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Principals play a vital role in delivering the vision of any educational institution; they are major influence on the quality of teaching practice and student achievement. They lead with others, to chart future directions; set high expectations, maintain the focus of learning and teaching and establish positive learning environments. The leadership capabilities of the principal make the difference to all that happens in a school. As the first step in a research project aimed at further building the knowledge base about effective educational leadership, these questions would be reviewed:
Leadership for learning is better performance through teamwork and distributed leadership (Diosdado San Antonio 2008; Scribner, 2007; Moller, 2005; Goldstein, 2004; Harris, 2004; Hopkins, 2001). Researchers of school effectiveness and improvement have long argued the importance of leadership in schools. It helps to establish a clear and consistent vision, which emphasizes the prime purposes of the school as teaching and learning and is highly visible to both staff and students. (Sammons et al., 1997: 199)
A purpose of this report is to provide those who wear the mantle of leadership in the new paradigm with the knowledge and skills they need to work effectively with teachers, parents, administrators, students, and the community at large. It seems to be a simple notion to a complicated task that is developing schools as learning communities. Providing high-quality collaborative learning opportunities for teachers can result in improved learning opportunities for students (Lambert, 1998).
This is further enforced by meaningful and continuous conversation among teachers about their beliefs, their teaching, their learning, and what they have learned about teaching is necessary for teachers to develop into a community of learners and leaders (Kruse, Louis,& Bryk,1995). Restructuring cannot result simply from fixing, adding, or subtracting new parts to a school's programs. Real change requires that teachers have opportunities to continually reexamine their educational beliefs and the assumptions that guide their behavior (Senge et al., 2000).
Although principal may lead the transformation process, leadership can come from teachers, if they are provided with opportunities to assume meaningful leadership roles in the school improvement process. A diverse leadership approach is required(Fertig,2000:Mortimer ,2001: Beresford ,2003:Garber ,2003:Harold, et al 2007:Dinham, 2007;Diosdado M. San Antonio 2007; Leithwood,; Wahlstrom, 2008; Mulford-Bill 2008; Robyn et al: 2009; MacBeath 2009). While many in the education field use the term "distributed leadership" reverentially, there is substantial overlap with such other well-developed, longstanding conceptions of leadership as "shared," "collaborative," "democratic" and "participative." Furthermore, when viewed in terms of the definition of leadership suggested here, practical applications of leadership distribution may easily get confounded with the mere distribution of management responsibilities.
Leadership is taken as a set of skills and qualities that can be developed through strategically designed content and active adult theory-based strategies ( Jackson & Kelly, 2002; Orr, 2006) this idea strengthens the concept of in-service teacher and head training, through short courses perhaps, including the man that matters i.e. the principal. It is a relationship among organization members who intend to influence each other and to have real changes that reflect their mutual purpose. This new view of leadership is characterized by collaboration, power-sharing facilitation, and empowerment (Bonasso, 2001).
Many articles indicated that the leadership capability of the college/school student should be and could be developed (Allen, 1990; Avery, Chang, Piker-May, Sullivan, Carison, & Davis, 1998; Bonasso, 2001; Capehart, 1991; Mark & Carver, 1988; Wielkiewicz, 2000: Woodard, 1994). Similarly, many researchers; however, have advocated the student centred classroom practices for better learning outcomes in comparison with teacher centred classes (Bruffee 1984; Hillocks 1993; Rubin and Herbert 1998; Edens 2000; Hansen and Stephens, 2000; Villaume, 2000).One of the issues with student-centred learning is the fact that many institutions or educators claim to be putting student-centred learning into practice, but in reality they are not. Lea et al.(2003, p.322).
Promising efforts have recently begun to extend the concept of distributed leadership beyond its commonsense uses and provide evidence about its nature and effects (e.g., Gronn, 2002; Spillane, in press; Leithwood et al, 2004). These efforts suggest, for example, that it is helpful for some leadership functions to be performed at every level in the organization; for example, stimulating people to think differently about their work.
On the other hand, it is important for other functions to be carried out at a particular level. For example, it seems critical that leaders in formal positions of authority retain responsibility for building a shared vision for their organizations. Also, it seems likely that different patterns of leadership distribution throughout districts and schools, for example, might be associated with different levels of effects on students. This is a promising line of research that may prevent distributed leadership from becoming just another leadership. Leithwood et al (2006) claim that leaders influence pupils' learning almost as classroom experiences do. Recent work of different scholars complements his findings (Hargreaves and Fink, 2006; Waldman, 2006; Leithwood, K. et al 2008; Bush, 2008).
