Homework vs No Homework: A pedagogical argument

Homework has always been a debatable issue in the academe.  Of course, traditionalists would always go for it. On the other hand, contemporary educationists would rather scrap the idea of it.

Henceforth, this article will weigh the pros and cons of giving assigned tasks based on the article by Ramdass & Zimmerman (2011).

Homework and self-regulation

This collective study by Ramdass & Zimmerman (2011) looks at the correlation between homework and self-regulation.

Perhaps, there is no need to further define ‘homework’ as an extra task given to learners.  At this level, we may refer to this as a pedagogical tool assigned by teachers to students after school time. Simply, it’s like an extra school work to be done at home.

Next, self-regulation pertains to an individual’s predetermined process of organizing and utilizing knowledge and skills.  For example, self-regulatory acts may include goal setting, self-monitoring, and time management just to name a few.

Logically, these two have overlapping attributes.   In completing a task, students need to employ self-management skills.  But then, how can we justify this?

Empirical evidence on homework and self-regulation

An experiment by Stoeger and Ziegler (2008) looked into the ways elementary students performed in working on a homework.

In this scenario, 219 students participated and 17 teachers monitored them. In effect, the quality and quantity of the homework given to the students led to improvement in self-regulation.

With respect to middle and high school students, Zimmerman and Kitsantas (2005) reported several factors affecting self-regulation through homework.  Accordingly, middle school students could manage their distractions well.  Gender is also a factor as middle school girls show efficiency in completing their tasks.  Geographically, urban students show more motivation than those from the rural areas.

In college level, Kitsantas and Zimmerman (2009) revealed that longer periods of studying or doing such tasks have a significant effect on examinations in math.

To give or not to give a homework

When it comes to developing skills in self-regulation, teachers MUST be conscious enough to give relevant assigned tasks.  Definitely, the aforementioned studies establish the need for this. However, educators must be aware of the quality of tasks given to students.

In doing so, teachers should design an assigned task that:

  1. is appropriate for the student’s age and level;
  2. has clear goals and expectations communicated to students & parents; and,
  3. enhances not just skills but also positive attitudes towards learning.

Definitely, assigning tasks still depend on the nature of the student.  In the ideal setting, if a homework is designed to fit the needs and wants of the students, this could maximize learning opportunities.

Reference

Ramdass, D., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2011). Developing self-regulation skills: The important role of homework. Journal of advanced academics, 22(2), 194-218.

Myth busting educational practices for better teaching and learning

There is no single way of doing something, especially for learning’s sake.  As teachers dwell into the intensive practice of planning, certain conditions tend to be overlooked.

Likewise, some educational practices may seem acceptable for some but not for the rest.  They may be effective, but still quite questionable. Through time, these practices became ingrained in the system that they end up becoming mythical in nature.

Here are some of educational practices and principles teachers and school experts may find mythical:

Rote memorization is an ineffective way of learning.

Bloom’s taxonomy dictates that acquiring knowledge through remembering is the lowest form of learning.  From his classification, the most effective way to learn is to create and to synthesize ideas.  Hence, memorization seems to be ineffective in developing high order thinking skills.

However, in acquiring a new language, rote memorization can be effective.  Definitely, we can not discard the fact that learning through memorization can be helpful.

In a study on language acquisition by Wang et al. (1992), they found out that rote memorization can help students retain information for a longer period of time.

Again, memorization as a learning practice depends on the student’s ability and purpose.  There are certain tasks that require routine and jargons, which require memorization.

On the other hand, there are also tasks that require high-level order thinking skills.

Critical thinking skills are transferrable.

Is it possible to teach students how to be critical thinkers? Indeed, teachers could claim using several practices to train students to think critically.

They also believe that the subjects and topics lead to critical thinking development.  For example, teaching computer programming and reading comprehension may claim to develop high order thinking.

However, current research on developing critical thinking skills is still skeptic about this idea.  Critical thinking skills do not transfer according to studies by Hirsch (1996) and Mayer & Wittrock (1996).   In their studies, schools that taught critical thinking skills or used academic programs could not really produce critical students.

For example, students could not really apply mathematical concepts even when they go to the grocery or elsewhere.  What students applied were the things they could remember and feel would work instinctively.

