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Schools, like any other organizations, are collections of interrelated human and non- human resources working together to achieve a common goal within structured relationships. But they differ from any other industrial, commercial, governmental or military organization as it require a unique styles of leadership, ways of thinking and an approach to administration.
This is because the mission of schools is not to increase profits but to nurture and develop people to become fully functional individuals foster the learning , personal growth and development of all participants, the staff and the students.
Organizational Behaviors and stating the relevance in today's context
A school is a world in which people live, grow and work. Like any other social organization, the world of school has power, structure, logic and values. The behavior of people at work in a school , individually as well as group is not merely a reflection of their individual unique personalities but is powerfully shaped and molded by the social norms and expectations of the culture that prevail in the organization. Therefore the individual and social influence creates unique organizational behavior of people in the school organization.
A school is an extraordinary powerful environment which shape and mold behavior of the people through its culture and climate. This web of interactions between people and the organization and its implications for leadership is shaping the behavior of people at work in educational organizations. The goals of any educational organization are academic achievement, effective work habits, civic values, social behavior, self esteem and self reliance. In order to achieve the goals of schooling, the expectations that teachers have for the achievements of students, the relationships between students and teachers, the motivation of students, time spent on teaching and learning and the peer relationships matters. Also how schools are managed, how students are grouped, how parents and the community are involved, how work is assigned and the decisions made in school.
The widespread acceptance as the preferred way for exercising control and coordination in schools is the bureaucratic mechanism. The present day acceleration in the development of technology, politics, economics and society has generally left rigid bureaucracies floundering and unresponsive. To thrive in today's rapidly changing world, schools must nimble, adaptive to change and constantly evolving (Peter Senge - a learning organization). They are not only adaptable to new challenges emerging in the world but are also adaptable to the worldwide rise in expectations for increased democracy, personal freedom, individual respect and dignity and opportunities for self- fulfillment. Administrators who tactically or explicitly embrace the non bureaucracy involve a good deal of persuading.
The teachers who are underlying behavior pattern of theory X or Y who are in the non bureaucratic environment
Needed to be belonged, liked and respected.
Want to feel useful to the school and tend to corporate willingly and to comply with school, department and unit goals if the above needs are fulfilled.
In addition to the needs of theory X, desire to contribute effectively and creatively to the accomplishment of worthwhile objectives. Majority are capable of exercising far more initiative, responsibility and creativity than their present work circumstances allow.
Administrators' basic task is to make each teacher believe that they are useful and important part of the team. They should be willing to explain decisions and discuss teachers' objections. Also to involve teachers in planning and decision making. Teachers should be encouraged to exercise self direction and self control
Administrator works to uncover the creative resources of the teachers. Teachers participate in decision making and develop.
Information is shared and teachers involve in decision making. This helps to increase the need of belongingness and individual recognition. It will increase the morale and reduce resistance to formal authority.
Administrators and teachers make use of the full range of experience, insight and creative ability to improve the performance in school. Accomplishment of objectives will increase the self-control and self direction.
Schools in the island were formally introduced during the colonial era. Education is mostly delivered through a religious background, either through temples or the church. The priests followed the rules defined through the religion to adjust individual behavior. Many described such schools as oppressive. But traditionally such schools emphasized powerful social norms and expectations that support and reward such behavior. The norms of such schools discourage behavior that questions the established the order and proposes changes.
With the educational reform in 1947, schools in the country were managed under one body known as Education department of Sri Lanka and new theories and concepts of education being introduced to the school network. In order to understand the learning abilities and characteristics of children and adults in the educational environment, behavioral psychology applied theories of development. B.K Skinners' methodology of behaviorism had therefore embraced by teachers and they used the programmed instructions, scripted teaching, diagnostic-prescriptive teaching and behavior modification in teaching. Educationists decide on goals (targets), fine reinforcements to produce those responses (lesson plans), a program that will produce the desired behaviors (class room activity) and finally measure the reinforcement methods (exams, all classroom, term and public) and change them carefully (year end reviews and training sessions). These methods are not developed to "develop the mind" but to establish the very behaviors which are to be taken to be evidence of learning.
