Working towards educational change through sound leadership

Evolution is a process driven by change.

The state we are in will never be a reality without the prior changes that have taken place throughout the course of history that has an effect on our individuality.

This is just one of the countless ways to define the abstraction of change. To say that ‘change’ has a definitive definition undermines the existence of this notion. Change is such a powerful driving force that everything in this realm operates under it.

change defined by politics

Contextualising Change

A general understanding of the notion of change needs to be put in place before probing deeper into a more contextual appreciation of this concept. Change is an “emotional process.” It is transformational and dynamic.

Although it can be argued that there is no improvement without change, not all changes lead to improvement. Being a process, change takes time and needs time. Hence, it is a journey that is best explored alongside the varying responses and effects that come with it.

To better understand this idea, Kritsonis (2005) compared five theories of change in claiming that “change is a real phenomenon.”

It is apparent that all theories generally revolve around factors leading to outcomes.

In explaining the phenomenon of change, Lewin’s three-step change theory captures the core of change as a rational process. This refers to breaking the status-quo, allowing further development, and managing sustainability (Lewin, 1951 in Kritsonis, 2005).

Whether one sees it from a rational or emotional perspective, change comes in different forms shaped by time and the drive to go beyond the norms.

Educational change

Considering that change covers a broad spectrum, it is imperative to narrow it down in the context of education.

From a sociological point of view, education exists as society’s primary institution. Communist theorist Karl Marx believes that the society needs to establish education [and propaganda] first to provide guidance and improve the lives of the people (Kellner, 2006).

education needs social change

In effect, we need to focus on the roles of educators in this change process. Due to obvious reasons, they share baseline perspectives that initially spark ideas, passion, and the need for changes whether it is of a small scale or a bigger scale (Keane, 2015).

Henceforth, the need to focus on developing and harnessing the potential of educators to be catalysts of change must be reinforced through further research.

Even though this sounds obvious in some societies, it is still highly debatable. Most countries throughout the world have low regards of the power that educators could bring forth in social development.

Despite the social changes and promising development it could bring, it is disheartening that education seems to be the lowest priorities in less economically developed countries (LEDC’s) and the bottom range of more economically developed countries (MEDC).

Leadership and educational change

Perhaps, the quantity and quality of change agents in these regions lead to deficiency of initiative in educational change in LEDC’s and some MEDC’s.

Here comes the idea of having a strong LEADER different from a manager or an administrator.

With the emerging theoretical framework governing different notions and styles of leaderships, one has to wonder whether these modern and continuously developed styles of leadership happen in the LEDCs.

It is easy to define an ideal form of leadership or to list 20 or so ways of effective leadership, but to put theory into practice is another part of the discussion.

Having all these leadership dogmas in place, why is it difficult to replicate success of educational change and leadership? Although it sounds so good to be true, why are these ideals too far from reality?

We might be asking for heavens to materialise on earth. However, if everybody follows instructional leadership ideals coined by Fullan, Leithwood, Hallinger, and Harris , then all of us would be enjoying the euphoria of utopia.

“Every person [in this room] has influence more than formal leaders.”

Titles do not equate to leadership. As such, titles without vision or action are meaningless in the field of education where we need genuine reforms.

clamour for change in schools

From ideas to reality

The problem with leaders these days is that they end up so engulfed by their ego that they forget the basics of humanity: compassion.

Numerous key performance indices drive educational “leaders” away from reality. In effect, they fail to make people or even themselves understand change.

We are missing the point when we rationalise change with numbers and letters. Social change is an “emotional process” dealing with human actions and attitudes.

With that, leaders should have a clear vision to help shape the future of education. In addition,  leaders must inculcate a strong desire to inspire schools to be the best they could be.

To fully grasp the idea of educational change as a process, one needs a clear idea of reality. Leaders must scrutinise the ideals set for change and leadership.

History has always been turning the wheels of educational change.

It is a journey of learning. We need to look back at the changes in the past.  In the end,  we could modify the future of education through sound leadership.



Keane, Lorna. (2015, April 20). Why Educators are the Driving Force of Change in Education. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from

Kellner, D. (2006). Marxian Perspectives on Educational Philosophy: From Classical Marxism to Critical Pedagogy.

Kritsonis, A. (2005). Comparison of change theories. International journal of scholarly academic intellectual diversity, 8(1), 1-7.

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