Assertive discipline strategies are archaic educational practices that have no place in 21st-century schools.

Proponents of student-centered approaches would claim that assertive discipline damages children in the long run.  In addition, they would go as far as likening this to medieval educational practices.  For them, what schools should cultivate is an idea of students who could self-manage.  Self-management comes from self-worth and not strict adherence to rules and policies.

On the other hand, teachers and school leaders know for themselves that an assertive discipline is an effective tool.  Research may still be divided on this matter, and other teachers may still be in denial. However, responsible and mature teachers would know that assertive discipline is a must.

In a study among schools in Oregon in 1989, 78-90% of the teachers admitted that there was a positive change in student behavior after implementing strategies in assertive discipline.

Needless to say, assertive discipline does not refer to physical or verbal abuse.  It is all about helping students to be more responsible through the policies in place.  Moreover, it is also by helping students make proper choices and accept consequences of their actions.

Well, there are still loads of debatable educational practices out there.  Next time, we’ll talk about the value of tests and homework.

Reference

Hoy, Anita Woolfolk., and Wayne K. Hoy. Instructional Leadership: A Research-based Guide to Learning in Schools. Boston: Pearson, 2009. Print. pp. 1-20.

Working towards a culturally inclusive classroom where no one is left behind

Every teacher must start aspiring for a culturally inclusive classroom.  In this era where we thrive in cultural coexistence, the classroom is a good starting point.

Cultural diversity breeds cultural inclusivity.  Of course, we now live in the world where we see different beliefs as part of our lives.  Gone are the days when one could be burnt at the stake for indifference. This is the 21st century. Hence, accepting cultural differences makes up who we are now.

In effect, there is a need to be inclusive in this diverse environment.  When it comes to inclusivity, it’s all about taking everybody in.

Cultural inclusivity starts from accepting cultural differences and working on these differences for the good of all.

A culturally inclusive classroom

How do we define a culturally inclusive classroom? It’s more than just a harmony of teacher and a bunch of students from different race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and beliefs.

Firstly, we need to set the parameters of what we need to be inclusive of.  Students are different in one way or another.

Thus, this is what teachers and school leaders need to accept.  Without identifying and accepting such parameters, this won’t lead to inclusivity.

One of the parameters is the differences in learning styles.  These learning styles may emanate from the prior knowledge and skills of every student.

Next, social organizations contribute to the differences among students.  It is important to look into the family or community background of the students. Most importantly, cultural practices and values define the bulk of a multicultural classroom that requires inclusivity.

Now, if we consider and accept all these factors, we are one step towards a culturally inclusive classroom.  Then, this could help us form a culturally relevant pedagogy.

A culturally relevant pedagogy

From defining a culturally inclusive classroom, we now have to develop steps in achieving inclusivity through a culturally relevant pedagogy.

A culturally relevant pedagogy refers to educational principles that could help students achieve academic success.  Consequently, this could develop cultural competence and critical consciousness to challenge the status quo.

In this kind of set up, we can try the following practices:

  1. A range of teaching and learning ways to address different needs
  2. Working on different groupings to ensure multicultural learning
  3. Directly teaching classroom procedures that are culturally sensitive
  4. Identifying different behaviors of the students and how to address them
  5. Knowing and celebrating customs and traditions of students
  6. Detecting racist messages

Hopefully, with these ways, teachers could promote cultural inclusiveness in their classrooms.

The potentials of culturally inclusive classrooms

Racism stems not from extreme differences but from ignorance.  Accordingly, classrooms could help bridge the gap on this issue.

Admittingly, racism breeds other school and social issues like bullying and injustice. Hence, there is a need for an education system to foster values that could address these issues.

Certainly, words are not enough to address racial issues.  We just can’t say “No to racism” and expect the world to change overnight.  Thus, this must start with clear actions expressed and practiced in a culturally inclusive environment.

Aside from addressing racial issues, the learning opportunities in a culturally diverse environment are limitless.  If we open up to learning directly from other people with their different perspectives, we could establish connections among the different realities around us.

Eventually, culturally inclusive classrooms may unlock the gates of knowledge and open up vast learning opportunities without boundaries.

Reference

Hoy, Anita Woolfolk, and Wayne K. Hoy. Instructional Leadership: A Research-based Guide to Learning in Schools. Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print.

