Chracteristics of Effective School Principals

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Characteristics of Effective School Principals Lokman Mohd Tahir; Hamdan Said Faculty of Education Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, 81310, Johore. Hamidon A. Rahman Institut Aminuddin Baki, 69000, Sri Layang, Genting Highlands Abstract Researchers in the area of principalship have concluded that schools are effectively good as their principals. Despite some influential work of the effective schools research, Malaysians school principals are urged by the our former Directors General of Education, Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat to lead the schools with effective leadership to ensure that the bearing and tone of the schools are implemented successfully aligned with students’ needs, national priorities and vision. Being as the most powerful and influential individual in schools, the principal has been the focus of discussion in the initiatives to increase the effective and quality of our schools. With the wide array of research about the effective characteristics of school principals, various models have been introduced and tested to identify the most significant applicable effective characteristics for our multicultural ethics-based schools. This study was introduced as part of a study to determine, describe and identify the attributes of effective characteristics of school principals through the eyes and responses of the school principals and their teachers. Specifically, this pragmatic research approach was designed in answering the following questions: what are the ideal characteristics that effective school principals must possess?; what excellent leadership styles that influenced teachers commitment to the schools. The participants for this study were 35 principals and 1,705 teachers in the state of Johore from five types of schools namely the technical and vocational schools, religious schools, the sport school, boarding schools and normal schools. In addition, five school principals and a senior school principal were interviewed to provide in-depth perspectives about the ideal characteristics of effective schools principals. The finding and implications of this study express fruitful evidence that more qualified and experienced teachers should be selected as school principals while personal characteristics and leadership attributes of school principals have significant impacts towards improving teachers’ commitment.

Introduction The introduction of National Educational Blueprint namely Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan marked the significant national mission and vision towards more knowledgeable, skillful, ethical, responsible and proactive Malaysians as our future workforce. In realizing the national mission, the role of school principals is considered as the first and foremost important person in ensuring the effectiveness of the school and efficiency in running the school (Rahimah 2004). The statement remarks the accountability of the principals in managing school as an educational institution in

nurturing students, instilling the values of ancestors while at the same time adjusting the demands of the present that is our mission and National Education Philosophy. Researchers in the area of principalship concluded that schools are effectively good as their principals. Despite some influential work of the effective schools research, Malaysians school principals are urged by our former Director General of Education, Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat (2001) to lead the schools with effective leadership to ensure that the bearing and tone of the schools are implemented successfully aligned with students’ needs, national priorities and vision (Amer and Khuan, 2004). Being the most powerful and influential individual in schools, the principal has been the focus of discussion in the initiatives to increase the effectiveness and quality of our schools. Recent studies point to significant correlation between the effective principals and leadership with school effectiveness and achievements (Williams 2008; Leithwood et al. 2006;...
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