Helping students with illiteracy problems and teaching difficulties

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

In my school, one of the problems we are faced with and there is a need for an appropriate solution to be found, is the big number of students with illiteracy problems and learning difficulties. Unfortunately Technical and Vocational schools in Cyprus have become the secondary schools were students with low academic standards concentrate (Constantinou, 2009, p.15). As a deputy headmaster, responsible for these students, I plan to develop a mechanism to detect these students the soonest they start their first academic year with us.


Technical and Vocational schools are schools that receive most of the students with illiteracy problems and learning difficulties. These are students, who cannot write and read correctly and have lack of basic knowledge in mathematics. In addition, there are also students with learning difficulties in a number of lessons such as Greek lessons and physics.


To help students with illiteracy problems, to enable them to read, write and do simple mathematic calculations at desirable level and assist students with learning difficulties to improve their faculties and studying techniques.

Organizational Objectives

To develop effective mechanisms to cooperate with stakeholders in order to find students with illiteracy problems and learning difficulties

To raise cooperation with the parents of students and advise them on how to encourage their children to participate in these programs

To implement the Time Schedule of the programs

To evaluate the activity

Personal Objectives

To improve my relationships with pupils

To develop my problem solving skills

To plan and implement the activity in collaboration with my colleagues

To practise and develop my leadership capabilities (267)

Part2 and 3a

In order to assess the Leadership plan, success criteria must be set. Success criteria are related to the objectives and are defined as follows:

Evidence code:

Minutes of meeting.

Learning diary

Feedback from the participants


Success criteria



To develop effective mechanisms

To raise cooperation with the parents.

To implement the Time Schedule of the programs.

To evaluate the activity


The stakeholders' coorporate throughout the whole activity.

a. Emphasize the necessity of the activity linking it with the needs of the students.

b. The involved parts exchange ideas during the planning stage

All members of the activity cooperate

a. Decide along with the participants about the evaluation process.

b. Deliver evaluation methods effective to use.


Colleagues are convinced for the importance of the activity to participate in its planning.

An agreed activity plan is produced

An agreed time schedule is produced.

Evaluation of the activity's effectiveness.


a. A.

b. B.





a.A . b.B. c.C.


a2. B

b.1 Questionnaire to all involved parents, teachers and students.

b.4 Interviews with 5 colleagues , 10 parents and 10 students.


a. A

b. B

c. C

a. A. b. B. c. C

a. A . b. B.

a. Evaluation from all participants colleagues

b. Student's improvement evaluation tests


Success criteria

To improve my relationship with pupils.

To develop my problem solving skills.

Plan the activity in collaboration with my colleagues.

Develop my leadership capabilities.


Students consider that are effectively communicated during each stage of the activity.

Any problem emerge are confronted constructively.

Support guidance is given throughout the activity.

Colleagues actively participate in the activity by taking initiatives.


The relationship with students is improved.

a. Students and colleagues feel that problems emerged are appropriated solved.

Cooperate and work well with them at all times.

a. Getting respect from the colleagues.

b. Personal evaluation.


b. B

c. Questionnaire from students.

a.A. b.B. c.Comments from all participants




a. Interviews with 6 students

b. Evaluation from all involved students.

a. Interviews from 5 students and 3 colleagues. b. Questionnaires to all students and colleagues.

a. B. b.C.

a. Personal notes. b.C.

Part 3b

For this Leadership activity plan the evidence which will be collected will be both, qualitative and quantitative.

Data collection code:

Learning diary

Diagnostic Test

Semester Tests

Timetable for Leadership activity plan



Data collection

Week 1

(Teachers start school)

1. Meeting with Head Master, deputy head masters and other teachers, to explain them the main purposes of the program and current legislation (30 minutes).

2. Evaluate reports sent from the Ministry of Education for the students with illiteracy problems and teaching difficulties (4 hours, 24 students).

3. Decide which teachers are qualified to teach (2 hours 10 teachers).

4. Preparation of diagnostic test and interviews with parents and students(2hours)

1. A (30 min).

2. Files sent from Ministry of Education.

Week 2

(Students start school)

Handing the Diagnostic Test to all first year students (1 hour).

Interviewing students and parents who are candidates to participate in the program (4 hours for the 16 students and 4 hours for the parents).

1. B (4 hours).

2.Transcription and analysis of 32 interviews (320 min).