Embracing and evaluating professional learning community in schools

Being a teacher does not exempt one from the learning process. Following an obvious dichotomous logic, teaching will not take place if there is no learning involved. Instead, this could be achieved through a professional learning community.

As educators, we tend to forget the essence of our own learning. Usually, our personal and professional baggage bog us down.

In fact, social change will not take place if we become so content. Sticking to status quo of acquiring knowledge and skills won’t  help either.

In this journey of meaningful change in the education system, we need to reflect on the value and pitfalls of professional learning communities (PLC).

Working on a Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Professional Learning Community (PLC) offers promising ideals of change in the education system. In line with Tri-level reform and the idea of systems learning for educational change, PLCs strive to achieve an environment of collaboration.

It goes by the purpose of having various carefully planned strategies.  In any case, this leads to staff development and system improvement (Fullan, 1997; Harris and Jones, 2010).

Although open for scrutiny, properly implemented PLCs lead to more motivated teachers who perform effectively in and out of the classroom (Huffman and Jacobson, 2003 in Harris and Jones, 2010).

On the other hand, Fullan (2007) looks at PLCs as a “flawed change theory”.  Despite being a promising espoused theory of action, the theory in use ends up being superficial, individualistic and school-centric.

Similar to any proposition for change, if PLCs are properly implemented and sincerely adhered to, then this would yield meaningful and long-term changes not just in the schools but in the system.

 PLC’s in schools

Dr. Jose Manuel Villarreal, who was then Senior Director of San Diego County Office of Education, had a talk on Building Professional Learning Communities. His idea of PLCs centered on ideas of reflective organization, self-talk or professional language, a culture of collaboration and teacher leadership.

Learning walks as a PLC opportunity

The ‘learning walks’ system is one of the many ways to improve visibility and guidance for all teachers.   Learning walks is a classroom observation strategy in which school leaders or principals literally walk around the school and observe teaching practices as they happen spontaneously (Finch, 2010).

Superficially, this strategy may seem as a euphemism for monitoring teacher’s activities and ensuring security protocols. Worse, others may deem this as an invasion of teachers’ and students’ space.

However, if the school leaders enlighten the  receivers of ‘learning walks’ of the value and sincerity of this strategy, then change in perception may lead to positive impact.

With this, is there a prescribed timeframe to evaluate the impact of a program in an educational system?

Evaluating PLCs

Taking into account these two contexts, PLCs could provide a good foundation for school reforms if strategically implemented and collaboratively accepted.

Needless to say, the initiative for genuine PLC must come from a charismatic, visionary, sincere, and capable leader.  In effect, this leader could build the grounds for this change by making the teachers understand the need for such actions and by directing the flow of this “double-loop learning” process. Perhaps, to sustain the momentum and promises of progressive change by PLCs, school

Perhaps, school leaders and teachers must dig deep into the core of PLCs.  This helps sustain the momentum and promises of progressive change by PLCs.  The school must look at this as a way to transform the culture of the community through motivation, contextualisation, evaluation, and system engagement (Fullan, 2007, p. 8).

The future of professional learning community

In the same way that schools in Wales operated its PLCs well (Harris and Jones, 2010), it could be an alternative that other schools could replicate this success.  Schools could considered and later on evaluate the following steps in adopting PLCs in this particular school setting:

  1. Schools should institutionalize PLCs and not just concentrate on one department. Departments should also learn from each other.
  2. There must be a clear policy framework  in place with a pilot PLC program covering achievable agreed goals, and grounds.
  3. Evaluation should include a regular collection of evidence from the piloting of the PLC programs. For example, learning walks, collaborative learning, learner engagement could serve as factors. The community should regularly address commendable outcomes.
  4. Establish networks with other international schools within the district or region.
  5. Engage in global learning by having online links with international schools in other countries.

PLC offers idealistic conditions for educational change, which some might misconstrue as messianic especially those clamouring for true, long-term reforms.

Schools can put to test the feasibility of these PLC programmes when implemented and evaluated consistently.

Systems should always be open to learning. Thus,  PLCs must usher in long-term reforms.  Through collaborative, interconnected, and transformative learning among teachers, administrators and the system itself could lead to better learning.

