Educational leadership

Gresa Pllashniku, Julia Brustel, Reetu Kouki

On this topic we go through about educational leadership, why it is important that everyone, no matter what age group should have education, what is the aim about educational leadership, and why all of us need it. As opposed to various nonformal or informal forms of socialization, education is a discipline that deals with methods of teaching and learning in schools. Every person’s life would be much more fulfilling if they obtained a good education. When having an education is what makes us different from other organisms on this planet. Therefore, humans are the ones with the greatest level of intelligence on this planet. By empowering humans, education enables everyone to address challenges in their lives efficiently.

Overview

Educational leadership requires engaging and guiding teachers, pupils, and parents to work towards achieving common educational goals. Programs that extend beyond schools may also be described as educational leadership. Also included in the category of educational leaders are college leaders, proprietary college leaders, community-based program leaders, and university leaders. Education leadership draws from interdisciplinary literature, but it emphasizes pedagogy, epistemology, and human development to distinguish itself from other leadership approaches. Political theory and business are incorporated in its contemporary practice. The terms school leadership or educational leadership have become popular as substitutes for the term educational administration in recent years, but leadership arguably only represents a single perspective of the work of school, division, and district personnel and involved ministerial or state officials, not to mention the areas of research conducted by university faculty in departments that are dedicated to school and educational institution operations. (The Audiopedia 2017.) Basically, the role of an educational leader entails: collaborating with teachers and providing curriculum-related direction. Encourages educator implementation of planning cycles to further enhance programs and practices. Identifies and develops effective educational programs to be implemented throughout the organization.

Why do we need educational leadership?

Poverty and unemployment can be eliminated most effectively through education. The benefits of education extend to the commercial scenario and benefit the country as a whole. In other words mentioned in the study guide, the better the education in a country, the higher its chances of development. (ASCD 2019). Moreover, an individual can benefit from this education in a variety of ways. With use of their knowledge, they are able to make better and more informed decisions. Consequently, a person is more likely to succeed in the long run. Thus, education plays a role in enhancing the quality of life. Educational opportunities are necessary for us to have a better understanding and quality of life. A person can also become independent through education. Those who are well-educated will be able to sustain themselves without needing anyone else. Ultimately, everyone will earn their own living and will lead a rewarding life. In addition to enhancing self-confidence, education also makes people more convinced about their life decisions. Education plays a significant role even from the country’s perspective.

Leaders who are effective in education have a clear vision, a strong purpose, or a dream that guides them. In order to achieve this vision, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In this way, they are encouraged to create a purpose that makes the world a better place. This inspires them to inspire others to believe it, in turn creating a culture where everyone can flourish.

How does a leader apply educational leadership?

The application of educational leadership in an organisation must start with evaluating the current state of educational leadership in an organization. If the current state is not precisely understood, the chances of success are very slim. After the current state is well understood strategic objectives must be put in place, so we can understand where we are now and where do we want to be in the future. Once the strategic objectives have been set, a task force need to be set up for evaluating these objectives. The task force should consist of people from all levels of the organization, so at this stage there is a group of people with as a diverse set of specialties as possible. (AMKE Oy 2012.)

After evaluation starts the planning of how to implement educational leadership into the organization, so we know where we are, where we want to be and how to get there. Then begins the implementation of the strategy, it needs to be made part of the organization wider strategy. Because when the implementation of educational leadership is made part of the organization’s strategy, it ensures that there will be long term investment into seeing the change through to its completion. (AMKE Oy 2012.)

To achieve meaningful and long-lasting change, every part of the organization needs to be involved in the process. Change requires the involvement of all the parts of the organization, so that there is a clear heading and a long-term commitment to the process. The progress towards the goals that have been set needs to be monitored regularly. (AMKE Oy 2012.)

Challenges faced when applying educational leadership

When it comes to tackling the challenges faced during the implementation of educational leadership, the first step is to build leadership structures into the structure of the organization, so it isn’t a flat compartmentalized organization. In many cases implementing meaningful and lasting change might require a reorganization or a restructuring of the organization to ensure that the process will be successful. (Johnson 2007).

In order to achieve the desired results, it requires that there are well defined roles for people in charge of implementing the change (Johnson 2007). Without anyone responsible for sticking to the process in the long term, sliding back into old ways of doing things is easy and in many cases inevitable.

