Educational Leadership: Change and Learning

Leadership- definition and description

The concept of leadership is a multi-dimensional one as it embodies several aspects. Leadership can thus be defined from different perspectives.

Leadership can be enumerated as a process of social influence and in this influence an individual can enroll the help and subsidiary support of other individuals in order to complete and execute a job that has been assigned to the individual, either as a individual or a task subjected to institutional, organizational, or cumulative benefits. An efficient leader is always emulated. From this point of view, leadership may be defined as process that creates opportunity to induce others to perform well higher than the average potential or in other words, a leader influences others to perform better. Leadership, thus, involves providing a clear sense of direction for the attainment of specific goals which are instrumental in bringing about organizational change.

Example of functioning as a leader

As a teacher in an educational institute, I once assumed the role of a leader in assessing whether the use of technology in schools can contribute to the improvement of educational opportunities and learning. In spite of the initial hesitation of the school administrators, I was able to impress upon them that the application of effective technologies would prove beneficial in enhancing the teaching-learning process.

Inhibitors and facilitators of change

As a teacher leader, I have not only been an agent of change but also a participant in change. Traditional leadership theories emphasize the fact that decision-making regarding different aspects of school organizations are to be taken by the administrators of schools and the principals. Teacher leadership roles are extremely limited. However, current educational reforms are recognizing the need for teacher leaders.

My role as a teacher leader influenced the school management to involve me in the decision-making process regarding the effectiveness of the use of appropriate technology in enhancing student learning. In doing so, I have been an initiator of change as well as a participant in change.

The inhibitors and facilitators of change vary according to the situation. The same factor may facilitate change in one case while may be the least amenable to change in the other.

In my case, the primary facilitator of change has been the students, especially those unable to live up to the academic standards. They were the more eager to reap the benefits of instructional technology. In the process, the guardians of the respective students as well as some members of the community were also supportive of the change.

Factors that acted as deterrents to change were the cultural factors of the school like the attitude of the school towards change, the relationship between the members of the school as well as the informal rules governing the behavior in the school.

Learning

Interest in creating a “learning organization”

The need to learn collectively and effectively in order to thrive in the ever-changing world has given rise to the concept of ‘learning organization’.

It is widely believed that any organization that encourages the continual learning of its members and is open to change is conducive to becoming a learning organization. My interest in creating a learning organization emanates from the fact that as per the above statement, schools can function as effective learning organizations. Development of learning organizations in schools would foster collective learning of the members resulting in overall improvement of schools’ performance.

Contribution to the creation of a “learning organization”

Creating a learning organization cannot be accomplished through individual effort. Moreover, a successful learning organization is the outcome of the complex interplay of several factors.

As a teacher leader, my contribution to the creation of a learning organization has been in the form of developing and maintaining a shared vision. This shared vision has helped the members remain focused on their goals analyzing issues common to all. Learning, thus, became a collaborative effort rather than an individual accomplishment.

Another important aspect of my contribution has been my insistence on the use of dialogue to facilitate communication among the members of the learning organization. This has made them open up in front of others thereby building a level of understanding among the members as well as facilitating the process of ‘thinking together’.

Service and Organizational Transformation

Relationship among leadership, learning and service

Leadership, learning and service are intrinsically related to each other. Together, they make a composite whole which defines the effective functioning of an organization. In order to appreciate the composite whole, it is helpful to analyze the interconnectedness between the different components.

The relationship between leadership and learning is a symbiotic one. The need for leadership emphasizes the need for learning; again, learning facilitates the development of effective leadership qualities. Enhancement of knowledge and skills through learning leads to better utilization of the individual leadership skills.

The relation between learning and service is an intricate one. Effective learning helps in identifying the areas of improvement and accordingly, appropriate services are designed to meet the requirements of the receptors.

Thus, leadership influences learning, and learning helps in the determination and enhancement of educational services. Thus, leadership, learning and services together help in bringing about organizational transformation.

Description of my service in the transformation of organization

As a teacher leader, I contributed to the transformation of my school as an organization. The first step in this process was to identify the students, who suffered from learning difficulties as well as communication problems which impacted their academic performance to a great extent. These were the students in need of special educational services.

My emphasis was on the employment of effective technologies as a means of instruction as well as a source of information. I considered the use of multimedia technologies and audiovisual aids as effective in serving the academic needs of all students, especially those with special needs.

This required a change in the attitude of the school towards the teaching-learning process. With the help of well-defined objectives, shared vision as well as dialogue, I was able to convince the school management regarding the effectiveness of the instructional technologies. In the process, I was able to create an educational service which benefited those students as well as brought about organizational transformation.

Goals for doctorate in leadership

Goals and expectations for pursuing a doctorate in leadership

The goals and expectations for pursuing a doctorate in leadership vary from person to person. However, some of the common goals and expectations that underlie the pursuit of doctorate leadership program are as follows:

  1. The primary goal is expansion of career opportunities. The need for educational leaders is on the rise and a doctorate in educational leadership helps them in choosing from a wide range of educational leadership careers. E.g. teacher, principal, school administrator etc. Moreover, enhancement of career opportunities is directly linked to increased earning potential.
  2. The teachers are expected to believe in the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ and those who pursue a doctorate in leadership are the most sought after. They are held in higher esteem and considered to be well-equipped to bring about an improvement in different aspects of school organization.
  3. The most important incentive is the enhancement of knowledge and skills. A doctorate in leadership helps in the better understanding of the educational goals. Thus, they are able to provide leadership and supervision apart from imparting education.

Enhancement of the abilities to lead and transform organizations after the attainment of degree

Certain leadership qualities are inherent in human nature. Those skills cannot be acquired. However, a formal degree certainly helps in the professional development of the persons willing to lead an organization.

As far as I am concerned, a doctorate in leadership would definitely enhance my abilities to function as a leader. Firstly, the doctorate degree would lead to greater acceptance of my abilities as a leader. Secondly, I would be better equipped to plan, guide, supervise and evaluate policy or program in educational organizations. Thirdly, I would possess the necessary knowledge and skills to bring about an organizational change and to increase the effective functioning of the organization. Fourthly, it would help me in maintaining ethical standards in my leadership endeavors. Finally, I would be able to implement the information management system that would enhance the organizational structures leading to its overall improvement.