Arts and Humanities
Leadership has been seen as an important context that is a necessity in all organizations and field. Similarly, in the educational field the leadership is required for the leading of the educational institutions. The main role played by the leaders in the educational institutions is to guide and lead the individuals in a manner that is appropriate. This will help in the implementation of the functions and the tasks, providing solutions to the several types of challenges and problems. The making of effective decision and the creation of the environment that is necessary for the education of the children as well as increasing the career opportunities for the teachers and the staff can be seen as the main role of the leaders. Facilitation of the achievement that will help in the growth of the educational quality in the institutions is also undertaken by the leaders. In this essay, the main challenges faced by the leaders in the educational context have been taken up. The essay also takes into account the transformations that the educational field has gone in the past two decades that will help in the understanding of the challenges that the leaders have to face in the emerging situations. A literature review has been conducted that will help in understanding the areas that the leaders face challenges. Recommendations that will help the leaders to move forward have been provided. Lastly, a conclusion has been provided to, sum up, all the important points.
Main leadership challenges in educational context
The first challenge that is faced by the leaders in the educational context is the assessment of the gap. The common themes like communication, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork and their challenges are faced by the leaders in the educational institutions. The development of the leadership in the educational context has not been tapped into. The inclusion of verbal and non verbal communication as well as the integration of emerging technology within the educational field is missing which has created several challenges for the leaders in schools (Adams, 2020). The extreme use of the evidenced based practice for the assessment of the communication skill can be considered very low. Despite the fact that the leadership calls for collaboration and teamwork, the measurement that is used by the administrators, teachers and the educational systems is not correct and the main essence of the teamwork is lost. Solving of problems and introduction of creativity and the assessment of the performance by the students are left out. The focus on the basic skills of literacy and the content knowledge has been retained which poses a challenge for the leaders. The needs of the 21st century can be met by introducing several reforms and not limited to the academic content and skills.
The second challenge that is faced by the educational leaders is the transition challenge. Within a transition challenge, the shift in the current value toward a new and improved value can help in the great progress of the educational institutions. Challenging of the conventional wisdom of the average students and the use of jaggedness can help in the transition (Dina, 2013). This should be supported by the technological process. The role played by the leaders is challenging because the transition of the current beliefs and principles of the students. The embracing and the bringing of new technological as well as newer methods to improve the educational quality can be challenging as they might not get any support from the government or state authorities. Moreover, the inclusive curriculum has resulted in the increased challenges of the leaders as they have to incorporate new skills and knowledge for the education of the children. The third challenge faced by the leaders in the educational context is the maintenance challenge. The changing circumstances that are faced by the educational leader in the 21st century like decentralization, market challenges and accountability, the involvement of the community and the organizational learning can be seen (Leithwood et al., 2019). As all the teachers and the leaders are focused on the broader principles and competencies of learning and teaching, this has resulted in the increased focus on the coherent vision of the instructions. Preservation of the essentials and to keep the performance at a good level can be taken up by the leaders.
Educational transformations over the last decade
The educational context, learning, teaching and leadership have undergone a massive change in the past two decades. The older model of learning and the teaching with the help of the set curriculum and the limited knowledge of the teachers have become obsolete. Emergence of different characteristics of educational systems like blended learning, experimental learning and online classes dominate the scene of the education especially in the post pandemic scene (Lupinacci, 2017). Interaction and communication between the students and the teacher have taken a wild turn. This shows that the traditional model of teaching has been replaced by the technologically supported education at all levels. 21st century education is all about focusing and improving the skills and knowledge of the students so that they can succeed in the real world and focus on their career. Boosting of confidence and practicing skills that will help in the long run can be seen. It makes much more sense to the teachers as well as the students that the information that is shared and obtained can be used in a smart way. The base of the education in the past or twenty years ago was dominated by books and lectures (Pirttimaa et al., 2015). The students were studying from the notes provided by their teachers. In this age, the websites and the iPads are the main source of education.
