Leading Change In Your School English Literature Essay

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The book under review is the practical handbook for the teacher and the administrators who are taken for the harbingers of change in an educational set up. The author has got practical knowledge of actual practices and the intended changes alongwith a practicable guide of ways and means of how to bring about the required change. Guiding schools through significant change is one of the toughest challenges educational leaders come across, but learning from the examples of those who have been successful can make it less frightening. In Leading Change in Your School, distinguished author and researcher Douglas B. Reeves propounds the lessons learned through his hectic work with educators in thousands of schools around the world and puts forward real-life examples of leaders who have taken on the challenge of change head-on, with remarkable results for their schools and districts. Readers will also be able to find practical resources for getting their colleagues engaged in change initiatives. They have very dexterously propounded real examples of elementary and secondary schools that have moved change from rhetoric to reality, a master in the field of school leadership give details as to how teachers and administrators everywhere can make sure that change efforts lead to better results. Whether your school is in need of improving literacy, encourage great teaching, add to attendance, reduce dropout rates, reform grading, or reach any other accountability. The book equips the reader with the art of getting success in their field.

Author has taken start with a consideration of the conditions for change. Educational leaders are experts in bringing about change, spreading out the seeds of gifted ideas. But they are very less adept at moving aside the initiatives of the preceding year so that the seeds of the new announcement have the least opportunity to take root hence the proposition that we must "pull the weeds" before we "plant new flowers." Author has also extended the concept of Change Readiness Assessments for individuals and organizations which are the tools that could be helpful to complete before you begin the next change initiative. It is contended that culture is deeply embedded in educational institutions, and so the author closely examines what it takes to change school culture.

The first part of the book is drawn to a close with a consideration of myths related to change and leadership. The second part of the book takes into consideration planning for change, which engages a combination of people and process, with the former beating the latter by a good distance. It is not that tactical planning, as it is often practised, is worthless. It can actually be much worse than that, with counterproductive results that are sustained far longer than the changes the strategists intended to plan. Fortunately, there are effective planning models that replace piles of three-ring binders with highly focused goals and action plans. Individual and small-group actions, which devise the core of successful change, can take care of effective coaching. However, just as "strategic planning" has often been anything but strategic, so is the case with "coaching" that represents a range of meanings, from pseudo therapy to a catalyst for performance that change individuals and organizations. Third, the author takes into consideration the fundamentals of change implementation, using real examples of elementary and secondary schools that have moved change initiatives from rhetoric to reality. Although many change initiatives center on the basics of literacy and maths, the evidence from this part of the book reminds us that successful schools, including those with colossal demographic challenges, see the arts not as a frill but as an integral part of the intellectual and academic development of their students. Author has also confronted the significant difference between what change leaders contend and what they do. This gap is the result not of malice or ineptness, but rather of a lack of descriptive rigor. When, for example, we hear terms such as "instructional leadership," the difference between insipid slogans and meaningful implementation comes down to the details of daily conversations and decisions by leaders in classrooms and schools. In the fourth part of the book authors have considered the issue of sustaining change. It is referred that Hargreaves and Fink (2006) remind us that international lessons, from Scandinavia to Zambia, shed some light on the essential nature that culture plays in sustaining meaningful change. Sustainability, according to the author, has less to do with five-year plans and concerned more with the perspective that those responsible for change have outside of themselves. Here the author has found the missing ingredient in the recipe. Evidence is, of course, important. Administrative clarity is essential, too. Author holds that over the past several decades of research in change leadership, it is that evidence, commands, and fears are insufficient to create change at either the individual or the organizational level. When sustainable change is discussed it requires a reorientation of priorities and values so that the convenience of the individual is no longer the measure of legitimacy of change. Rather, a vision of change is responded that is so compelling and whose benefits for others are so overpowering that we see students and colleagues not as cogs in the machine but as stars in a galaxy that outshines our fears and belittles our apprehensions. This is the key to change leadership-we are in the know that each star in the sky holds a unique place, and without it, a constellation would be diminished. Thus the paradox of change leadership is nothing more than the elevation of a vision far greater than the individual and, at the same time, the elevation of the individual to a unique place that is, powerful, and essential. And readers, in the course of reading this book, will come across leaders who have done precisely that. Author invites the readers to think of a few organizational change initiatives the readers have experienced that were not successful. What characteristics did they have in common? Did any elements of the "recipe" in the opening sentences of the introduction resonate with you? Have they ever experienced or observed an effective organizational change initiative? What specific actions of leaders and participants made it effective?

