Head Teachers Role Compared To Collegial Formal Leadership Education Essay

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This assignment consists of two parts. In the first part, the models of collegial and formal type of leadership are considered and compared to the head teacher's role to which the author is familiar within the educational system of Cyprus. The head teacher's role will be analysed both leadership styles. In the second part, the author concentrates on the assumptions made about the school organization and its values with the collegial and formal types of leadership. The assignment ends with a conclusion based on the author's understanding of leadership that emerges from a consideration of both theory and practice in relation to these two models.

Part 1

According to Pashiardis (1995) the educational system in Cyprus has a bureaucratic structure and school principals are constantly trying to satisfy the bureaucrats rather than the needs of students and parents. Everything must be done in a pre-determined manner, which hardly leaves any space for errors or gives leeway for deviation from the mainstream. This is the main reason why the formal model of leadership is being chosen. Most of the elements of management fit into the bureaucratic structure of the Cypriot educational system. On the other hand, within the collegial model of leadership the governing body of each school is free to set additional aims and objectives that would not only benefit the school community but also the quality of the education offered.

Collegial Model of Management

According to Bush (1995) and his collegial model, the aims emerge from a participative process whereby staff reach an agreement based on common values. The leader in a collegial model believes that school staff should always be a team in order to be effective and that everyone should be involved in all activities concerning the school practices. In this case, all teachers should have a common vision, set a mission and be aware of their role to ensure the success of the academic enterprise.

The elements of Collegial Model are the processes by which goals are determined by the nature of decision process and the leadership style. The collegial model is based on agreement goals among the members of an organization and presents lateral structures and all members have the right to participate in the decision process. As Kaily P. (2010) wrote «specific problems can be addressed by different committees which are appointed at the beginning of the school year. These committees consist of teachers according to their abilities and expertise. They undertake to address and solve problems that arise during the school year such as student discipline by formulating a code of conduct, violence at school- prevention and treatment, development activities for motivation in learning, learning difficulties and workarounds»(Kaily P. E849 Web Activity 1, 2 November 2010). Furthermore, Palli C. (2010) «there is a shared leadership and a collective sense of responsibility among the staff at her school. At the beginning of the school year there was a delegation of roles and responsibilities. Also the teachers had the opportunity to select the committees they wanted to be members according to their interests» (Palli C. E849 Web Activity 1, 3 November 2010).

The most positive aspect of the Collegial Model is the fact that goals have already been agreed, resulting to the possibility for the participant staff to concentrate and to achieve the goals set. Everybody's ambitions, expertise and capabilities are taken into consideration and used in a way that promotes the welfare of the school unit. As Bennett has argued, knowledge is an important power resource. Sharing knowledge in a collaborative way requires a high degree of mutual trust and consensus (Study Guide p. 37).

Formal Model of Management

Looking into Bush (1995) the formal models of management aver that objectives are set at the institutional level. Goals are determined by senior staff and the support of other teachers is taken for granted. Therefore, the activities of schools are evaluated in the light of these official purposes. Furthermore, the organizational structure is regarded as objective reality. Individuals hold defined positions in the organization and working relationships are assumed to be strongly influenced by these official positions. Formal models treat structures as hierarchical with decision-making as a 'top-down' process (Study Guide p. 32).

In contrast to collegiality, the characteristics of the formal management models according to Bush (2003) «heads have authority because of their positions and are accountable for what they do to their sponsor they use any rational way to achieve goals…» fits a lot to the Cypriot Educational System. Not only do public schools but also private ones have debt-reduction management programmes and everything must be centralized and economies of scale must be made. One is asked to annually report in advance how many students are registered for the following academic year that the number of teachers is reduced to the minimum to save resources. In bureaucracy, efficiency, discipline, control, reliability is more important (Weber 1989, p.312). Promotion is on the basis of seniority (Bush 2003) more like a typical formal bureaucratic Cypriot school. However, after a long waiting at the age of 40-55 one finally leave from the low-paying Cypriot private school and is employed by a 'highly-benefiting' Cypriot public school. When he/she gets employed at public school, will only find out just a few days before the school year starts, revealing bureaucracy which is neither efficient nor reliable.

