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Through 13 years of teaching, it seems to me that the need to create a climate for education to flourish is essential. Obviously, a school is where we provide our children with knowledge to cope with the world changes. Coping with these changes and learning how to face challenges appear to have an effect on their lives. So, it is our job to improve our schools. Brighouse and Woods (2008) suggest a number of aspects which we should put into consideration.
Brighouse uses a jigsaw metaphor to get a handle on how various elements fit together to lead to a desired outcome. Whilst this metaphor is a useful one, it suggests that 'jigsaw pieces' themselves are fixed and that implementing each will somehow lead to a huge improvement in a given school. (http://teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk)
So, improving our schools standard seems to be a gate through which our children can receive high quality education. This leads to the question of how we can create 'The Good School'. The answer requires that we explore and discuss a number of essential topics which make leading contributions to creating a good school. First, it is important to summarise and critically discuss 'Leadership at different levels; different styles for different circumstances'. Second, we will try to differentiate 'Managing at different levels to ensure commitment from all; getting the detail right' from the role of leadership. Then, we will examine and assess how 'Creating a fit environment' can influence the performance of the school. Next, we will summarise and discuss how 'Managing learning, teaching and assessment' helps in creating a framework for a successful school. After that, we will critically debate how 'Developing staff, teaching and support systems' could be used to make my own school more successful. In addition to that, we will summarise aspects of 'The role of self evaluation and critical review' and apply them to my own personal professional development. Add to that, we will make an analysis of how 'Involving the parents and the community' in my own school could improve the quality of learning. Finally, I will analyse and relate all these aspects to my own personal experience. Also, there is a need to determine whether we can apply these aspects at my school in Egypt or not through mentioning the positive and negative views. We will discuss a number of the obstacles which seems to stop us from creating a good school. Then, it is important to suggest some solutions to these problems.
Leadership at different levels; different styles for different circumstances
leadership in an organizational role involves establishing a clear vision, sharing (communicating) that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, providing the information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision, and coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members or stakeholders. (http://www.businessdictionary.com)
It seems that the leader of any organization is the person who we follow. So, how do we know that this person is interested in developing his school? And, does he have a vision to spread and a mission to apply? The answer is based on the qualities he possesses and the styles he adopts to be effective. It is thought that a leader should have a new vision to share with his staff. There are different circumstances that determine which style a head teacher should adopt to be effective in creating the suitable environment for the teaching and learning process. There are some leadership styles which studies assume that adopting them may have a good effect on being an effective leader. Discussing some of them is important to see whether it is useful for a leader to adopt more than one style or not.
First, in the autocratic style the leader enjoys a high level of domination over his team. This means that there is not much room for new ideas or team experience. However, it is effective for jobs which need no skills. Some head teachers misuse this power. They should be aware that the educational field needs a high standard of skills. Second, in the bureaucratic style the leader keeps his team stick to some plans to assure safety. As a result, there will be lack of creativity. I agree that this style is not effective as developing creativity is very essential to any staff. In the charismatic style the leader pushes his team forward but his absence may lead to bad outcomes. In the democratic style the team plays a role in decision making. It develops their skills and motivates them to be hard workers. Although things happen slowly, the outcome is very good. In the transactional style the team is motivated by reward and punishment. The team members do what they are told and nothing else. Creativity in this style is limited but the work is done unfailingly. On the contrary, in the transformational leadership the leader inspires his team. He has a vision and passion so they believe that he can achieve great things. The team achieves the task as he pushes their energy and interests. (Leadership Styles http://www.mindtools.com)
It seems to me that the head teacher should have a mixture of styles. No one can judge whether his head teacher is for example a democratic leader or a transformational one. If I were in charge, I would adopt as much as I could from these styles according to the situation. So, it would be more effective if you combined two or more styles where they are needed. The researcher says that the circumstances shape the leadership style adopted in schools. They may include the environment, the nature of work and the experience of the staff.