Crazy classroom ideas worth tinkering in the 21st century

The 21st-century opens up the pandora’s box to crazy classroom ideas.  Despite the fact that the education system still revolves around traditionalist ideals, some out-of-this-world thoughts could be worth trying.

Around the world, teachers are constantly searching for ways to innovate in order to keep the students engaged.  Although a lot of these cool and creative practices have been circulating on the internet, there are still some that haven’t got through the mainstream.

Generally, the craziest ideas that have turned around schools are those that have something to do with the existing technology.  Education has continuously been embracing technology and all its promises.

Nowadays, there is always an app or a software for any classroom activity.  For example, Kahoot makes educational games more creative and competitive.  Edmodo allows connectivity and productivity.  Whereas, Padlet makes collaborative discussions more interesting and surprising due to anonymity.

However, crazy classroom ideas are not just all about maximizing technology.   Craziness could be something beyond extraordinary, non-traditional, or even provocative.

Crazy classroom of games

What if we dedicate 80% of classroom time to playing games?

Some pedagogical traditionalists would say that there needs to be a balance between student talk time and teacher talk time. On the other hand, progressivists may argue for longer student talk time.

By following this progressivist thinking, why not replace the talk time with game time?

Games help develop multiple learning skills depending on its focus and approach. A clear example of this is how PE teachers help students learn a particular sport.  They spend more time in the gym than in the classroom to learn to play basketball.  Thus, they acquire the skills by playing the sport most of the time.

Can we apply this in other classes? Yes, of course.

For an instance, students may play with word games or board games like Scrabble or Taboo, which takes at least 30 minutes, to improve vocabulary.  Classroom competitive math quiz games can replace the usual classroom drills.

However, traditionalists will always say ‘nay’ to this idea, for they are still in the mindset of having more teacher talk time as an effective way fo teaching.

The power of choice

Most of the time, or even all the time, teachers decide what to teach.  If not the teachers, the principals or districts do so.

Who are the ones learning? Is it the teachers or students? Then, why not let the students decide what they want to learn?

Certainly, in a natural world, human beings thrive when they live according to their free will.  Likewise, if schools help the students in developing capabilities to exercise their free will, things might change.

Progressivist countries like Finland have already started giving the kids more liberty by converting strict study time to play time.  In addition, some private schools in the US and Germany try a new concept of allowing students to choose their subjects.

On the contrary, the world is still under the mercy of exams. Standardized exams chain students and systems.

Instead of allowing the freedom of choice, school systems teach what board exams want.

Naturally, human beings do well when doing things according to their choice.  We enjoy the food we like to eat.  Teachers perform well in their field of expertise. Students study for their favorite subject.

Why can’t students study what they want?

Don’t teach at all!

Here’s the craziest idea of them all. Just don’t teach.

The iPad can make kids hooked for ages. YouTube has all the lectures. Google knows more than even the best teacher you have.

Students do not need teachers.  They need life coaches.

With all these, teachers should step up and do more than regurgitating what students can find online.  Moreover, teachers should stop acting like iPads and harbor technology as a go-to when it comes to taming students.

Teachers must strive to be LIFE COACHES.  As a life coach, an English teacher won’t just talk about Shakespeare, but about the value of love.  A maths teacher will never scare any student in Algebra with all the big numbers but use arithmetics in earning money selling lemonade.

As a final thought, these crazy classroom ideas still don’t go beyond the boundaries of insanity.  We don’t expect the teachers to teach naked or students to go berserk.  Sometimes, we just need craziness to change an old system.

Receiving feedback to improve teaching and learning

Receiving feedback from students is one of the most effective and genuine ways for teachers to improve their practices.

As teachers, it should always be a personal mantra to never settle for what’s good but to continuously improve one’s craft.  In doing so, setting up an effective and efficient evaluation system could pave the way to improve teaching and learning.

receiving feedback from students

Receiving feedback from students

Students’ feedback serves as a valuable tool.   Due to the fact that they are the ones who are at the receiving end, students experience the full process of teaching and learning in every single session.

Thus, it’s always about looking at feedback constructively and filtering comments from students to maximize the best learning practices suitable for the students.

For an instance, if students feel that a writing activity gets tedious, a teacher may modify a writing reflection task.  In effect, instead of writing a 500-word essay individually, they just may write it collaboratively or in just 350 words.