The students learn in such an environment retained the knowledge and skills they learn in school and then applied in situations in real life. Therefore unlike in the colonial education system, there were thousands of people adding into the work force every day. They retained a sizable amount of the knowledge for many years and mastered that knowledge.
For the last decade or so Sri Lankan government education system, including the universities were based on behaviorism and as a result, there are thousands of unemployed school leavers and graduates who are unable to fit into the current competitive market.
As a result Educationists considered the cognitive psychological behavior (Chomsky) had adopted the method of teaching which will empower the critical thinking and creative thinking (with 2009 syllabus changes). This is also the concept of left- brain and right-brain orientation of thinking. Cognitive psychology has a lot of impact on the practice of teaching and learning in the classroom. The outcomes are emphasized and the solutions are being motivated to be reached by the students in variety of ways. The classrooms are now learning environments which promote study skills, social skills, problem solving and organizational skills along with the subject matter mastery. The teachers create motivated classroom environments according to Weiner and the formula for self- esteem, when students show internal/ability attribute, providing challenges to learn and training them to maintain self - esteem when failures occur. When they show internal/effort attribute to have high expectations for success as they will stay motivated in spite of temporary setbacks.
There are varieties of specific actions that the teachers are in the ways and means of ways to increase motivation in classroom tasks. The intrinsic motivation to be practiced through explaining or showing why learning a particular content or skill is important, create and maintain curiosity, provide a variety of activities and sensory stimulations, provide games and simulations, set goals for learning, relate learning to student needs and help student develop plan of action and the extrinsic motivation through providing clear expectations, giving corrective feedback and providing rewards.
The expectations of a teacher in such an environment demands the teachers to change radically with the technological changes the transition of static learning content to electronic integrative tools. The teacher's role remained largely as a facilitator at the same time to be a co-learner in technological knowledge and skills. The current demand from a teacher is to have are,
# Learning and creativity - teachers use subject matter expertise to facilitate and inspire creativity in students, including inventiveness, problem solving and reflecting through the use of digital tools collaborative tools and co-learning experiences.
# Assessment - Use assessments for evaluations so that the students set their own goals for learning, engage in personalized learning and are evaluated based on multiple, varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards.
# Digital age skills - teachers exhibit fluency in digital tools, engage regularly in technology - based collaboration and use information resources to support research and learning.
# Digital citizenship: Teachers promote "safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology," promote etiquette, and work to foster a global perspective in students
# Professional development: Educators adopt a model of lifelong learning and exhibit professional leadership through participation in learning communities, evaluation of research into the latest digital tools for education, contributions to the "effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession," and demonstration of leadership in education technology.
The ministry of Education with NSB and selected suppliers took initiatives to provide PCs for teachers at a reasonable price through Teacher PC Drive program and to provide training through reputed private institutes such as IDM Computer Studies and Gateway in 2006. The 'Innovative Teachers National Competition 2008' conducted by the Ministry of Education's Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP) II and Microsoft Sri Lanka assessed the progress of this program.
In "The Skills for life" launched in 2009, provides specialized programs for teachers in Sri Lankan education system plays a vital role in this scenario. Programs such as ICDL, CTP directly on ICT qualification and LTCC, IPICT as an education tool for non ICT teachers.
Photo caption: Kithsiri Abeysinghe - Nikawewa Dewanampiyatissa Central College, Chithrangani Karunasekera - Katuwana National School, Premawathie Henayalage- Project Manager, Department of Education North Central Province, Ranjith Tharukaratne - Sujatha Balika Maha Vidyalaya
The education leader inevitability faces a career in which new resilient responses are constantly required to meet the challenges that will inescapably and unremittingly arise in the future. These challenges are likely to occur in cycles as they have for over a century. The problems that seem overvelming to us now will in time recede into the background as new an apparently more demanding challenges emerge in the future. In view of this unyielding progression, educational leaders not only need to develop responses to the urgencies of the moment but also to develop a set of values, beliefs and principals to guide them in developing effective strategies and actions in the uncertain future. Taken together these values , beliefs and principals mold and shape the educational leaders vision of what the school ought to be like the direction in which it should be going, and the end state for which it should be like, the direction in which it should be going and the end state which it should be striving. A core element in such vision