In 1995, at one school I worked in, the head teacher was a mixture of styles. He mainly interested in achieving his tasks without fail. He kept rewarding those who were doing well. At the same time, he never let any member of the staff escape with everything. He also did his best to inspire us as a team. Communication between him and our staff was very effective. Therefore, what can a leader do if his team is self-motivated? Here, we need to have a look at the difference between the leader and the manager to decide whether we are in need of a leader or a manager or both of them.
Nowadays, the new Minister of Education in Egypt states that he will reward the one who performs well and punish those who encourage corruption. We can argue that his mission is to fight corruption in the educational system in Egypt. Here appears the role of the circumstances which obliged him to use the transactional style.
Managing at different levels to ensure commitment from all; getting the detail right
It seems that both leadership and management play a fundamental role in creating an environment where education can flourish through consolidating the effectiveness of teamwork. The Department For Education and Employment (2000, p.10) recommends some differences between the roles of a leader and a manager. We can see that a leader follows his own vision and can make a difference in the lives of his team while a manager organizes, plans, controls and schedules. So, being a leader is not enough to reach our goal. Not only motivating and inspiring your team but also organising and controlling it are the key to success in developing our schools. These roles are needed to be effective and successful. "People in leadership roles must be good managers." (Department For Education and Employment, 2000, p.11)
However, there are some things which stop me from being a good leader. One of these obstacles is the lack of a good team. In my school, some members are not qualified to work at schools. Taylor and Ryan (2005, p.3) illustrate the importance of being supported by a team of deputies and department heads to be an inspiring leader. "Good leadership can be driven by an individual. But that alone is not enough: it also requires teamwork." (Taylor and Ryan, 2005, p.3) If I were in charge, I would interview any new teacher to see whether he is suitable or not. If my staff is unwilling to share me my vision, it will be difficult to be effective.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.26) state that how well the school is managed vitally affects the lives of the people who works and learn there. If leadership and management are weak or ineffective in a school, it will be harder for a teacher to do his job well. However, when it is effective, teachers, staff and pupils are better motivated. Everyone feels they are pulling together and working towards shared goals. Effectiveness seems to be the main outcome of being aware of the targets and how to achieve them.
"What differentiates effective leaders from ineffective leaders is how they use their time." (Department For Education and Employment, 2000, p.7).
It is clear that managing time affects the efficiency of leaders and managers as well. As time never stops, the manager should manage his time from the very beginning of the year. He should know when to arrange meetings with his staff, to meet visitors and so on. His plans should be clear to make full use of his time. Here comes the need to delegation as an effective way of managing time. Department For Education and Employment (2000, p.8) suggests that nearly all managers need to delegate tasks to managing their time effectively. So, effective leaders realize that they cannot do everything and that others can do some tasks better than them. As a result, staff will improve when they are given the opportunity to develop new skills.
How can the manager ensure that everybody is 'singing from the same song sheet'? The most important responsibility of the manager of any school is to create harmony among his staff. Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.31) suggest that a high level of regular submission of school policies is essential to the delivery of success. He adds that the need for stability becomes crucial when the school is big. However, when the school is smaller, it is easier to be applied. Brighouse (2006, pp.17-18) says that we can agree on certain policies to be applied during the lessons, in the corridors and on the behaviour of the students. He suggests, for example, that conversation between staff and pupils in corridors plays an important part in 'singing from the same song sheet.'
However, in my school in Egypt the role of the manager is more important than the role of the leader because most of the managers focus completely on applying the system which the government draws for schools. Nearly all my head teachers didn't create anything new. They were concerned only with administration. In my school, all the manager is concerned with is keeping classes quiet even though the teacher doesn't provide the students with knowledge. Clearly, there is inefficiency in this situation. You can imagine what the outcome will be like.