Of course, good feedback is worth keeping and improving. Knowing what the students prefer would enable teachers to develop plans in such a way that it could hit the students’ interests and preferences.

Likewise, by knowing what they don’t like, teachers could modify the activity next time and compromise with them so that they could still develop certain skills without straining them that much.

Feedback instruments for students

Student evaluation may come in oral or written. Teachers may gather information from written reflection and some oral or casual comments from students.

For example,  value-guided reflection writing may be one form of acquiring feedback. In this exercise, students get to write a short, standard essay of at least 150 words to express what they learned and how to improve their learning experience.

In addition to reflection activities,  teachers could ask students to do the following:

  1. Think Logs. These are just short reflections and points for reflection students should write in a notebook.
  2. Exit Posts. On a board near the door, teachers may ask students to post whatever they think about the session before they leave the room. A simple code scheme like smileys or ticks could determine how they liked the class. If a student puts a sad face, the teacher may have to ask the student how to help him/her.
  3. Mind map/interactive reflections. Reflections may come in different forms like mind maps, video, PowerPoint, blogs, audio recording or even a sketch.

Other than that, teachers could also conduct formal self-evaluations and interviews to gauge student feedback. Students may fill in an evaluation sheet at the end of a particular unit. Perhaps, teachers could have a more holistic perspective on the students’ learning and perspectives from this exercise.

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.

Turning the tales of turnaround schools to reality

The case of turnaround schools is like a fairy tale of schools.  However, in this Cinderella story, the miracle happens in the reality of schools all over the world.

Transforming a school from low to high performing is not an impossible feat. It is an undertaking of sheer will power and impressive organizational skills.

the case of turnaround schools

The case of low-performing schools

Describing the performance of a school requires certain standards. Obviously, these standards are set by certain boards.  On the other hand, these could be as simple as logical discretion.

To be more objective, student achievement usually quantifies a school’s performance.  Based on grades attained by students, these could be from internal or external examination.  Any school can simply claim high performance according to internally assessed work.  However, through standardized exams, schools get to establish themselves as high-performing schools due to impressive results.

For example, schools from Shanghai and Singapore have established themselves as top schools based on PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results in reading, maths, and science.

In the United States, proficiency tests enable assessors to determine the performance of a school and even a district.

Aside from grades, school performance based on student achievement also includes graduation rates and the ability of the students to go to colleges or universities.

On top of these quantitative factors, the quality of infrastructure and instructional practices come into play.

Logically, low performing schools usually score below the acceptable standards in all or most of these factors.

The case of turnaround schools

The study of Klugman et al. (2015) on turnaround schools in Illinois brings this ugly duckling tale into reality.  In 2013, the University of Chicago conducted a statewide survey involving school stakeholders.  The data from this research lead to findings on turning low to high performing schools.

learning in turnaround schools

Firstly, socio-economically disadvantaged communities and rural schools lack the support system they need.  In effect, these schools are at risk of lower student outcomes.

Now, what should be done to these schools?

Due to this inadequacy, providing the essential support system could provide a chance for these schools to transform.  More importantly, the following essential support factors should be considered:

  1. Effective leadership
  2. Collaborative teachers
  3. Involved families
  4. Supportive environment
  5. Ambitious instruction

If schools could look into these factors, then change may take place.  Perhaps, a strong support system could lead to better student outcomes.  Therefore, school leaders and district supervisors must meet these essential supports to improve the system.

Finally, current studies on school improvement and leadership establish the correlation between the two.  Hence, school transformation would require supportive leadership that fosters strong, effective instructional principles and practices.

References

Klugman, J., Gordon, M. F., Sebring, P. B., & Sporte, S. E. (2015). A first look at the 5Essentials in Illinois schools. RESEARCH SUMMARY.

Trump’s Twitter Leadership versus the Leaders’ Rulebooks

In just two weeks into his presidency, Trump has started to rewrite the rulebooks of leadership. Well, this new paradigm revolves around this new concept of Twitter Leadership with Trump at its helm.

Pundits and commoners have been very vocal about Trump’s leadership style. Obviously, there are always two sides to a coin.

Evaluating Trump’s leadership as the 45th US president needs a non-political context.

