Doctoral Seminar: Educational Leadership Practices I
My Leadership Philosophy as of November 2000
Dr. David W. Cox
Arkansas State University
November 30, 2000
My previous leadership philosophy was rooted in what had been my overall educational philosophy. Over the past few years, I have developed a philosophy of teaching that carries over into my philosophy with regard to leadership. I believed that we should be teaching our students the basics or essentials necessary in order to maintain a job in today's workforce. I also believed that we should take advantage of technology available today; this technology could be used to facilitate the teaching of essential skills through structured programs.
My philosophy has changed over the past several months as a result of the information I have been exposed to thus far in the doctorate program at Arkansas State University. While I believe there are essential skills that are important for students to learn, I think students can benefit greatly from participative learning in which partnership and collaboration are stressed over individuality and competition. For example, when a student is involved in making decisions about how learning will take place, that student will be more likely to take ownership in the learning. I am not advocating that schools let students determine exactly what they are to learn or when they will learn it. I believe that students need to be introduced to specific materials, but letting the student have a voice in how the learning is to take place may make both the teacher and the learner more successful.
I believe technology is a tool that can be used to enhance student learning, and I believe this learning can take place in the absence of competition and isolation. For example, there are now ways to communicate extensively with fellow students while taking an online course. For some, the online course setting encourages participation to a much larger degree than does the traditional classroom. For instance, a student may be uneasy about asking a question in front of a class while asking it online is not a problem. Furthermore, some who would not be able to travel to the traditional classroom may now have the opportunity to learn. Therefore, I believe that technology can enhance instruction and should be seen as a helpful tool rather than a necessary evil in education.
In this paper, I will attempt to speak to the following issues as well as include my philosophies regarding them. These issues are the impact of the industrial revolution and the effect Deming had on organizational leadership, the idea of stewardship and partnership, the concept of emotional leadership, how leaders deal with change, and how technology affects diffusion of information throughout systems.
The Industrial Revolution and Deming
Today's view of effective leadership has changed significantly since the Industrial Revolution. This is true, in part, because of the thoughts made popular by Deming and the effects he had on modern leadership ideologies. The Industrial Revolution echoed the objective of obtaining a greater profit. The set up of mass production was seen as the solution that would allow companies to earn a greater profit. The assembly line was an example of efficiency advocated by Fredric Taylor. Fredric Taylor was the top-level consultant in the U.S. with regard to mass production who developed four principles of scientific management (Owens, 1998). These principles were to eliminate guesswork through scientific measurements, to make worker selection and training scientific, to utilize the concept of division of responsibility and to use management to set objectives. While scientific management may have worked for our society in the past, I believe that in today's society it is ultimately less effective than management through stewardship and partnership....
References: Beck, D. E. & Cowan, C. C. Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.
Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest. San Francisco: Berrett Koehler.
Friedman, E. H. (1999). A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. Bethesda, MD: The Edwin Friedman Estate/Trust.
Jurow, S. (1999). Change: The Importance of the Process. Educom Review. 34.
Owens, R. (1998). Organizational behavior in education. Boston: Alyn & Bacon. Sixth Edition.
Ward, D. (2000). Catching the Waves of Change in American Higher Education. Educause Review. Jan/Feb, 23-30.
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