Educators As Leaders Emerging Perspectives Education Essay

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In order to gain an understanding about the education field, I accepted the role of a teacher and co-coordinator in Muhyiddin School, Villingili, Male. As a social studies and class teacher of grade seven, the responsibilities comprised of preparation of the lecture plans, monthly schemes, unit assessments and term papers and monthly academic reports. Other tasks that had to be carried out were keeping records of the students' behaviors and academic progress. As a teacher in-charge of the arts club activities, the duties comprised of organizing of the related events, guiding students for effective participation in Arts Competition programs and arranging various functions on special days of the year.

When working as a coordinator of Science Social Studies and Practical Arts of grades 6 and 7, the main responsibilities that had to fulfilled were checking the lesson plans, test papers and worksheets developed by the subject teachers along with holding meetings with the respective teachers to get feedback about their progression.

Since educators like teachers have to fulfill certain leadership roles, it is important to learn the skills required for managing the job effectively. During my work, I learnt various leadership skills that have helped me in enhancing my capabilities as an educator. The primary leadership roles that were performed during the work comprised of encouraging students and teachers to actively participate in the School Improvement Plan (SIP), providing assistance to the teachers and students related to any issues, monitoring the performance to provide feedback and assist teachers in improving their capabilities and ensuring compliance with the rules set out by the Principal and Deputy Principal.

Analysis of Leadership theories

Leadership has become an integral part of all the disciplines of academic field and like all the professionals, the educators have to demonstrate their leadership skills. An educator or teachers is viewed as a role model by the students and they look at the individuals as the reliable source of guidance for their knowledge enhancement capabilities. Therefore, the leadership theorists have added the educational leadership theory as a form of modern leadership approach (Bryman, 2011).

The concept of leadership has evolved from traditional forms of administrative roles to contemporary strategic roles so that the managers can effectively manage and run the organization. When the academic practitioners realized the role of leaders in the organizations especially in the enhancement of an organization's productivity and efficiency, the experts of the research field started studying the concept with details (Crowther, 2010). It is believed that the studies of leadership theory have identified two sets factors which are classified as 'administrative approaches' and 'humanistic approaches' (Heiftz & Laurie, 1997).

According to the administrative viewpoint, the main roles of the leaders comprise of planning, organizing, coordinating, motivating and controlling the business activities. However, the proponents of the humanistic viewpoint are of the opinion that people need to be treated as individuals and the leaders have to consider development of soft skills in their personality such as conflict management, motivation of employees, factors relevant and important for subordinates' job satisfaction and appreciating good work (Serigovanni, 2005).

Both the historic and current leadership theories of educational field are closely linked to the two most important factors i.e. effectiveness and excellence in all movements. There are many theories that have been developed by different researchers and have been classified as traditional and contemporary leadership theories (Ulh-Bien, 2006).

The well-known approaches developed in the traditional category comprise of as the trait theory, the behavioral theory and the contingency theory (Stogdill, 1950). On the other hand, the modern leadership approaches are classified as the transformational leadership, the strategic leadership, the ethical leadership, educational leadership, organizational leadership and many more (Bryman, 2006).

The leadership has been examined from various viewpoints i.e. resource-based, organizational, psychological, management and etc.; all of them have made valuable contributions in the leadership body. Kets de Vries (1995) studied the leadership from the psychological perspective and stressed the importance of understanding leadership as a manifestation of the individual's personal experiences and qualities. According to the author, a leader must possess the intellectual capabilities but should be able to manage the things in an ethical way so that the person can demonstrate that he/she is well-aware of the mandated sense of social responsibility that has to be fulfilled as a part of the society.

Similarly, Heifetz and Laurie (1997) showed that leadership is vital for the effectiveness of organization as the managers have to polish their skills to motivate the subordinates so that they can perform their tasks efficiently and effectively. The behavioral approach is being followed by a wide range of firms as the employers have to reinforce the idea of considering the human side of the employees. Stogdill (1950) was among the pioneers of behavioral leadership who focused their attention on two key dimensions of behavior i.e. consideration and initiation of structure. These terms have been replaced by task-orientation and relationship-orientation in today's leadership styles (Harris, 2009).