3. Assess tests to decide which students will participate the program (2hours).

4. A (20 min).

Week 3

1. Preparation and distribution of the Final Time Schedule for both programs and hand it to students and colleagues (3 hours, 5 teachers and 16 students).

1. A (20 min)

Week 4 to Week 16

1. Observing and support of the Time schedule and monitoring teachers and students.

1. A

Week 17

(End of 1st Semester)

1. Evaluate the students' progress for the 1st semester.

1. C (4 hours).

2.Discussion and feedback from participants:

a. students (4 hours)

b. teachers (150 min)

c. parents ( 4 hours)

3. A (30 min).

Week 18 to Week 30

1. Observation and support of the Time schedule and monitoring teachers and students.

1. A

Week 31

1. Evaluate the students' progress for the 2nd semester.

1. C (4 hours).

2.Discussion and feedback from participant:

a. students (4 hours)

b. teachers (150 min)

c. parents ( 4 hours)

3. A (30 min).

Week 32 - 33

1. Prepare questionnaires for students, parents and teachers (3 hours).

2. Distribute and collect 37 questionnaires to students, parents and teachers (370 min).

3. A (30 min)

Week 34

Evaluation of the questionnaires results and sends the report to the Ministry of Education.

1. Statistical Analysis data taken (with appropriate software) from questionnaires (370 min).

2. A (20min).

Week 35 - 36

Receive a feedback from the Ministry of Education

Week 37

1. Meeting to discuss the program's results with teachers (40 minutes).

1. A (20 min).


Part 4

Contextual factors

To reach a satisfying designing, developing and implementation of this activity, all the contextual factors (external and internal) have the opportunity for collaboration and collegiality and must work as a team for achievement their purposes (Study Guide, p. 86). After thoughtful consideration, the external and internal contextual factors that have important role in this activity are as following:

External factors

Ministry of Education and Culture

Two decades ago, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, after several researches found out that a great number of students face not only illiteracy problems but also learning difficulties. As a result, there was a need for a new legislation to be implemented (something that happened) ( (I) _1999.pdf).

It was obvious that there was a need for things to be changed and appropriate methods to be applied in order to help all these students with their personal problems. The decision was taken and nowadays these programs are running in all divisions of public schools.

The role of the Ministry is to offer continuous support to all the stakeholders, by making researches on the positive or negative feedback of these programs, and suggest appropriate solutions for each case. Furthermore, the appointed inspectors of the Ministry of Education, regularly visit schools and discuss not only with students, teachers, deputy headmasters but also with the parents of these students and advise them for any difficulties may arise. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has to offer specific training programs to teachers concerning the specific difficulties of the students, so as to acquire and offer better teaching services to students (circular, dme 2010, 4/10/2007).


Parental involvement is very important so they can acknowledge that their children are having problems and what particular problems they face as well as how the program will help them. According to MacGilchrist et al., 1997, in schools that developed corporate plans and characterized by a united commitment to improvement, there is a strong sense of shared ownership and involvement of teachers, and efforts to involve other stakeholders, such as parents and governors. As a result, the impact of the plan was significant across the school as a whole. More important is their collaboration by their frequent communication with the teachers, Deputy Head Master and inspectors and participation to the program by watching the progress of their students and suggesting further ways to motivate children. However, there are cases that parents difficult accept the fact that their children have problems and deny to participate in the programs.

Internal factors

Leader of the program

It is one of the most important factors of the programs. His role is to lead everything which very much relates to the implementation of the programs.

However, there is a need to emphasize on the following five managerial elements:





Control (Megan, 2003, p. 64)

He is responsible for the meetings, for the Diagnostic Tests, the implementation of the Time Schedule, the reports sent and received from the Ministry or other government authorities such as the Ministry of Health in cases of students with health problems (deaf, blind etc), the evaluation of the programs. The leader should face these programs in a charming way to become the model of other participants. He has to encourage and motivate all the participants with his behaviour to improve the school culture which is referred below, and develop communication skills and consensus.


Students are the people, on whom where teachers should be concentrated all their efforts and give their best. To achieve our purposes, these students must be collaborative and try to help themselves. However, if students are to be adequately educated for life in the future, leaders and teachers in educational organizations need to understand not only the society that we are currently operating within but also the one these people will be living within in the future (Study Guide, p.67). Unfortunately, there are students that donot understand and accept their problem, and instead of collaboration and improvement, are disappointed and developed problems, such as discipline.

