In the classroom, leadership is closely connected with management and sometimes one would even consider them synonymous. Leadership in the classroom comprises the following attributes:
- Centralized or decentralized.
- Broad or focused.
- Decision-oriented or morale-centered.
- Intrinsic or authority-driven
Overall, there is an amazing relationship between leadership and management, so a teacher must both have effective leadership and management skills in order to fully benefit the classroom. Leaders in the classroom are inspiring visionaries who are concerned with a substance of a given situation, while managers in the classroom are primarily concerned with the educational process by making it more effective.
There is a difference between managers and leaders as depicted together with the corresponding skills and qualities in the paper below:
- a. Managers in the classroom administer, while leaders innovate.
- b. Managers ask the following questions: How? When? Leaders on the other hand ask What? And Why?
- c. Managers in the classroom place emphasis on the educational system, while leaders focus on people involved (students, teaching staff, parents).
- d. Managers maintain the existing system and improve it, leaders develop new educational approaches and systems.
- e. Managers in the classroom use formal control, while leaders inspire truest and motivation.
- f. Managers are concerned with short-term planning, while school leaders pursue long-run goals.
- g. School managers accept and improve the status quo of the educational facility and class, while leaders work on the ways to improve and challenge the status quo.
- h. Managers are soldiers in the educational process who follow the command from above, while leaders are their own people who prefer to give orders and originate (Odiorne, 1999, p.15).
The role of teachers as managers is to organize students to get the educational process done. The role of teachers as leaders is to cause students to follow the vision of a teacher that was created to achieve some educational goal. The task thus is subordinate to the vision in the educational process.
Still, one should understand that the relationship between leadership and management depends on the management style. Thus, certain management styles as applied in the classroom might be weal on leadership, while others might focus exclusively on leadership and vision. For instance, participatory management, democratic management and collaborative management are famous for weak reliance on leadership, while authoritarian, or top-down management focus greatly on leadership to provide the needed direction in the classroom.
As it is in the case with the educational process where there is no single leader present, it does not necessarily mean that schools have weak leadership. In some educational facilities like universities and large public school the presence of several leaders (accountable to their departments) might be very useful and effective (Cleveland, 2002, p. 210).
While in the past teachers were seen as authoritarian leaders and the educational process resembled the empty bucket approach, at present teachers engage more and more often in a democratic leadership process. In the past students had little choice but to listen to what a teacher said and then reproduce that information. With the democratic leadership style, students are given an opportunity to freely express their own opinions and become leaders by challenging existing theory or status quo of things. In the past the single leader as represented by a teacher could quickly make and enforce decisions yet apparently that compromised the objectivity of the US educational system. At present, the group decisions require a longer decision making process yet apparently bring in more expertise and perspective for the schools.
One should also note that since the modern day educational process develops at a tremendous rate, the need for a free and efficient decision making and knowledge-creating process is urgent if a given institution wants to remain competitive.
2. Diversity and Team work
Teamwork is a simple process of people working together in a group formation called a team. The team concept had been originated in sports yet at present is applied in virtually any organization. In the XXI century, as the educational process becomes more sophisticated and society becomes more and more demanding teamwork appears to be essential for the problem solving required by the modern educational process.
While in ancient Greece and Rome, one teacher could provide all the knowledge students needed, at present, it is impossible for one person to accomplish the very same task. Since the concept of knowledge at present is extremely complex and advanced, one requires a cohesive work of dozens of people, professors, support staff, etc. in order to educated the students and create knowledge at a pace required by the competition between the educational institutions.
In order for educational institutions to create the required teamwork one needs to attract people and nurture the following stills:
- Listening. This skill is required in any team since it provides the team members with the opportunity to hear the ideas of others and whenever needed build on them (Bass, 2000, p.22).
- Questioning is another skill needed in a proper functioning of a school team formed by the teaching staff. Questioning is useful for interaction between the team members and discussion of team objectives (Harold, 1999, p. 10).
- Persuading is another skill required by the educational team to defend and rethink team ideas and proposals.
- Respecting is a skill required to keep the team functioning dynamically with positive results.
- Helping is another important skill required in an effective team functioning and involving exchange of responsibilities among team members.
- Sharing and Participating and the last yet not least important skills required by the team work as applicable to the education process that takes place in schools. Each team member should be able to do his/her job freely and right and get the needed accesses to the team resources and abilities (Odiorne, 1999, p.20).