Both of these terminologies are synonymous to the managers identified in McGregor Theory X and Theory Y; task-oriented in linked to Theory X perspective and relationship-oriented to Theory Y viewpoint. Halpin, cited by Cohen and March (1974), developed an instrument known as Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) to identify the leadership qualities possessed by the educational administrators and aircraft commanders; this study has made a worthwhile contribution in the leadership theories. The Managerial Grid developed by Blake and Mouton which is most commonly used by the management in organizations has its origination from this questionnaire.

The grid prompted further research into two-dimensional study of leadership that changed its definition into as "an intentional influence on other people to motivate them to act in specific manners" (Kotter, 1995). From this new perspective, it became evident that the followers' behaviors also influence the leadership style that is adopted by the management team. According to Fred Fiedler, the leadership depends on the situation in hand and he developed the contingency approach; some researchers are of the viewpoint that leadership should remain fixed while others are of the opinion that it should be flexible and changed in accordance to the situation (Maxcy & Caldas, 1991).

Fiedler contributed to the leadership theory by developing the situational favorableness as the contingency that can impact the leadership style. These three variables are enhanced relations with the members, improvised structure of task and strong position power. He emphasized the need of combining them in accordance to the needs of each individual (Hambrick, 1989). An extended version of this perspective was developed by Vroom and Yetton who suggested some behaviors that are required by the leaders to demonstrate for making some important decisions and they should not be based on the situational contingencies (Kotter, 1990).

However, these traditional approaches did not coincide with the complete test of enabling leaders who could practice their roles as educators. The educational administrators could not enhance their skills of leaders so these viewpoints were of no use to them. In order to assist the educators in developing required competences, the contemporary researchers and leadership theories have assisted them in creating a compatible leadership atmosphere.

The foremost theory developed by contemporary researchers was Path-Goal theory by House and Mitchell that received huge amount of criticism from the people because it was overly structured, overly behavioral and overly rational. However, it introduced the expectancy term in the leadership body that allowed the leaders to set goals, lead the subordinates by examples and show that the excellence will be rewarded to show their appreciation for their followers (Shrivastava & Nachman, 1989).

Afterwards, the researchers introduced the concepts of transformational leadership along with strategic leader viewpoint that emphasized the role of leaders as strategic thinkers who can make meaningful contribution in the management of the organization (Kotter, 1990). These strategic leaders take into account both external and internal factors of the organizations and Kotter (1995) developed six ways that can ensure that the organization's productivity is enhanced by strategic approach to leadership.

According to Mintzberg (1983) and Shrivastava and Grant (1985), there are four leadership patterns demonstrated by the strategic leaders i.e. bureaucratic, professional, entrepreneurial and political (Maxcy & Caldas, 1991). The basic requirement in the contemporary leadership styles is easy access to the wide range of information to make effective decisions. According to the moral leadership approach, the leaders are morally responsible individuals who have to keep a balance between the ethics of an individual and the organization (Ogawa & Bossert, 1995).

Furthermore, the educative leadership has encouraged educators to develop their skills to enhance their role as effective educators. This approach emphasizes the need of being socially fair and use the discourse as a way of raising consciousness and emancipation along with enhanced reliance on courage in situations where there is huge number of barriers (Rice & Schneider, 1994; Starratt, 1991). The organization wide leadership approach was developed with the purpose that all members of the organization have to be encouraged to lead and it should be well-integrated with the identity of a social responsible citizen by getting engaged in activities that will be beneficial for the society as a whole (Senge, 1990).

Hence, the educators have to realize that they can act as leaders on their positions by understanding the roles that they can play in the students' lives. The new body of leadership has made effective contribution in the field of education and the professionals of the field have been able to develop their competencies to be compatible with the requirements of the education field.

Personal Leadership Framework

In order to provide an effective framework to the teachers for their development as leaders, Crowther et al. (2002) developed a Personal Leadership Framework (PLF) that allows the teachers to formulate their PLF to ensure that they have the required skills that will help them to flourish in their industry. Crowther, Ferguson and Hann (2009) created an ideal Teachers as Leaders (TL) model that comprised of six vital elements for representing the teachers' role as leaders. The key features of the model are as follows:

Providing guidance to the students to prepare them for future.

Attaining the required level of authenticity in the learning, assessment and teaching practices.

Handling the barriers found in structures and cultures of schools.

Creating the culture that nurtures a positive and successful environment.

Transferring of realistic ideas into the sustainable actions.

Facilitating the communities of learning.

All of these aspects are covered in PLF so that the educators and teachers can demonstrate their roles as effective leaders, promote on-the-job learning and build professional communities on the basis of this concept that is mandatory for revamping the cultures prevalent in the schools (Bezzina, 2008).

