School Administration & Supervision

Introduction to School Administration and Supervision Principals play a vital role in setting the direction for successful schools but productive leadership depends heavily on its fit with the social and organizational context in which it is exercised. They (the principals) are the primary catalysts for creating a lasting foundation for learning, for driving school and student performance, and for shaping the long term impact of schools’ improvement efforts. You have been appointed as the new principal at your school. You are frustrated by the current environment and feel the need to make some drastic changes.

Your superiors expect improvement; the school needs change and you need a plan. How will you motivate and inspire your teachers and school personnel to engage in a new way of thinking and redefine the school culture so that it can sustain nothing less than excellence in academic achievement? Motivation refers to the forces either within or external to a person that arouse enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action. (Richard L. Daft, Management 7th Edition, 2005) As a principal you would need to motivate your teachers. As the definition stated that it arouses enthusiasm in a person.

There are some ways in which you need to cultivate the passion for change. Rosabeth Moss Kantor (1998) stated that People hate change when it is someone else’s plan, when it is imposed on them, when they are told what to do and exactly how they must do it, when they are threatened with punishment if they don’t do it. People love change when it is shaped by them, when they are in control of it, when it is their chance to make a difference. In fact, then they don’t even call it ‘change’ — it’s a project, a venture, a dream come to life. It’s their passion turned into a professional pursuit. (p. 76) As the Principal you need to discover the things your people really care about, and see how the change can connect with their goals. That means making sure to know more about people than simply their teaching assignment or organizational role, and to conduct lots of conversations about hopes and aspirations. As well as not overselling the opportunities while downplaying the dangers. No one will believe you if you were to do this. At its heart, restructuring is a change process. It requires substantial organizational transformations that differ from the minor, incremental changes that suffice to help already good schools improve.

The literature on school change (e. g. , Hassel et al. , 2006; Reinventing Education, 2002) suggests that the following are necessary for needed changes to be successful: As a principal when initiating this change you should have a clear vision. What will the school look like when the restructuring process is completed? The Principal needs to be an empowered leader, a change agent, who can maintain a focus on the vision, motivate members of the school community, plan, communicate, and persist in keeping the change process on track.

There should be improvement in teams, and the Principal works with the team leader to create improvement plans and obtain input from and communicate with all members of the school community. Involvement of the whole school community: staff, ancillary staff, parents, community members, and students; in particular, soliciting input and keeping lines of communication open. As a Principal small, “quick wins” which are relatively small, simple changes that have large, quick payoffs provide the momentum for more difficult changes. As a Principal you need to be honest in all your restructuring if you intend to get the support of your staff.

Honesty is characterized by truthfulness, but also by congruence between words and actions. To sustain a change effort, teachers and parents must have a sense that what they are told is accurate and that there are no important things occurring about which they are not informed. Lambert (2000) portrays the principal as the fire carrier for the school’s vision, the central character in instructional planning, and a collaborator who brings teachers and even parents into discussions about the school’s operation. The principal is the focus keeper, consistently pointing to improved student learning as the central goal of the school.

The principal sets the climate of high expectations for student achievement and sees that teams function effectively. You need to ensure that you are trusted among your staff as well as parents and members in the community. Without this trust you will be unable to implement and iota of change within your school climate. When parents and teachers trust you, they believe that what you are saying and are encouraged to endeavour in what changes that may be ahead of them. They see the honesty as a bonding partnership, thereby allowing them to be more comfortable with you as the Principal in all your undertakings.

With honesty there is always some form of consideration that you as a Principal will tend to give towards your staff members. Consideration is a trait that refers to “people orientation” or a concern for people, especially a concern for each person. Considerate principals, for example, express interest in their teachers’ lives. When teachers see that you as a Principal are not only concerned about covering the school syllabus or ensuring that paperwork is up-to date, they will begin to trust you even more.

They will see that human aspect of you begin to play in their lives, therefore when you begin to ask for change it will be met with the minutest opposition. It will come as no surprise that change will be difficult and not everyone will happily climb aboard, even if the final goal is to provide the students with a better education. Another helpful tactic that the Principal should use involves using informal relationships to get a few influential members of the school community to commit themselves to the change process and bring others with them.

In every school community there may be always e groups of persons who seem to come together all the time. It would be in the Principal’s best interest to informally be able to have some input into these informal cliques. The Principal can use these cliques to his advantage by communicating with member from the group. He then is able to persuade that one group member that the changes which are about to be made are for the growth and development of the school and the child. He can then contract this member to assist him in motivating the other members of their group in order to get them on board for the changes that he wants to undertake. Morale is a very tentative issue. You can do 99 things right and make one mistake that will shoot morale forever. ” Leithwood, K. A. & Jantzi, D. (1990) All teachers yearn for reassurance that they are doing a good job. Most principals recognize teachers’ efforts by offering positive feedback — both publicly and privately. Weekly memos or e-mails, and regular staff meetings, are the perfect forums for recognizing special contributions that teachers or other staff members make. “Administrators always have to put aside their own issues and do what is best for students and staff in a caring and sensitive way.