Feasibly, this might sound absurd. But, as Trump’s words and actions have been highly political in nature, we can’t be too redundant in our analysis.

Twitter Leadership in action

 Trump’s ‘Twitter Leadership’

First, we need to define what this ‘Twitter Leadership’ is. No rulebook on leadership has ever coined this term, so let REEDEL be the first. There is no need to complicate the obvious. Through Twitter, Trump built the momentum of his campaign. Eventually, through Twitter, Trump has stamped his mark as the US president in the past two weeks.

Definitely, @realDonaldTrump has made waves not just in the US but also as far as Twitter’s reach. From his Great Wall and Muslim Ban tweets, Trump has moved the political arena from the Lincoln Memorial to the Twitter-sphere.

Pun aside; he’s got 23.8M followers. That’s more than enough to define a ‘leader’.

On a more serious note, is that enough to define him as a ‘real leader’ according to the rulebooks of leadership?

Trait Leadership and Trump

Proponents of trait leadership believe that a leader is born not made. One of them is Stephen Zaccaro (2007), who believes in leadership skills as inherent attitudes and behaviors.

Zaccaro’s model includes the following attributes:

  1. Personality
  2. Cognitive Abilities
  3. Motives and Values
  4. Social Appraisal Skills
  5. Problem Solving Skills
  6. Expertise/Tacit Knowledge

More importantly, Zaccaro (2007) noted that leadership effectiveness comes from the combination of these traits rather than ‘independent contribution of multiple traits.’

Now, if we are to juxtapose these with Trump, we can say that he has all these, but the quality remains to be in question.

Let’s just take three of the six attributes by asking these questions:

  1. If he has a ‘good personality’, would he openly use crude expressions?
  2. Well, if he has high cognitive abilities, would he refuse to accept the facts especially the numbers during his inauguration?
  3. If he has such ‘values’, could he think of other policies aside from banning Muslims?

Henceforth, this closes Trump’s chances of falling under a ‘Trait Leader’.

Transactional Leadership and Trump

Perhaps, Trump has high chances of falling under this category. Besides, transactional leadership is the closely relevant to management—a top-down approach for easy maintenance.

For this reason, basic assumption dictates how Trump fits in this category as a business mogul.

However, let’s take a closer look at one of the models as proposed by Bernard Bass (1981), which can be summarized in three points:

  1. Laissez-faire: abdicates responsibilities/delegates/assigns
  2. Management by exception: corrections and punishment
  3. Contingent reward: promises rewards for good performance

Again, it’s the combination of these three that makes a good transactional leader, which brings positive impact to an organization. Does Trump make the cut?

Well, he has abdicated responsibilities to his family, son-in-law, and even Steve Bannon.

In addition, he has fired Sally Yate, the acting attorney general, for “refusing to enforce a legal order”.

Unfortunately, Trump has not promised any rewards yet—just walls and bans.

The buck stops there for Trump and Transactional Leadership.

Transformational Leadership and Trump

A transformational leader is usually associated with the word ‘charisma’. Once again, people can safely assume that by being a formal reality show host, Trump could be a transformational leader.

Nevertheless, let’s benchmark Trump against Bass’ model of transformational leadership. Bass (1990) does not box a transformational leader in a charismatic brand.

Consequently, for him, superior leader performance comes when a leader creates awareness of the mission and allows their follower to go beyond.

Likewise, Bass’ Transformational Leader goes by these traits:

  1. Charisma: Provides vision and sense of mission
  2. Inspiration: Communicates high expectations
  3. Intellectual Stimulation: Promotes intelligence
  4. Individualized Consideration: Treats every person respectfully

Given the abovementioned traits, it’s definitely a NO for all for Mr. President.

Twitter Leadership in full swing!

Twitter Leadership and Trump

With all three major leadership theories squeezed out, what’s left for Mr. Donald J. Trump?

Definitely, he does not fit in any of the three mainstream leadership ideals because he is Trump. He does not follow the Bible because he creates his own canon of alternative facts.

Hence, we propose a theory: the Twitter Leadership. It does not fall in any of the three leadership models, although it has some traces of transactional leadership.

