Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

504: Module 1, leadership March 14, 2012

Required reading

Cheng, Y. C. (2002). Leadership and strategy. In T. Bush & L. Bell (Eds.), The principles and practice of educational management (pp. 51-69). London : Paul Chapman Publishing. 

Reading response
Leadership is often broken into two parts: 1) influencing people’s behaviour and 2) working to develop and achieve goals.
My ideas about this statement:
1) make people feel important, valued and necessary
2) have a clear vision, be extremely transparent by outlining the process and the progress of the process
Bolman and Deal (1997)’s four leadership functions: human resources leadership, structural leadership, political leadership and symbolic leadership.
Sergiovanni: human, technical, educational, symbolic, cultural leadership
I can see how our new leadership team at my school is *trying* to show these leaderships but I’m not convinced they are working well yet. When I read the descriptors, I can relate them to some action taken by the new team but the dust had not settled and people are still not feeling great about the changes taking place. I think the “human” element is missing. Not enough sharing of the process maybe? Or just not the faith that it the new leaders actually have our best interests at heart, only looking at the dollar sign…
These 5 facets really help me understand how the leadership role can be broken into parts to see where the strengths and areas of improvement lie for my own leading.
As a visual learner, tables help me understand complex ideas much better and this table is a great example of how leaders can help facilitate quality education.

Required reading

Saskatchewan Education n.d., Adaptive leadership

Reading response

“Adaptive leadership includes a number of key elements that assist in achieving this end:

1. Developing a clear mission and vision (do it, live it, believe it)

2. Developing a culture of equity (all kids deserve the best education possible)

3. Building capacity for a learning community (personal, interpersonal, organisational)

4. Developing collaborative and distributed leadership (sharing leadership with many, everyone has the possibility to lead)

5. Fostering change and renewal (action research – get the data and then take action on it: plan-act-observe-reflect)

6. Enhancing staff growth (staff helping staff, not just outside PD)

7. Building bridges and networks (deliberate, conscious, structured collaboration)” p.1

Required reading

Henri (1994)

Henri, J. (1994, Summer). Thinking Leadership: What Place Vision? School Libraries in Canada, 14, 12-14.

Reading response

“Leadership is an art that focuses upon problem solving.” para 3

“Type 4 power has received considerable press coverage under the banner of transformational leadership. Leaders are transformative when they are able to shape and focus the motives and goals of group members. Such leadership is particularly attractive because it results in personal growth through the enhancement of individual and group problem solving capacities. Transformational leadership involves a strong element of risk taking because it enables group members to demonstrate leadership and because its adoption is likely to be culture changing. The transformational leader is likely to be seen towards the rear of the band as s/he ‘pushes’ band members ever onward and upward.” para 9

This description by Henri really resonates with me as I love the idea of leadership simply (?!) being the force that facilitates others WANTING to make changes and empowering them to do so. I don’t have a clear idea of how that actually works right now, but I’m hoping it will firm up for me as this subject progresses.

“Leaders need to get out of ‘home base’ and witness what is happening in other ‘games’. Leaders need to share their knowledge and observe their peers in action. Leaders need to trade swamps.” A’ha, I think this is where our school is sinking… new leadership who are NOT in the swamp, who do NOT know what is happening in other games.

Required reading

Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2003), Sustaining leadership. Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (9) 693

Reading response

Some excellent examples of real schools and how they made long term, sustainable changes based on sharing leadership and giving all staff a stake in what their school said, did and believed.

Required reading

Lambert, L. (1998). What is leadership capacity? In Building leadership capacity in schools (pp. 1-9). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Reading response

I love the reminder that EVERYONE can be responsible for school change, not just the people in the paid leadership positions. Too often I enter a staff room full of bitching people who complain about the powers-that-be, not truly understanding that every single teacher has the *possibility* of being a change agent. The notion that all the power sits with one or two people in a school is simply not true. Of course, some paid leaders have no wish to listen to their staff and will carry on with their decisions regardless but why not at least TRY to have your voice heard? You CANNOT complain unless you have first tried to make a difference. As Lambert says on p5, shared leadership implies a shared responsibility for a shared purpose. A school’s purpose is the betterment of student’s and there is no teacher that I know who would say that they personally believe the school principal is the only one responsible for student learning.


Forum activity

What do leaders do? (in terms of observable activities)

Solicit, value and take action based on others’ ideas; facilitate teacher learning; plan-act-observe-reflect; champion their staff by believing in them, listening to them, defending them, quietly and personally challenging them.

What behaviours do they exhibit? (when leading change or responding to change)

Ability to activity listen and then take action.

What personal qualities do they possess? (inate qualities as well as those learnt through study and/or experience)

Charisma, likability, respectability, empathy, compassion, technical knowledge, being able to actively listen, the willingness to say what they do and do what they say.


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