As the best profession as educator is available in the field of universities and professional institutions, the following table demonstrates the key skills that have to be possessed by a university educator along with sub-division of teaching, administration and research competencies:

University academic educator

Administration skills

Teaching skills

Research skills

Provide information about conventions of creating world a better place

Ensure maintenance with industrial linkages to understand the requirements in terms of skills and knowledge

Preparation of the students for providing them better prospective for jobs

Engage into industry-related researches that can assist the educators in teaching students

Aid the enhanced communities of learning

Providing internship and apprenticeship opportunities to the students within the relevant industry in which they can make their careers

Disseminating excellent teaching practices by arranging a wide range of seminars and workshops

Disseminating new and innovative ideas at the seminars and conferences for making valuable additions in the research body

Cultivate a culture that supports succession and progression

Rewarding and appreciating the teachers for showing excellence in administrative skills

Awarding the teachers for demonstrating excellent teaching skills

Giving awards to those educators that show excellent research skills. Provide them the opportunity of publishing their articles in the leading research journals

Attain superior level of authenticity

Gain assistance from the Education Office to arrange reviews of peer teachers, facilitate the students' transition and conduct evaluation of units effectively

Covering all relevant industry specific knowledge so that right information can be provided to the students

Conduct the research in educational field to gain in-depth knowledge about the market so that proper understanding about the teaching and learning processes can be developed and implemented

Deal with all types of barriers

Getting the school manager engaged in the administrative purposes to enhance the administration procedures

Arranging friendly discussions with the teachers for revising and improving the practices of teachers

Involving the professors of the education department to gain their advices

Use ideas and transfer them into actions

Development of a quality assurance committee that will provide assistance in enhancing the university's operational procedures

Adopting a wide range of teaching practices to encourage students to implement realistic ideas into workable projects

Promoting collaboration at inter-and intra-organizational levels along with inter-university ventures

With the help of this PLS, educators can ensure that they fulfill their roles as educative leaders. With the help of teacher leadership approach, the teachers are encourages to actively get engaged in, take the responsibility for and make contribution in the things that are happening within the educational institution. For example, when the educators are involved in the process of decision making, there will be enhanced probability that they are more committed to the decisions made and will even work diligently for the effectively implementation process. It will ensure that the teacher empowerment will be fostered.

The conversation among the educator professionals will encourage unity among all the educators working in the educational institution. Such unity will allow the institutions to create professional working environment that will allow the management to make successive progression within the industry. Just like leaders, the educators act as mentors and role models for other teachers; the educators learning process never stops because it is an iterative mechanism.

The main contributors in the field of leadership development in educators are the researchers who are making valuable additions in the academic bodies. With the help of effective and well-developed studies and models, the educators can understand the dynamics of the field and then develop the relevant skills accordingly so that they are able to fulfill their role both as academic practitioners and leaders.

Similarly, the teacher and educative leaderships emphasize the need of acknowledging and rewarding the dedication and expertise of the educators who are working hard to provide something valuable to the community. When the teachers are rewarded for their efforts, they become loyal and their retention power is enhanced. In some cases, the educators are even provided various opportunities for their advancement.

Almost all of the most important contributions made by the teachers are made prominent so that they can gain huge amount of appreciation and they are even recognized by the peers and administrators so that they can assume their roles as leaders. It has been found in a survey of seventy-six successful principals that they stated that their institutions would not have been successful if there were no teacher leaders present in their departments (Crowther, 2010).

Such successful educators are the best examples for the students as they can demonstrate good illustrations of good leadership styles and even reinforce their responsibility towards enhancing the community development initiatives. Hence, the educators can make meaningful contribution in the field of leadership by presenting them as the best examples of leaders so that their students can learn the good leadership qualities from them and utilize them during their jobs. It is mandatory to be able to lead people in every aspect of the professional field so that the work can be effectively completed.

Conclusion

With the passage of time, the field of leadership has undergone immense changes and the researchers have ensured that they provide assistance to those people who want to understand the concept of leadership to their field and develop the relevant skills for ensuring successful attainment of personal and career goals. Hence, the educative and teaching leadership styles have helped the educators to unleash their potential as competent leaders who can assist an educational institution to progress smoothly in the industry and develop highly skilled and well-experienced future employees of the business world.

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