It is believed that deciding exactly where to draw the line harmony is one of the most difficult questions for leadership teams. "It's pushing the case, but the more dysfunctional a school is, the more tightly the 'singing from the same song-sheet' rule needs to be drawn agreed and - most vitally of all- followed by everyone." (Brighouse, 2006, p.17) It appears that the manager in any school plays a vital role in creating a fit environment for teachers and students to achieve progress. He can create a good relation with his staff and help them to overcome difficulties. This will be in favour of pupils and creates a good climate where co-operation and understanding prevail.
How can we create a fit environment to improve the performance of the school?
It seems that school buildings are crucial in creating a fit environment. They should be well-designed and different from the pupils' surroundings. Also, the school buildings should be equipped with safety devices to ensure safety and security. It is thought that up-to-date buildings can improve the performance of the school. The Egyptian government has been building modern schools. It is believed that when the building is up-to-date, this will have a positive effect on our children. In 1995, the building of my school was very old. There was no playground. Imagine how students and teachers can perform in such a horrible environment. Nowadays, I work at a modern school which has a very good and attractive design. This fit environment helps greatly in the performance of our school.
Brighouse (2006, p.13) believes that school lavatories are the most important part which needs great care. What do we expect from someone who finds difficulty in using the lavatory in his school?-bad performance indeed. This will affect the school performance badly. In my recent school in Egypt, we give great care lavatories. There is a considerable number of lavatories. Although the number is enough, they are in the ground floor. What if a student needs to go quickly to the lavatories! They should be nearer than this.
"Language can make or break a school", (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.100). It is thought language shortens the gaps between people. There should be an agreed language among teachers and pupils so that they can create good relations and understanding. Helping students interact freely without fear makes them feel confident. Also, this enables them to discuss their future goals and decisions. So, they will co-operate in achieving success.
Singing from the same song-sheet
Singing from the same song-sheet is a very important element for creating a fit environment. According to Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.101) planning and recording the lesson plan will help greatly in assuring good performance. This makes the teacher confident and ready to accept any new ideas. Also, the researcher states it is better that students go to their teacher's room. In my school, students have a fixed class except for the science classes which may be in the lab. The teacher is the one who goes to the class where students are waiting for him. I am not in favour of this strategy as it is much more preferable that students seek the place where they can benefit and learn.
It is thought that the corridors should be controlled by the staff to allow students to move freely. They shouldn't allow conversations during the time of lessons to assure the quiet environment for the teachers and pupils. In my school in Egypt, the corridors are controlled well by the staff. Every day, a group of teachers are responsible for ensuring that there is a quiet and clean environment for learning. We also allow conversations among students and their teachers as long as they don't interrupt the educational process. "Teachers agree that when anyone wants silence they raise their hands and expect the pupils gradually, but rapidly, to do the same." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008 p.102) However, behaviour inside our classes is fully controlled by the teacher as he is the one who illustrates all the time and pupils are the listeners most of the time. So, when someone wants to speak, he just raises his hand and the other students are expected to listen. If the teacher notices that someone doesn't listen, he will ask him orally to pay attention.
It is thought that the visual environment affects the educational process positively. The decoration of the classrooms and the display of the children's work can share in creating a fit environment. At my school in Egypt, students used to decorate their class. But nowadays they don't as they buy the materials on their own. If you visit one or two of my classes, you will notice the lack of the visual environment. Some visual aids are hanged in the corridors but they are not effective. The school can solve this problem by providing pupils with the materials they need to produce their visual works.
It is clear that providing a quiet climate inside classrooms is essential. Using carpets is a very effective idea. At my school, when students get into their class, some drag their desks. This makes a very loud noise which affects other classes badly. We can apply the idea of carpets in our classrooms, but I think it is too expensive due to the huge number of schools and classrooms. However, we can think of another solution such as fixing their desks into the floor.
How 'Managing learning, teaching and assessment' helps in creating a framework for a successful school.