Chapter Wise Review

In Chapter 1, Author first of all suggests that leaders must make out what they can stop doing before asking their colleagues to assume a new change initiative. Leaders must also assess with meticulousness the willingness to change their organizations-and themselves. Change initiatives without such individual and collective assessment are bound to fail.

Chapters 2 and 3 offer Change Readiness Assessments for individuals and organizations, respectively. For an even more thorough analysis of system change readiness the author has produced reproducible forms for analysis of change readiness for every stakeholder.

In Chapter 4 and 5 author has presented four imperatives of cultural change, starting with the counterintuitive suggestion that the first rule of change, especially when deep cultural change is needed, is that leaders must discover and communicate what does not change. Although there are many leaders who can describe their vision of the future very candidly and convey genuine optimism and hope, they nevertheless fail to grasp the fear and anxiety that change-even positive and necessary change-triggers among their colleagues. Anxiety gives place to the advantages of change with overwhelming, if irrational, disadvantages and therefore put a stop on change before it has the opportunity to begin.

In Chapter 6 the author points out a few leverage points that have the greatest influence on student achievement which may be termed as teaching, professional learning, collaboration, and time. Author is firmly of the view that the leader should not be person who makes shallow commitment to research that is more rhetorical than real. These kinds of leaders claim to engage in professional learning communities but, in fact, have only changed the name of their faculty meetings. Again, this is worth noting that leaders seeking to change organizations must also change people. This is much easier a task when the right people are chosen in the first place.

In Chapter 7 author takes into consideration some unusual but highly effective ways of interviewing and selecting teachers and administrators. But at the same time such effective new employees are in need of nurturing and support. One common way of supporting such professionals is coaching.

In Chapter 8 writer points out right way and the wrong way to coach for improved performance.

In Chapter 9 and 10, author takes into consideration sensitive subject of strategic planning. He contends that the planning process may become suspicious when a planner does not have conviction on its practicability that proceed from vision to mission to endless strategies accompanied by action plans that are, in fact, strategies to be away from action. In fact this is a known fact that effective planning for change requires choices and frequent use of the word no, that hampers the positive process of change. Although, a leader must listen to a variety of opinions from different quarters leaders however yet they must also be persistently focused.

In Chapters 11 and 12 it is suggested by the research that to have an overwhelming effect on student achievement, educational leaders must monitor only a few areas. If the goals and strategies are in abundance then this is inversely related to the ability of leaders to monitor them. Therefore, as is suggested by the White (2009), when school leaders have too many goals, they become inclined to lose focus and ultimately throw away their ability to monitor the performance of their organization. Author says that when we talk of Implementing change then it requires focus, clarity, and monitoring-qualities that can place a leader among the superb change leaders in the world. But unfortunately there are the factors when even superior achievements in focus, clarity, and monitoring are not sufficient to sustain change.

In chapters 13 and 14 lay stress that the most change efforts emphasize individual and organizational effectiveness. To give sustainability to change, leaders must have to refocus their energies beyond the achievement of short-term effectiveness and look toward the greater good. Writer also refers to the surveys made in different districts and their results.

In chapter 15 and 16, author gives an acid test question for sustainability: 'if funding evaporated and administrative mandates were withdrawn, would this change endure?' He again puts a very valid question by asking that 'if you knew that you had to make a massive change, but you would have to do so with the same staff, the same contract, the same rewards, and the same institutional structure that you have now, could you do it?' That is precisely what happened in a school district in California, as described in Chapter 14. According to the author this is worth noting that despite crushing poverty and a history of poor performance, changes in leadership and the replacement of a small minority of staff members, Infact, led to significant improvements in student results. Writer contends that the lessons in sustainable change have global applications and these lessons come from global sources. Author quotes that in far flung areas like Shamombo School in rural Zambia such lessons are offered wherein leadership, culture, and commitment combine to survive devastating poverty, political disorder, and shocking diseases. Again he refers to the travel that was made halfway around the world from Zambia to Jenks, Oklahoma, where he is reminded that administrative leadership is essential but not sufficient for sustainable change; leadership in the most effective schools is bought about through the teachers. Teacher leadership, however, is often thwarted by tradition, culture, and a history in which teacher leadership was little more than a euphemism for the assignment of administrative duties to teachers without corresponding compensation. There is no doubt in the fact that teacher leaders can fill a vacuum left by ineffective administrators. But there are the researchers like Jenks who defy the claim that effective administrative leaders not only coexist with but also rely upon effective teacher leaders. He, at the end propounds an example of short-term change with effective results; this team of leaders surmounts the skeptics to bring hope and opportunity for students.