All these have resulted in the increase in the leadership challenges in the educational context and institutions. Keeping a good balance between the practical learning and the theoretical learning has created a massive problem for the leaders in the educational context. But the old educational system is mainly based on the imparting the knowledge with the help of the books and the maintenance of the curriculum, which did not create any pressure on the leaders to implement new systems to teach the students (McCarthy, 2015). The theoretical aspects of learning though practiced by the students, the practical implication and the skills required were missing. The reshaping of the structure of the schools for the integration of the technological changes within the schools require heavy funding and support from the state and the government authorities. This again creates a problem for the leaders as the lack in financial aspect will hamper the inclusion of technology in the educational process. Decentralization which shows transformational changes has been seen increasing within the community of the schools. The absence of a model that is based on the curriculum has been missing that will create autonomy for the school. This has shown issues with the role played by the local authorities.
In many countries it has been seen that New Public Management has been seen as an approach that has been taken up. The main features of NPM are that the role of the government will be reduced in the provision of the service, downsizing of the public sector as well as deregulation of the labour market. The dependence of the school leadership that is effective for the implementation of the NPM in the educational institutions (Morrison, 2013). The trends that have been seen in the decentralization that can be acknowledged for the transformational changes in the schools and colleges can be seen. In Finland, the gaining and the achieving of the autonomy are based on the curriculum that is present within the schools. In Netherlands, the principals of the school are mainly seen responsible for the quality of the schools. The hiring of the staff and their retention falls under the responsibility of the principals. While in England, the decision made regarding the curriculum of the schools are done by the central government and the school. In Denmark, the principals of the schools are considered as the instructional leaders (OECD, 2019). The consideration of the autonomous and the professional choices of the methods of teaching as well as the selection of the content have been seen. Adherence to the local and the national guidelines to understand the content of the curriculum is seen within the country.
Many countries are searching for new ways so that they can gain control over the decentralized system of schooling. The procedures can be taken up for the setting of the curriculum that is central and the inspection of the schools for the assessment of the pupils and the result publishing, all falls under the role of the leader in the educational context (Tirri et al., 2021). Establishment of a standard that are accepted by the students and the testing of the students based on their achievement and their judgment about the systems that are present in the context of the schools can result in the consequences that can be harmful for the educational quality. Integration of the programs with the tied resources and the maintenance of accountability by the leaders in the educational context has been seen in the central educational authorities. This is done to make sure that the prioritization is given to the schools. Accountability is required for maintaining the trust and transparency of the schools as well as the leaders. Community involvement can be seen as the transitional change within the educational context (Phala & Hugo, 2022). As learning is no longer restricted within the walls of the schools, the integration of the ideas of the community and the parents of the children is important. Redefining the functions of the schools as multiservice establishments the incorporation of the child care and the provision of schooling as well as the recreational services are seen as additional responsibility of the leaders in this field.
The leadership practiced in schools come second to the classroom teaching and will have an impact on the learning of the students. Even though this topic is controversial, the acceptance of this idea has been seen in the larger context. The high quality behavior of the teachers on the achievement of the students is required for bringing a more integrative approach to teaching. The socio economic factors should also be considered by the leaders before introducing new techniques to teach within the schools. The factor inside and outside the schools should be balanced (Değirmenci Gündoğmuş, 2018). The interaction and the communication among the teachers and the students should be involving verbal and non verbal methods. The basics of the leadership should be drawn by all the successful leaders. Setting a direction by building the vision that can be shared and the identification of the short term goals that will help in the creation of the performances that are high quality can be taken up by the leaders. Introduction of the process and strategies that will help in the stimulation of the professional capacities of the staff and the consideration for the individual staff members should be taken up by the leaders. Development of the organization in order to support the practices that are desired by building collaborative leadership qualities and the building of the relationships with the parents that is informative and collaborative should be done by the leaders (Hurst et al.). Improvement of the instructional program by providing instructional support and monitoring the learning of the students and the progress of the education within the school should be encouraged. Saving the staff from any form of distraction will help them in increasing the quality of the education provided in the schools.
It can be concluded that leadership is the most important aspect even in the educational context. Without the proper leadership process, the implementation of the modern way of teaching and curriculum will not be possible. There are many challenges that are faced by the leaders in the form of requirements that are ever changing in the developing world. The differences in the past educational quality and the 21st century requirements have been seen. The modern educational system is based on keeping the balance between the theoretical and the practical skills.
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