Working on educational change through leadership (repost)

Evolution of schools is a process driven by educational change. The state we are in will never be a reality without the prior changes throughout the course of history affecting our individuality.

This is just one of the countless ways to define the abstraction of change.  After all, to say that ‘change’ has a definitive definition undermines the existence of this notion.

Hence, enacting change is such a powerful driving force. Everything in this realm operates under it.

educational change like an orchestra

The concept of change

A general understanding of the notion of change needs to be in place. Before probing deeper, there must be a more contextual appreciation of this concept.

Although the definition of change comes in more than a million ways,  change is an “emotional process” that is transformational and dynamic. Accordingly, there is no improvement without change. Therefore, one should not misconstrue that all changes lead to improvement.

Being a process, change takes time and needs time. Certainly, it is a journey that 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.”  Clearly then, all theories generally revolve around factors leading to outcomes in explaining the phenomenon of change.

For an instance, it is Lewin’s three-step change theory that captures the core of change.  Lewin defines change as a rational process 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 and transforming societies

 

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 can be seen as a primary institution in the formation of societies. Social theorist Karl Marx believes that education [and propaganda] should be established first to provide guidance and improve the lives of the people (Kellner, 2006).

In effect, the focus of this educational change leads to the educators who will always be the people behind this institution of change.

Due to obvious reasons, they share baseline perspectives that initially spark ideas, passion, and the need for changes whether it is a small scale or a bigger scale (Keane, 2015).

Henceforth, further research needs to focus on developing and harnessing the potential of educators to be catalysts of change.  Even though this is an obvious matter in some societies, it is still highly debatable that 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) like my home country.

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

Here comes the idea of having a strong LEADER, which is not just a mere manager or an administrator.

educational change leadership challenge

Educational change and leadership

The emerging theoretical framework governs different notions and styles of leaderships.  One has to wonder whether LEDC’s propagate, address, and evaluate these modern and continuously developed styles of leadership.

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 the success of educational change and leadership? Although it sounds so good to be true, why can’t these governing bodies translate these ideal perspectives into reality?

One might be asking for heavens to materialize on earth.  However, if instructional leadership turn into reality, then we all would be enjoying the euphoria of utopia.

Alma Harris, a celebrated guru in educational leadership, noted, “Every person [in this room] has influence more than formal leaders.”

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

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

Numerous key performance indices drive educational leaders that they fail to make people or even themselves understand change.

We are missing the point when we rationalize change with numbers and letters.  In reality, social change is an “emotional process” dealing with human actions and attitudes.

Final thoughts

Beyond the call of positions or titles, a clear vision could help shape the future of our students.  This could then lead to the transformation of the school system. With a strong desire to inspire students to be the best they could be, every educator could transform this system.  Needless to say, a bureaucrat who clings on to his or her title only do so little.

We have to fully grasp the idea of educational change as a process. One needs an intense immersion in reality to scrutinize the ideal prospects for change and leadership.

The education system is continuously evolving dating back even before the conception of history. It is a journey of learning to look back at the changes in the past.  From here, we could see how we could modify the future of education through sound leadership.

References

Keane, Lorna. (2015, April 20). Why Educators are the Driving Force of Change in Education. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-educators-driving-force-change-education-lorna-keane

 

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.

The problem of an outdated education system: A commentary

When you dispose of rubbish improperly, they just pile up until they form a mountain of rubbish.   This is the problem of an outdated education system.

It might be the 21st century, but schools still have that Victorian Era vibe in them.

Through the years, the intention of improving systems of education around the world has always been there.  However, the big problem lies in how these improvements become part of our reality.

Education as a natural privilege beyond rights

Idealists will always harp on the innate nature of education as a privilege for all and the responsibility of those who can provide.  Education must always be for all.

Most noteworthy of all, everyone has the right to proper education.  To learn the tricks of life is what education ought to be. Therefore, here lies the biggest problem of education.

The denaturalization of education

Denaturalization is the process of taking away the natural aspects of a phenomenon by encasing it in a box of mechanical standards. To illustrate this, as soon as a mother or father teaches a baby to talk or walk, that’s the first sign of education.

In effect, as the baby grows up, parents pass on the social responsibility of sending their child to school.

By this time, parents detach themselves from teaching their child.  They entrust them to the system that institutionalizes education. Hence, the primary essence of education gets lost.

Institutionalizing the education system

To add more insult to injury, bigger systems use education to function under their wings.  When schools start serving an institution (i.e. government, religion, private companies), it takes away the learning power of a student.  Thus, this converts the student into a mere mechanical product shaped in the nature of an institution the school serves.

An individual’s capabilities are sacrificed and replaced by a collective knowledge and standardized abilities.  It would have been helpful if these lead to genuine life-skills development.  On the contrary, the progress leads to satisfying institutionalized standards like tests and certifications.

On a final note, education itself becomes a problem as it defeats its primary nature and purpose.  Schools must educate children for them to learn what they need and what they want.  It is not for the school or any institution to purely decide on what individuals need and want.

Learning and the learners are the main thrust of education and NOT the self-serving intentions of institutions.

Therefore, it’s time to clean up this mess and go back to the basics.