More progressive concepts of educational leadership have embraced a number of new leadership models, including that of transformational leadership. Early transformational leadership theorists (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978) tended to conceptualize transformational leadership as coexistent with transactional elements of employer-employee contractual task-focused management exchanges. Later leadership theorists, building on this framework, increasingly queried leader-centric approaches, highlighting the limitations of viewing leadership as residing solely at the top of hierarchical leader- follower relationships, notably in education (Lumby, Harris, Morrison, Muijs & Sood, 2004; Mehra, Smith, Dixon & Robertson, 2006).
Leaders need to focus on the culture, that maintains the sustainability of the concept with a strong focus on nurturing the core values which encourage creativity and innovation but also ensure maintenance and continuity of the shared ethos with the commitment to lead (Hargreaves, A. et al, 2003; Benefield, C. 2005; Glover and Coleman, 2005; Busher, 2006; MacBeath, J. 2008).
Discussion and Final Recommendation:
Leadership is described in literature with varied names (adjectives) such as "instructional," "participative," "democratic," "transformational," "moral," "strategic" and similar names. But these labels primarily capture different stylistic or methodological approaches to accomplishing the same two essential objectives critical to any organization's effectiveness: helping the organization set a defensible set of directions and influencing members to move in those directions. Leadership is both this simple and this complex.
"Instructional leadership," for example, encourages a focus on improving the classroom practices of teachers as the direction for the school. "Transformational leadership," on the other hand, draws attention to a broader array of school and classroom conditions that may need to be changed if learning is to improve. Both "democratic" and "participative leadership" are especially concerned with how decisions are made about both school priorities and how to pursue them. The lesson here is that we need to be skeptical about the "leadership by adjective".
The work of developing leadership capacity brings clarity to the changing role of the principal as instructional leader. A principal who goes it alone or who dominates will find that the school becomes overly dependent on his or her leadership. As former Clayton, Missouri, principal Barbara Kohm explains: "The more adept I became at solving problems, the weaker the school became" (2002, p. 32).
Today's effective principal constructs a shared vision with members of the school community, convenes the conversations, insists on a student learning focus, evokes and supports leadership in others, models and participates in collaborative practices, helps pose the questions, and facilitates dialogue that addresses the confounding issues of practice. This work requires skill and new understanding; it is much easier to tell or to manage than it is to perform as a collaborative instructional leader. Most of the private institutions in larger cities follow these principles of learning through collaboration and sharing of ideas. Sometimes it is through the questionnaires, but most of the times parents do visit the school once in a while, especially on the parents -teacher meetings. They do share their views, grievances and suggestions.
There seems little doubt that both public and private school leadership provides a critical bridge between most educational-reform initiatives, and having those reforms make a genuine difference for all students. Such leadership comes from many sources, not just heads and principals. But those in formal positions of authority in school systems are likely still the most influential. Efforts to improve their recruitment, training, evaluation and ongoing development should be considered highly cost-effective approaches to successful school improvement.
These efforts will be increasingly productive as research provides us with clear understandings of how successful leaders make sense of and productively respond to both external policy initiatives and local needs and priorities. Such efforts will also benefit considerably from more fine-grained understandings than we currently have of successful leadership practices; and much richer appreciations of how those practices seep into the fabric of the education system, improving its overall quality and substantially adding value to our students' learning.
Today, shared instructional leadership among professional staff is state-of-the-art practice. And we are developing students as future instructional leaders by creating opportunities for mutual learning in the classroom, on the playground, and in the community. Parents are also emerging as important instructional leaders as they share in setting goals, examining student data, conferring with teachers, tutoring students at home and in the classroom, helping monitor and assess school programs, and forging links with community resources. Such collaboration is building a sense of collective responsibility among students and parents for the accomplishments of all students. Tomorrow, we may view all participants in the education arena, including community members and policymakers, as instructional co-leaders.
Our mistake has been in looking to the principal alone for instructional leadership, when instructional leadership is everyone's work. We need to develop the leadership capacity of the whole school community. Out of that changed culture will arise a new vision of professional practice linking leading and learning.