Diversity in the classroom involves the presence of various differences in the classroom population. Diversity involves differences in cultures, opinions, ethnic composition and social backgrounds, let alone race, gender, and physical differences that make up diversity. Diversity in the classroom is synonymous with tolerance towards the minorities that make up the diversity in class.
For a teacher to remain within a legitimate framework it is necessary to account for these differences and then shape the education work accordingly. Thus, one might be required to learn more about the minorities present in class and their cultural, ethnic, racial, or gender specifics and attributes in order to not only engage in the most effectively and efficient educational process in class but also in order not to break the law.
By the same token a teacher needs to account for the differences present among diversity groups in order to provide working reinforcement and equal opportunity for all students in a classroom. Thus, while some groups might require individual approach to enforcement from a teacher to a student, other groups might require group involvement or even parental interference for a professor to achieve the expected results.
As noted earlier every teacher employed by a school is required to work in a team of other professors who implement the educational goals of a given educational institution. Cross functional teams are the teams typically used in schools and universities in many countries and involve shared responsibility among different teachers for a particular educational goal. Thus, teachers are all accountable before their departments and in turn before the students and their parents. Teachers assume different responsibilities required to educate students from being classroom teachers, club leaders, athletic coaches, recommendation letter/student evaluation form writers and school counselors. The cross functional team roles of teachers assure the most effective functioning of a student in a classroom serving as instructors rather than commanders for these students. Students are able to effectively work with teachers, evaluate their performance, and use their assistance in achieving their personal educational goals. Since teachers already make up a school team, comment or complaint with respect to the school educational system can be picked up by any teacher and brought up before the teacher/school committee.
3. Power/ Influence
Power involves an ability to directly influence the other person’s actions and decisions made at a certain amount of time. Power is a rather abstract term that comprises numerous sub-definitions needed to fully describe that term. Thus, one speaks of physical power, intimidation, expert power, legal power, positional or ethical power, as constituent parts of power. Typically, a teacher possesses positional authority/power as well as expert power, something that students do not possesses while taking a class. A professor has the power to expel a student from his/her class or fail an unprepared student. A professor can also create a recommendation letter or student evaluation form for that student bad enough to fail him/her later in life when pursuing a college or a decent job. Typically power is not liked by Americans and in schools it is used as a mean of last resort (Berlew, 1999, p.177).
Influence on the other hand involves a less formal and direct approach to making others do what one wants. Unlike power that is usually limited and represents a zero-sum game influence is more subtle.
Influence in schools in based on the following constituent elements:
- Reciprocation or giving something for something. Thus, a professor who gives students knowledge, respect and ability to think and achieve high results in a class, in return gets the students’ commitment, proper work attitude and respect.
- Commitment and consistency. By the same token a professor who commits his/her time, effort, and knowledge to the classroom is likely to be able to influence his/her students in that classroom.
- Social Proof. This element of influence involves the ‘image’ or a professor as formed by the society and students taking his/her class. Thus a professor who teaches finance and who had been in the news is likely to have more influence on the class than a professor who is not known to anything in the neighborhood.
- Scarcity. This element of influence is based on a simple interaction of a supply and demand for a given professor. Just like a social proof, scarcity of some bright mind, world-known and outstanding professor immediately gives that professor more influence in class and in school.
Professors are required to demonstrate influence and power in different degrees at certain time to assure that the class is given the most ample opportunity to effectively study and achieve new heights in school.
5. Summary and Conclusion
in conclusion, I would be interesting to note that leadership and teaching in school settings usually turns into intensive team-based experiences, that integrate various functional areas, and selective courses that offer choice and are designed to give students the tools and skills they need to anticipate, analyze, and solve increasingly interrelated and complex educational challenges needed to become successful in modern world.
Any Educational program provides a general educational framework in various subjects that will benefit students at present and in the future.
Nowadays, education and knowledge are becoming global. Everyone’s contribution be it education or business is international. The world economy of the new millennium is internationalized and global, whether individuals in specific countries or firms recognize or acknowledge it.
As companies expand their presence, their input sourcing and their structures, the problems of effective leadership and management in schools become more important and more complex.
From an economic perspective host countries welcome multinational firms and specialists because they are viewed as agents of technology transfer and economic development. From a business perspective global companies are looking for opportunities to invest in geographic locations where they can earn a rate of return high enough to compensate them for the perceived level of risk. National and international market imperfections provide these opportunities that the skills gained during the school program will allow certain students to tap. Students’ skills obtained in schools under the proper leadership and management of the teaching/school teams will furnish them with the proper knowledge and abilities to be the corporate leaders of the XXI century.
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