In addition to the earlier definition of Twitter Leadership, this theory can be simply explained by the following:

  1. Simplistic: Vision and policies must fit in 140 characters.
  2. Social Media Driven: The official medium of communication and source of information devoid of fake news
  3. Self-promoting: The leader should be at the center of everything.

Arguments aside, @realDonaldTrump fits this model perfectly.

As a challenge to future researchers in this colorful field of leadership, Trump is the perfect guinea pig for this paradigm shift.

How effective is Twitter Leadership? We will find out in the next four years.

Top 5 reasons why teachers quit international schools and how to deal with it

In this fast paced world, teachers quit international schools for a hundred and one reasons. The departure of a teacher from a school is part of how human resource in an organization function. Indeed, it is a very personal decision too.

People come; people go. However, if there is a significant number of teachers leaving a school, the resultant impact is potentially destructive.

A study by Glenn Odland and Mary Ruzicka (2009) has deemed that a moderate turnover in a school is healthy. But, the recent statistics shows that teacher turnover percentages are in a pessimistic range. A high turnover of school teachers is not what we are after for. What are the reasons for this trend?

funny look at why teachers quit international schools

Reason 1: Causal factors related to administrative leadership and why teachers quit international schools

The central ideas of statement categorized to administrative leadership are:

  • Communication between senior management and faculty
  • Support from principal and senior management
  • Teacher involvement in decision-making

Support from the administrative level of the school and the involvement of the teachers in decision-making greatly affect the turnover of teachers.

With an autocratic system being practiced in the school, together with the culture which lacks appreciation, administrative leadership is a clear indicator why teachers quit their job.

Reason 2: Compensation package

The compensation package differs from one school to another. In effect, the school which provides a low compensation package to the teachers induces a large turnover of teachers.

Some teachers complain that the salary scheme they were on was insufficient for them to cover the living cost.

Reason 3: Personal circumstances why teachers quit international schools

Personal circumstances and teacher mobility are often correlated factors when teachers quit international schools. Similarly, personal factors are influential enough to contribute to why teachers quit international schools.

These factors are from individual preferences, but the most common ones include the following: the desire to explore new cultures and countries; boredom and exhaustion; and, family matters.

Reason 4: Issues stemming from private ownership

International schools are often highly-independent profit-based organizations. Some studies suggested that the leading cause of teacher turnover in international schools is governance issue in the school.

The dictatorial policies by the owner of the school, like micro-managing the school with poor resources and humongous profit, have caused great dissatisfaction among teachers. Hence, this has become the reason of departure of the teachers.

Reason 5: Misrepresentation during recruitment

This factor involves the perceptions of teachers on how the management treated them during the recruitment phase.  For example, teachers revealed discrepancies between “what they were told in interview” and “the real-life situation”.

In addition, the school did not fulfill the promises and the offerings written in the contracts. Therefore, teachers feel a huge deal of misrepresentation in the school’s situation, and this has caused them to leave.

What should international schools do?

Despite the factor of personal circumstances, the administrative level personnel is the one who bears the most crucial role in combating the issue.

They should provide necessary support to teachers. Other than that, they should also build more bridges and destroy walls between the administrative level and the teachers.

By doing so, opportunities involving decision-making should come with adequate and effective communication.

Furthermore, the school must give an accurate representation of EVERYTHING in the process of recruiting teachers.  This is to minimize conflict and misunderstanding between the school and the newly-recruited teachers.

Moreover, the study by Odland and Ruzicka (2009) has also suggested that the school can carry out interviews with all teachers who are resigning. Such information and data from these teachers are valuable to address the serious problem of why teachers quit school.

With respect to the salary, compensation must be reasonable in accordance with a teacher’s home country and the living cost in the host country.

The financial statements and budgetary decision-making procedures of a school should be transparent and accountable to build the trust and confidence among teachers.

In effect, teachers who have clear comprehension on important school matters will have less doubt and more trust to the school.

Perhaps, a supportive, democratic, trustworthy and transparent school administrative leader will greatly help in reducing teacher turnover rate.  They must share responsibilities and encourage involvement in decision-making, without neglecting the provision of reasonable compensation to the teachers.

 

Reference:

Odland, G., & Ruzicka, M. (2009). An investigation into teacher turnover in international schools. Journal of Research in International Education, 8(1), 5-29.