Part 2

According to Bush and Derek (2003) leadership may be understood as 'influence' but this notion is neutral in that it does not explain or recommend what goals or actions should be sought through this process. However, certain alternative constructs of leadership focus on the need for leadership to be grounded in firm personal and professional values (Bush and Derek, 2003, p.4). Wasserberg (1999) also claims that the primary role of any leader is the unification of people around key values (Wasserberg, 1999, p.158). Furthermore, according to Gross (1985) values are generated externally to the individual rather than being internal, personal creations. However individuals play crucial role in establishing particular values with environments in which they live and work (Study Guide, p. 47). Bush (1998; 2003) also links leadership to values or purpose while management relates to implementation or technical issues (Bush, 1998, 2003, p.4)

Collegial model is interpinned by integrative and motivating values. Integrative values are those that serve to draw individuals into collectivity and motivating values are those that shape individual and collective perceptions of needs and interests (Study Guide, p. 46). The implication of these values for leadership role in the educational system in Cyprus could justified since head teachers usually encourage the staff to take part in any decision-making procedure. In this way agrees for certain values the schools. Thus personal opinions (teachers', parents' students') are acceptable by others, differences and disagreements are shown in a democratic form. In addition, collaboration is promoted by head teachers. Every teacher, parent, student has its personal needs and interests. Head teachers try to help all members in personal and professional difficulties and offer ways in order for everyone to have a role in the school. Moreover, head teachers promote trust and confidence among all members, make constructive comments and encourage staff to participate in educational seminars and other educational programs.

The formal leadership model combines mostly regulatory and directive values which seek to control the behaviour of individuals and groups. The equal opportunities and race relations legislation is enacted in many developed countries. Such values are an important part of the policy process both nationally and within organizations. Whether we accept or reject someone else's value system is not the same as denying that it is a value which shapes their actions (Study Guide p.46). This is one of the three different kinds of Gross's classified values which influence different facets of the school.  Although the ministry of Education and Culture directs schools on how to operate, each school may develop its own principles and values according to its particular needs and aims. Under the guidance of the Head Teacher certain values have been defined for my school's culture like: Equal opportunities for all children as an expression of fundamental human rights, the development of students' social skills, democratic dialogue in case of conflicts among the children, the multi-dimensional improvement of children's personality, the importance of interaction with the external environment (parents), and the practice of multiple intelligences. All the above societal values are articulated within the school serve to draw individuals into a formality.

The way that my school is managed promotes collaboration and reduces conflict between staff. The head teacher supports the efforts of his teachers and motivates them to share and generate the school's values. He helps teachers cope with the difficulties encountered and promotes respect, democracy, honesty and trust. He encourages teachers to take part in educational seminars and provides equal opportunities for participation in decision making trying to follow democratic values. "Individuals play a crucial role in establishing particular values within the environments in which they live and work. Values are manifested in the actions people take, including the things that they say and the language they use" (Study Guide, 47).  According to Sergiovanni (2000), how we resolve a problem relates to the extent to which our decision making is dominated by the values of our life world and our system world. As he interprets, system world should be interdependent with life world (the essence of values and beliefs)


In conclusion it can be seen that there has to be a leadership style which will incorporate practices from both styles of leadership and which promote the development of the school through the participation and involvement of all the staff members. A head teacher's role is to make the vision and the mission of the school known to his/her staff in order for the teachers with the right knowledge and ability to be involved in the decision making.

Bush T 2003. Theories of Educational Management, 3rd edn. London: Sage.

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Kaily P. E849 Web Activity 1, 2 November 2010

Palli C., E849 Web Activity 1, 3 November 2010

Pashiardis, P. (1995), «Cyprus principals and the universalities of effective leadership'», International Studies in Educational Administration, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 16-26.

Bush, T. (1998) The National Professional Qualification for Headship: the key to effective school leadership?, School Leadership and Management, 18(3) 321-34.

Sergiovanni 2000, Effective Educational Leadership, O.U., Sage

Wasserberg, M. (1999), Creating the vision and making it happen, in Tomlinson, H., Gunter, H. and Smith, P. (Eds.), Living Headship: Voices, Values and Vision, London, Paul Chapman.

Webb, R. and Vulliamy, G. (1996), The changing role of the primary head teacher, Educational Management and Administration, 24 (3), 301-15.