It is believed that the educational process is a human situation in which there is an interaction between the staff, parents, teachers and children. The staff at a school is greatly requested to exert efforts to raise the standards of their students as they are the outcome of their experience and knowledge. "If pupils don't learn the way we teach, perhaps we should teach them the way they learn" (John Lubbock, cited in Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.58). So, the quality and method of teaching have a leading effect on the efforts exerted to create a successful school.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.58) state that the quality of teaching and learning is the most essential factor of school progress and that teachers are the only ones who can make a change inside their classrooms and schools. The researchers here have convinced me that the teacher is the person who is really concerned with any change that happens inside any school. So, if there is no change, the teaching process will be ineffective. The teaching staff should also co-operate to make effective changes. The thing that may lead to raising the standard of their students. (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.59)
When I joined my recent school, the head teacher used to stand behind the window of the class to evaluate my performance. He did that three or four times until he became satisfied with my performance. Also, the senior teacher supported me a lot. His support gave me a great push forward. He insisted on inviting me to attend some lessons at his classes to benefit from his methods in teaching. I always remember his way and try to follow his footsteps. When I was a student, a new French teacher attended some lessons at my class. He used to sit at the back during the lesson. Now, he is a successful teacher at my school. I mean to say that it is a good chance to benefit from our colleagues to raise the standard of our children.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.59) mention that putting a certain policy to be followed needs a discussion of the ideas and beliefs about teaching and learning and how to improve the performance. In our school, the head teacher invites his staff to a meeting to discuss what is expected from them towards the school. They also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the year before and try to avoid making the same mistakes.
As for the whole policy, it is clear that the Ministry of Education in Egypt is the one that draws it. None of our schools can change this policy by any means. The experts in the Ministry are aware of what is to be taught to our children. It is believed that they consider their needs and abilities according to their cultural and social background. Although there are some drawbacks, I agree with it as nobody has the right to refuse.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.61) mention that the qualities of good teachers are essential for producing high-quality teaching. As for me, the most important qualities are excellent subject knowledge and your method of teaching inside your classroom. It is thought that teachers who have excellent subject knowledge are considered the backbone of a successful school. Some head teachers try to persuade those teachers to join the staff at their schools because they think that those teachers are effective in providing students with the needed information and knowledge.
When we were students at the third year secondary school, the whole class requested from the head teacher to change a philosophy teacher because his knowledge was limited and didn't possess an effective method to make us understand easily. The head teacher held a meeting with him and visited him in the class. After that he decided to replace him with another teacher. I still remember the words of the other teacher till now as his method and knowledge were great.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.65) recommend that deciding the needs and interests of every child may lead to achieving progress. It is useless to teach a child something he knows or doesn't need. It is also important to know every child's social status and his intelligence to be effective. Personalizing learning can't be applied in most Egyptian schools as much as it is applied in England. The curriculum is drawn by the Ministry of Education and there is no room for students or teachers to choose what they need to study. However, at the secondary stage, students can decide whether to join the science or the arts section.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.67) state that the system of dividing children into those who like to look, those who like to listen and those who learn best through physical activity is very effective. It appears that these learning styles may give students a push forward as long as they suit their needs and interests. So, teachers should select the suitable style which they think is useful in achieving high level of learning. At my school, dividing children in this way may not work as a result of the large number of students at the classrooms. Even if we try to divide them, there are not enough classes to do so. However, this technique may do well if it is gradually applied in Egypt.
"The emphasis here is on assessment for learning, rather than assessment of learning, so that students can improve on their achievements and make progress" (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.68)
It is always believed that children are the core of the educational process which needs plans, activities and certain techniques to achieve progress according to the needs and interests of those children. These things maybe identified through the different ways of assessment. The teacher needs to know whether his techniques in teaching are effective or not. So, he can evaluate his work through assessment. It is thought that assessment is a mirror that reflects how far our students have achieved in their studies. The ineffective and false assessment results may have a bad effect on the performance of the school.
