Powersharing in Education

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Course Code: EDEA 5313
Course Title: Leadership and School Improvement
Instructor: Dr. Canute Thompson
Group Members
Deidre Cooper
Maureen Farquharson

Question # 2
What are some of the challenges and opportunities that are presented or are likely to be presented by attempts to deepen and widen power sharing in schools? What approaches do you think should be taken to effectively accomplish this goal?

According to Timothy D. Sisk, “power sharing is a term used to describe a system of governance in which all major segments of society are provided a permanent share of power; this system is often contrasted with government vs. opposition systems in which ruling coalitions rotate among various social groups over time. It is particularly used in societies divided by deep ethnic, racial or religious differences as a potential solution.” In the organizational context, power-sharing is defined as “sharing practices and established rules and roles that result in broad-based controlling or leading”. (http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/democracy/empo.html). It has been used in different businesses and organizations to guarantee that the interests of all in the organization are taken into consideration. Educational success requires not only capital and technological improvements, but also changes in the way human relations are managed. Schools today demand an alternative approach to leadership, one which exemplifies the ability to respond to challenges and issues that necessitate new learning, new behaviours and new organizational structures. Power sharing acknowledges that the work of leading and managing schools involves multiple individuals – not just those with formally designated leadership and management positions but also individuals without such designations.

As we explore leadership behaviours of the effective principal, power sharing becomes a major concern. In this context, we can view power sharing as the process by which administrators share authority and responsibility with teachers, and a just division of roles and accountability for school activities. This paper seeks to identify some challenges and opportunities that are likely to be presented by attempts to deepen and widen power sharing in schools. Additionally, we will highlight some approaches that we deem effectual in the achievement of this goal.

Challenges of Implementing Power Sharing
In an attempt to introduce power sharing within an organization many challenges may be encountered: * Courage to share leadership

* According to Harry Bernstein, author of the article ‘School Bosses Impeding Power Sharing’, “giving power to one's subordinates is never easy”. This statement is true but a leader must have the desire to share leadership. For example within the school system, the principal must be willing to relinquish some power without fear of failure. He or she must develop trust in the staff and must be willing to take the potential risk of what may result when authority and responsibility are shared with teachers. The reality is, the principal is accountable for the success or failure of the school regardless if power is shared or not. Thus, this could bring about resistance from the principal to share power.

* Skill in selecting leaders

* It requires special skills to identify persons with in a system that are qualified to take on specific leadership roles. It would be ineffective to select a teacher with limited interpersonal skills to be in charge of activities to foster parental involvement.

* Commitment of leaders

* While an organization should have members that share the same vision it is possible that individuals may allow their personal values and beliefs to interfere with organizational goals. Therefore, persons selected as leaders may not commit fully to the specific task they have been given. * Teacher Burn-out

* As sited in the article Teacher Burnout, Maslach and Jackson...
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