Participant teachers

These colleagues are teaching students so they can succeed in student's happiness, satisfaction, assess and evaluate the programs' students' progress. Teachers feel responsible towards individual students and there are three different levels of accountability which are the following:

Contractual Accountability.

Professional Accountability.

Moral Accountability. (Study Guide, p. 93)

A problem which is vital and must be solved the sooner is the fact that only few teachers are qualified (have expert education background) to participate and teach, assess and evaluate in these programs.

School Culture

A last factor equally essential to the others, is the School Culture. According to Louise, 1999, school culture is one of the most complex and important concepts in education. In relation to school improvement however it has also been one of the most neglected.

Furthermore, culture can take different forms. As well as pupil culture there can also be a teacher culture, leadership culture, support staff culture, and parent culture (Louise, 1999).

School Culture may have these characteristics, so to be a pleasure for all the stakeholders:

An orderly atmosphere.

An attractive and secure working environment.

A place where 'risk taking' is encouraged. (Study Guide, p. 86)


Research by MacGilchrist et al. (1997) carried out in primary schools found that teachers were often not consulted in the planning process and did not feel responsible for putting plans into action. By contrast, the schools that developed corporate plans characterized by a united commitment to improvement, a strong sense of shared ownership and involvement by staff, and efforts to involve other stakeholders, such as parents and governors. In these cases, teachers had a definite sense of responsibility for the implementation and outcomes of plans, and the impact of the plan was significant across the school as a whole.

As a result to the above, the leader has a double role to play in this activity.

The responsibility for the implementation of the Time Schedule.

The coordination and collaboration with the contextual factor as described above.

Concerning the implementation of the Time Schedule, the responsibilities are to take into account all the factors, such as legislation, parameters like labs, students and professors teaching needs.

For example, the teacher who teaches the students Greek language illiteracy problems can't be the same person who teaches to the whole class. The same policy must be followed for the students with all the other lessons that are involved the programs. Also, there is a need to take into account the classroom (usually we use a specific room) where these lessons will be done.

For the program of students with teaching difficulties, the parameters to be taken into account are more complicated. For example, if a student has teaching difficulties in Physics' and it is decided that he must be taught two more extra hours, he can't leave twice in the same lesson.

As a leader of this activity, many other activities must be achieved. He has to manage, motivate and foster all the participant factors and find the ways and methods to assess and evaluate the programs. As Leithwood et al, (1999), school is a social organization consisting of cooperative relations among adults who share common purposes and where daily life for both adults and students is organized in ways which foster commitment among its members.

The leadership perspective is not always the same. If the leader has to deliver to colleagues the legislation of this program, he has to use the formal leadership. On the other hand, during meetings with colleagues is better to use democratic style, where he has to build up commitment and support consensus (Bush, 1995).

While interviewing parents or students, the leadership style to be followed is the affiliative since this model of leadership creates harmony, and in these cases is useful because the interviewer explains them that taking part in these programs is a way to improve their skills. (Study Guide, p.20)

The personal practices that the leader intends to develop in this activity plan are the Models valued practices and Formal leadership responsibilities, because the leader has to interact with students, motivate staff and students, remind participants the objectives and support the work of other staff. As about the capacities is concerned, he believes that Procedural Knowledge and Declarative Knowledge will help to achieve our purpose (Kenneth et al., 1999)

For the achievement of the purposes, we have to try to improve quality. This can be achieved by appraising teaching, learning and assessment methods in order to develop their quality, from the perspective of teachers and students (Study guide, p. 97).

To assess the participant students, we have two types of assessment, formative evaluation and summative evaluation "used more". In these programs, is more useful to use formative evaluation than summative and taking into account both our students' illiteracy problems and learning difficulties (Study Guide, p. 98).

Concluding, I believe that, rational approaches to organizational strategy are both necessary and important, but not sufficient. In order to make sense of the complexities of organizational life and the impact of the rapidly changing external context, we need to draw on alternative perspectives which acknowledge the bounded rationality of organizational decision making. According to Mintzberg (1987), smart strategists appreciate that they cannot always be smart enough to think through everything in advance. However, it is useful to encourage students and teachers to use rudimentary technology, and try to improve school life. As a teacher who believes a lot in computer science, I am trying to help and equipped students and teachers with these skills and attributes, because I believe that the use of technology as a teaching material (especially these students and these teachers), will help them. (Study Guide, p. 69)