We try not to say no to teachers, and we always treat them as adults. ” Leithwood, K. A. & Jantzi, D. (1990) As the Principal you need to recognize this aspect of your school’s culture. You need to be aware of what is going on with your teachers and you need to show them that when they achieve something, no matter how small it may seem that it is recognized. Teachers like to be shown that they are not taken for granted. As a Principal when you do this recognition, you show them that what they do in the school or out of the school is of value.

When teachers see this they understand that when the Principal wants to make changes to the schools culture that it is for the betterment of the school and the children. They will be willing to have such changes occur within the school. Leadership skills are a very important trait as a principal that you must have if you intend to make changes that will positively affect your school. As the definition of Leadership states Leadership is a group function, it occurs when two or more people interact with each other and they intentionally seek to influence the behavior of other people (Robert G.

Owens, 2004). This is a very powerful definition of what is leadership and you as the Principal have this power. Therefore using your leadership skills in your school, you will be able to motivate and inspire teachers to engage in a new way of thinking. Teachers generally view favourably support principals who have fresh ideas. Teachers tend to recognize and see as powerful those principals who are expert in using collaborative, collegial methods of working together, of implementing changes in the school climate and culture in order to identify and solve mutual problems.

Such methods are personally rewarding to teachers at the higher level of Maslow’s concept of motivation and facilitate continuing personal self-growth. Principals who have fresh exciting ideas – who have a vision for the future – which others embrace and want to share are building referent power. Teachers tend to admire principals who express their visions coherently and vividly, who inspire enthusiasm, who involve others in dialogue intended to mould and develop the ideas and who cause them to see a connection between the vision and their own desire to achieve something meaningful, to be part of a new and better future that is unfolding.

Many teachers find helping behavior from Principals to be highly rewarding if it is nonjudgmental, supportive, collaborative and caring in the traditional sense of self-development. When teachers find such behavior from you as a Principal rewarding enough, their support for you increases and your power to lead and implement changes to the school increases as a result. As the Principal you need to develop the traits of an effective leader as defined by Raymond Cattell, 1954 which will assist you in motivating others and leading them in a different way. You must be able to convince others that your vision is worth following.

As a Principal if you wish to implement changes to organizational structure and environment, you need to begin to explore possible courses of action to those changes that you are implementing as well as how you will inspire your staff to undertake these new changes. Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1985) stated that a “leader continuously scans the environment noticing where change is needed” (p. 10). Leaders of educational change are proactive in their efforts to change and improve their schools. They are “always testing the limits in an effort to change things that no one else believes can be changed” (Mazzarella & Grundy, 1989, p. 3). They are proactive because they challenge the status quo of their school to respond to changes that affect the school’s business. Often these proactive school leaders are described as individuals who do not accept the rules, regulations, or traditions of their schools and districts to limit their change efforts Blumberg, A. & Greenfield, W. (1986). As a Principal of change you may need to focus your staff away from maintaining the status quo to exploring various options of the school’s vision while maintaing that of the Ministry’s vision.

Principals guide the discussion of how continuing the organization’s current way of operating will shortchange the organization and thus motivates and encourages teachers to become advocates for a different vision. Avi-Itzhak, T. E. , & Ben-Peretz, M. (1987) study of the ethical aspects of school administrators’ decision-making includes the finding that they would use the organization’s structures and procedures against itself “so that the ultimate client, the student, is best served”.

He found that when changes are made in a school that has the support of all staff members, the primary beneficiaries of such decisions were the students and their parents and that the school staff form the secondary group of beneficiaries. Therefore as a principal who intends to implement change to a school, your leadership traits do play an integral part in the implementation and acceptance of these changes. In conclusion, when working to change school culture, principals must first consider the basic needs of their staff and their students. You need to understand what otivates them and what are their weaknesses and strengths. Motivate teachers to unite with others in sharing a vision of where the organisation should be going and how to get there. As the Principal you must “evaluate the social and environmental contexts of a school’s practices to define the existing school staff’s culture and norms when working with students” (Bennis, W. & Nanus, B. (1985). Organize the working environment so that the envisioned changes and goals become central values in the school. You need to develop the traits of a good Leader in order to inspire teachers to accept these changes.

When these are developed you would find it much easier to motivate others to this new way of thinking. You need to arouse their personal commitment to the effort of bringing the vision of a better future through change and a new way of thinking into being. Additionally, staff members and students should not feel monitored, and the feelings of individual teachers and students must be acknowledged. Therefore as the principal you need to facilitate the work that teachers need to do to transform these changes and goals into reality.

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