How 'Developing staff, teaching and support systems' could be used to make your own school more successful
Developing staff means enhancing the individual abilities to serve students effectively. This improves the quality of work inside schools. Also, developing teaching means improving teaching methods used in conveying knowledge to students through creating a collaborative environment inside the school between teachers and support staff. "Teachers teach, but unless they learn constantly, they will be unable to perform their central role in a rapidly changing society." (Barber, 1996, cited in Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.75) These words show that developing the teachers' skills and improving their work methods is an important issue that raises some questions. One of these questions is how developing the staff contributes to making the school more successful. Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.75) mention that the teacher's continuing growth is the main factor of improving school outcomes. Their main idea concentrates on creating a staff that possesses the ability to improve their performance constantly.
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.79) concentrate on developing the whole staff of the school. The author confirms the importance of the support staff in conducting unseen roles. He tries to involve the staff in the developing process mentioning the importance of every member in the school. "so, if teachers are the people who mainly contribute to a school's main business-namely unlocking the talent of future generation- it is wise not to forget that support staff have the potential to contribute significantly to that task.", (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.79). The author's point of view clarifies the role played by the support staff in dealing with students and their role in the local community where they live.
In my school, the support staff is not as effective as it is expected to be. Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.79) have mentioned that they get more involved with the community where students live and that they have more contact with their families than teachers. This requires improving their performance and their quality of work through holding some training courses and regular meetings with parents and teachers.
As for the teaching staff, Brighouse and Woods (2008) illustrate that teachers get in touch with students more than anybody in the school. So, they concentrate on developing their standards to be effective. The author points out that there are four conditions required for the staff to be effective in performing their duties. First, the author emphasizes that responsibility needs to be shared among staff. "The school had a system for knowing who was responsible for what, ...", (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.81). He suggests that everybody in the school should know his responsibilities from the very beginning of the year. In this way, their work will improve and lead to creating a school which is more successful. (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, pp.80-81)
However, the question is: who is responsible for distributing these responsibilities? Is he the head teacher or one of the governors? I think it is the responsibility of all stakeholders. In my school in Egypt, at the beginning of the year, there is a big sheet of paper on the main notice board showing the responsibility of each teacher. However, sharing responsibilities is not well applied. The teacher in my school has more than three responsibilities and also what the headteacher may put on his shoulders. One of them is taking care of the corridors and trying to keep discipline inside them. Another is being responsible for one class in the school. Don't forget the main responsibility which is the classes he teaches every day. It is believed that the teacher should be responsible for his own classes and nothing more to be effective. For example, it6 is not the teacher's responsibility to collect the school fees. Senior teachers should have more responsibilities than other teachers but few of them carry out these responsibilities effectively. It is clear that sharing responsibilities leads to making schools more successful.
The second aspect is permitting circumstances. "If there are no books, materials or equipment, then the opportunity to teach well is, to say the least, restricted." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008. p.81) The author points out that books, materials and equipment are essential for teachers to perform their tasks effectively. The author tries to provide the whole staff with all facilities needed to improve their performance. He points out that every resource in the school should be employed to serve the teacher to be effective. He tries to provide the teacher with suitable rooms which encourage teachers to involve in team teaching strategies. He recommends that providing the teacher with good surroundings makes him energetic and widens his knowledge. "Teachers should try out new ideas." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.82) He points out the importance of team-teaching and how we can make it active inside our schools using the available materials. (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, pp. 81-82)
The third aspect is the need for 'new experiences'. Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.83) suggests the need for practising new environment. He suggests that teachers shouldn't stay in the same position for a long time. They should experience new classrooms and new ways of teaching through their career. I think the author tries to let the teacher experience new situations which might broaden his knowledge and develop his approach of teaching. I think Brighouse has proved his point of view effectively. His vision here reflects the need for change and development. Applying this method in our Egyptian schools is not difficult. We can make teachers experience new schools through exchanging teachers. We can arrange visits between schools where teachers can acquire new experiences. I think it is an urgent need for me to experience new surroundings to improve my performance.
