School Administration & Supervision

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Introduction to School Administration and Supervision

Principals play a vital role in setting the direction for successful schools but productive leadership depends heavily on its fit with the social and organizational context in which it is exercised. They (the principals) are the primary catalysts for creating a lasting foundation for learning, for driving school and student performance, and for shaping the long term impact of schools’ improvement efforts.

You have been appointed as the new principal at your school. You are frustrated by the current environment and feel the need to make some drastic changes. Your superiors expect improvement; the school needs change and you need a plan. How will you motivate and inspire your teachers and school personnel to engage in a new way of thinking and redefine the school culture so that it can sustain nothing less than excellence in academic achievement?

Motivation refers to the forces either within or external to a person that arouse enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action. (Richard L. Daft, Management 7th Edition, 2005) As a principal you would need to motivate your teachers. As the definition stated that it arouses enthusiasm in a person. There are some ways in which you need to cultivate the passion for change. Rosabeth Moss Kantor (1998) stated that People hate change when it is someone else's plan, when it is imposed on them, when they are told what to do and exactly how they must do it, when they are threatened with punishment if they don't do it. People love change when it is shaped by them, when they are in control of it, when it is their chance to make a difference. In fact, then they don't even call it 'change' -- it's a project, a venture, a dream come to life. It's their passion turned into a professional pursuit. (p.176) As the Principal you need to discover the things your people really care about, and see how the change can connect with their goals. That means making sure to know more about people than simply their teaching assignment or organizational role, and to conduct lots of conversations about hopes and aspirations. As well as not overselling the opportunities while downplaying the dangers. No one will believe you if you were to do this. At its heart, restructuring is a change process. It requires substantial organizational transformations that differ from the minor, incremental changes that suffice to help already good schools improve. The literature on school change (e.g., Hassel et al., 2006; Reinventing Education, 2002) suggests that the following are necessary for needed changes to be successful: As a principal when initiating this change you should have a clear vision. What will the school look like when the restructuring process is completed? The Principal needs to be an empowered leader, a change agent, who can maintain a focus on the vision, motivate members of the school community, plan, communicate, and persist in keeping the change process on track. There should be improvement in teams, and the Principal works with the team leader to create improvement plans and obtain input from and communicate with all members of the school community. Involvement of the whole school community: staff, ancillary staff, parents, community members, and students; in particular, soliciting input and keeping lines of communication open. As a Principal small, “quick wins” which are relatively small, simple changes that have large, quick payoffs provide the momentum for more difficult changes. As a Principal you need to be honest in all your restructuring if you intend to get the support of your staff. Honesty is characterized by truthfulness, but also by congruence between words and actions. To sustain a change effort, teachers and parents must have a sense that what they are told is accurate and that there are no important things occurring about which they are not informed. Lambert (2000) portrays the principal as the fire carrier for...
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