades a school as outstanding are we/the school supposed to then put away what we are most proud of achieving?
The purpose of distributed leadership is that people are encouraged to work together to recognise their skills and area of expertise there by sharing their ideas with one another to help the wider school community. This means that sharing a vision is not the starting point, but it is a catalyst to successful leadership. Distributed Leadership is a style that demands that people should work together, talk about and evaluate their work regularly in an environment that constructive criticism is welcome. Distributed leadership is believed to positively influence the outcome of students because improvement is an essential part of distributed leadership. This also shows that it is important for a school not just to have teachers based on their years of teaching experience, but have talented teachers who are and will be encouraged to get involved in co-coordinating projects to improve their school community.
The department I work is run in a way that shows and practices the distributed leadership style. I work in an environment that ideas and good practices are shared to get the best out of our students, regardless of their circumstances. In my department, we teach a subject that has to be broken down into five parts to allow students decide and teachers become aware of what subject area they are strong in. Due to this, the people who work in my department are trained in and have a specialist subject area.
In the last few years distributed leadership has become more popular even though most people can hardly define or understand the term. Harris, A. & Muijs, D. (2005) 'Distributed Leadership', in improving schools through Teacher Leadership, states that there have been significant advantages to schools that recognise teachers as leaders.
Distributed leadership has become evident in my school, since I became a teacher here. It was decided after the Deputy Head of my department left to another work at school that the department will function better and get better results if teachers took responsibility for different subject areas within the department. The Head Teacher has since appointed teachers within the department to head the five different subject areas. With this new concept, it has been easier to get the desired result for students. This now means that there are five Subject leaders and one HOD within the department; it also means that each subject leader has to lead and manage the other teachers that teach within their subject area. As a subject leader myself, I have since realised that to get the best from the students who have chosen my subject area, I have to be able to share and learn outstanding teaching practices, which will help me make myself aware of student progress, I am able to discuss future strategies with teachers in my subject area. This technique will prevent me from failing to perform to the required education standards.
The Distributed leadership concept is interesting in the context that it presents itself, it is a concept that makes everyone feel inclusive and not undermined I have since nicknamed it "Every teacher Matters". It motivates and promises to get the best out of a teacher by bringing out productivity and personal development this is useful because with contemporary education where students are encouraged to learn independently. Distributed leadership has now become an important part of contemporary education practices as highlighted in by Harris A. 'Distributed School Leadership: Developing Tomorrow's Leaders (Leading School Transformation) (2008)' and Davies, B (2005) 'The Essentials of School Leadership'.
It is clear that there has been a change in the educational system over the last few years through distributed leadership schools need to adopt this concept to allow teachers lead the way in preparing children for tomorrow.
I have completely enjoyed this first module of the MA in Education whilst being a mother of two very young children. It was difficult in the initial stages of the MA. But making the decision to create a Family/Work/Study life balance improved my time management and helped me focus on important things at the right time.
As this topic comes to an end I cannot help but look back and think of how much I have learnt in the last four months. I can confidently say that I have enjoyed this first module of the MA in Education, and I am anticipating the remaining four. The process of applying what I have learnt and what I hope to continue learning throughout the duration of the MA in education has now begun and become part of my everyday professional life.
I have noticed that I have subconsciously been putting theory into practice by linking the literature I have read and critiqued from the module hand book to everyday tasks in my teaching and leadership day. It has allowed me to start utilizing the knowledge in different areas in my career as well as using it to improve the wider school community.
I have enjoyed the fortnightly lectures, debates and group discussions especially about distributive leadership and leadership styles. It has allowed me to know my colleagues on the MA course better and understand the concept of this module from their points of view. I have gained a clearer and better understanding within a close knit environment, of what 'Dispersed Leadership and Clarifying Professional Attributes' is to me and to others on the course.
A lasting attribute that I have acquired is the ability to listen more, talk less, take a step back and analyse / critique the main purpose of an article or policy that has been implemented or is being researched and why.
I have started to think of different research topics that can benefit the wider school community. There are a range of topics and interests that I can choose from within my school community. Some easy to research topics are SEN, the impact of Btech courses in career choices for students, teaching vs. learning styles and so many more. I intend on researching a topic that will allow me to explore my teaching and students learning styles in my subject area and also allow me to investigate its impact on student's creative education in m schools community. I am looking forward to the numerous amounts of research of interest that will benefit my career and improve the wider school community.
My research will be carried out within the school. I will be able to work with and study students whilst they are in my department. In KS3, we run a carousel system which will give me the advantage of teaching a whole year group this will allow me carry out questionnaires from a wide range of students.
With further research of my particular interest I will increase my effectiveness as a teacher and help my students achieve the best they can. I plan on sharing good practice from my research with the wider school community.