The fourth aspect is the need of respect and recognition. Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.88) concentrate on the need of recognition for teachers' success. He points out that there is little respect and recognition for teachers. The pressing question here is: how can we increase respect and recognition? The author recommends that the headteachers should praise the outstanding staff through honouring them in their meetings. Also, there is a role played by the governors. They should give a 'thank you' message for all the staff including the headteachers and the support staff for their efforts when there is a chance on public occasions. (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.88)
What Brighouse has mentioned here has advantages to raising the standard of the school staff. It is believed that it is not enough to respect somebody but you should let him feel that you respect him. Praising teachers for their success to make them feel that their work is appreciated is essential. This feeling may give them a push forward towards improving their school. At my schools, every year the headteacher and the caretakers organise a party to honour the outstanding members of staff. They invite parents and local community to that party. They show their recognition to teachers and staff who made leading contributions in developing their school. They mention what they have achieved and thank them for their efforts.
As for developing teaching, Brighouse and Woods (2008) emphasize on the need of an agreed policy of a shared language among teachers. This policy points out the teaching systems which will be applied. It is important to develop the teaching system followed in the school through organising well-coaching and mentoring involving pairs or small groups of staff working together. "Teachers engage in frequent, continuous and increasingly precise talk about teaching practice... building up a shared language adequate to complexity of teaching." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.94) Here, the author conveys the importance of team work. He suggests that they should observe each other teaching to give useful feedback.
Applying of this method appears to be effective in developing the teaching strategies. When colleagues give fruitful feedback, they enhance the quality of work and develop their teaching methods to create a successful school. I think applying this approach in my school should be the responsibility of the senior teachers through organising some sessions to involved other teachers in this task. I remember when I was a student at university, our lecturer asked each one to teach a lesson in front of others. After doing his lesson, we are asked us to give feedback. This method was very useful and made us enhance our performance a lot.
The role of self evaluation and critical review
Brighouse and Woods (2008, p.128) explain that self-evaluation help schools to achieve progress and to improve the standard of education presented for learners. This should spring from the need for change without putting into consideration the SEF or inspection. "The striking characteristic of the 'moving school as opposed to the 'stuck' school is that it has a culture that sustains critical reflection and enquiry, coupled with a determination to secure continuous improvement." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.128)
It seems that evaluating our schools requires that staff and stakeholders believe strongly in improvement. They should determine a clear goal for the school. "A self-evaluating school never thinks it has arrived: it is always on a journey towards new heights of excellence" (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.129). The question here is: what should schools evaluate and how?
Brighouse and Woods (2008, pp.129-130) state that everything in schools should be evaluated to identify the performance and achievements of teachers and learners. The author emphasizes on evaluating the quality of teaching and learning. He concentrates on evaluating the effect of the curriculum on the learners and how they are supported to achieve a high standard of progress. Governors and staff should critically review whether the school can improve or not.
How do good schools evaluate the quality of their provision and who is involved in this process?
Brighouse and Woods (2008, pp.132-133) recommend that using questionnaires for pupils and parents views, interviews, meetings and reports to evaluate their systems is a common way. The author suggests some approaches to effective self-evaluation which good school can make use of them to achieve improvement in the future:
The stakeholder approach (views of pupils, parents, staff and community)
The checklist/audit approach (a list of questions identifying strengths and weaknesses)
The external review approach (researchers review a particular aspect and make recommendations)
The performance management approach
The benchmarking approach (comparing performance with other similar schools)
(Brighouse and Woods, 2008, pp.132-133)
Gray and Wilcox (1995, p.17) suggest using two approaches to determine the quality of a school's performance. One of them is comparing the performance of this year with the previous one to see whether they are improving or not. The other approach "is to compare like with like" (Gray and Wilcox, 1995. P.17) which is similar to what Brighouse has mentioned in the benchmarking approach. As suggested by Gray and Wilcox, the improvement and progress of pupils will be compared with other pupils in other schools.
It seems to me that applying the above mentioned approaches in our Egyptian school will have an impact on the development and improvement of our educational system. It is advisable for teachers, in particular, to know whether they are working along the same line or they need to change their strategies. For example, in my school, I don't have time to teach everything written in the English book. So, I feel not satisfied about this situation. What do you expect from a teacher who takes registration during the time of the lesson? I suffer a lot from this problem which affects my performance badly. We should evaluate how much time we made use of inside the class to avoid wasting time. So, I find that self-evaluation is a step towards improving the performance in our classes. "The more successful a school is, the more it finds itself 'adjusting' most of what it does." (Brighouse and Woods, 2008, p.134)
How can involving the parents and the community in my school improve the quality of learning?
CRESST (1994) asserts that involving parents and communities plays a vital role in the performance of students. It has a good effect on their progress and attendance. The author suggests that parents should take part in achieving the goals of school. Parents should share in developing the school's policy. They should visit schools regularly to see what is going on at school. Children spend most of their time at home, so parents should help them to raise their learning standard. Also, parents should listen carefully to their children to determine their attitudes. As for involving the community, the researcher here emphasizes that its role is essential in supporting the school in all aspects through arranging regular visits and taking part in assemblies where outstanding leaders of the community benefit the with their experience. (http://www.cse.ucla.edu)
Brighouse and Woods (2008, pp.118-119) suggest that schools should encourage parents to talk about their children's learning and progress. The school should inform them clearly about their children's real standard. Also parents can show their satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the quality of learning. The author also suggests that parents and community members can work as learning assistants in schools. So, the question is: How can schools encourage parents and community to get involved?
"Parents need to feel that the school is a community of place for them with welcoming signs and easy access. Above all, parents should feel welcome in the school and be actively encouraged to participate in the life of the schoolâ€¦" (Brighouse and woods, 2008, p.119) According to what the author mentioned, encouraging parents and community to involve in the school is very important. When parents feel that they are welcome to visit their children at school, they will become interested and motivated to share effectively the responsibility of improving the quality of their children's learning. When I visited Chapel Road School, I noticed a child's mother sitting with a teacher inside the class. She was learning from the teacher how to deal communicate with her child at home. Therefore, we can notice that the mother here realized that her child spend most of his time at home. So, she is in need to be involved to help her child improve. In my school, the participation of parents and community is not as required. So, I think we need to arrange some workshop and sessions for parents to point out the importance of their role in improving the quality of learning the thing that will have a good impact in creating a good school.
In this survey, we have come across some important topics which may help to create a great school.
Leadership at different levels; different styles for different circumstances
Managing at different levels to ensure commitment from all; getting the detail right
Creating a fit environment
Managing learning, teaching and assessment
Developing staff, teaching and support systems
The ole of self-evaluation and critical review
Involving the parents and the community in our schools
As for Brighouse's ideas, He states, "My ideal school could never exist. There is no reality in idealism." (Brighouse, 2006, p.12) I think Brighouse's ideas are talking perfection which will not happen whether in the English or the Egyptian schools. However, we dream to create a great school. However big the gap is, I think it is not impossible to shorten it.
According to what we have discussed and examined, I have found that there are three essential points which appear to be the core of developing and improving the educational system in my country. First, we should prepare a staff that has the ability to make a change. The staff should be fully trained and have the required qualifications. Second, the role of the head teacher is very important in supporting and motivating this staff. His vision should concentrate on developing his staff the thing that will result in developing his school as well. The third point is the role of parents in supporting the school and their children at home. Parents should share in this educational process. Their role will be very effective as they have much more time than teachers.
The educational system in Egypt should have legal support for teachers and headteachers from the government, parents, governors and all stakeholders. For example, the school should be given the authority to investigate the reason for the absence of students. The headteacher should have the right to visit pupils at home to evaluate their performance at home to see whether their parents are providing them with a fit environment or not. Add to that, sharing responsibilities is a corner stone in this issue as well. Moreover, the school should be provided with materials and equipment supporting teachers to be effective. Above all, the need of respect and recognition plays an important role in inspiring teachers and staff in the school. All these things help greatly in making our school more successful.