Usually, these roles are filled by other teachers, and in many placed around the world there is a strong culture of teaching, that is built on autonomy, egalitarianism, and the defense of seniority. in these cultures, teachers have very little to do with each other’s work and might even be hostile about someone telling them how to teach. Some might feel that peers evaluating their work might feel a sense of superiority against them. (Johnson 2007.)

Studying and practicing educational leadership

First, in a comprehensive way, educational leadership professionals are involved in enhancing educational programs. They employ and supervise teachers and staff, create budgets, prepare curriculum and establish school regulations. They may focus on team-building initiatives or reorganize the organization to make critical changes. Many educational leaders are active in forming or changing educational policies at the local, state and national levels. (Learn.org 2022.)

The position of educational leader is practiced at many school levels, from elementary and secondary school to universities. At the university level, the educational leader may work in a variety of positions, usually in the upper echelons of the hierarchy, such as “department chairs, athletic directors, or curriculum directors”. (Learn.org 2022.) By definition, a department chair is a faculty member designated by the dean to lead a certain academic department. The major responsibility of a department chair is to assess the department’s overall operations (Tophat n.d.). Moreover, an athletic director works in a school office doing different administrative responsibilities as well as attending fundraising events and sports practices and games away from the office while curriculum directors work with schools to develop standards for teachers to follow so that education can improve (Frank Sliden. d.; Green2017). For elementary and secondary schools, the educational leader may be a “principal, or assistant principal”, as well as “athletic directors, headmasters””, and senior teachers or “deans” (Learn.org 2022.). A principle is a key leader in a school building, whereas a headmaster is a principal but is primarily focused on private schools (Meador 2019; Merriam Webster 2022). In addition, other education leadership professionals work with “advocacy groups”, pressure groups, and other “non-profit organizations” to develop or improve educational policies and processes (Learn.org 2022.)

Becoming an educational leader requires a master’s degree, specifically a “Master of Educational Leadership”or a doctorate, called a “Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership”. A master’s degree is normally required for aspiring principals, while a doctorate is required for supervisors and university deans. Philosophy and practice of education, the meaning of education in society, teaching approaches, “psychology, school law”and educational technology are all included in these programs. (Fordham University n.d.)

History of education in Finland

Finland is known to have the best educational system in the world (Edsys 2019). To begin with, the first university was established in 1640, nowadays, the University of Helsinki (University of Helsinki n.d.). The university began as a small intellectual community where future public employees and clergy learnt “Lutheran theology and European humanism”. Then, in 1809, as part of the Russian Empire, Finland sought autonomy in “laws, religion, administration, currency, politics and schools”. (Nyman & Uljens 2013.) Therefore, the establishment of the first professorship of education at the University of Helsinki in 1852 was a defining moment in Finnish teacher education (Center for Public Impact 2019). In 1860, happen the establishment of the FNBE, the Finnish National Board of Education, responsible for the development of “pre-primary, basic, general upper secondary and adult education” as well as the introduction of examination matriculation (Bildungs n.d.; Nyman & Uljens 2013). Finland, which was autonomous from 1917 to 1945, implemented compulsory education for all children between the ages of 7 and 13 in 1921. Students began general education at the age of nine in 1972 and completed it at the age of sixteen. There were nine grades in all, including six years of elementary school and three years of lower secondary school. (Nyman & Uljens 2013.) Then, in the 1990s, decentralization of the program took place, meaning that each school could make its own financial and curricular decisions. (Nyman & Uljens 2013; Thomas 2014.) Following 2009, measures were taken toward “knowledge-based educational leadership”, including result and procedural monitoring. New types of colleges have also evolved, such as universities of applied sciences or vocational schools, and the majority of higher education institutions are completely free. (Nyman & Uljens 2013.)

Education in Finland nowadays

As mentioned above, “comprehensive schooling, secondary education, higher education, and adult education” comprise the Finnish educational system. In addition, Finland does not have any pricey top schools. In reality, collecting money for compulsory education is forbidden in the nation. In theory, all Finnish elementary and junior high schools are equal and offer pupils with the same level of instruction. (Kansanen 2003.) Furthermore, due to a scarcity of elite institutions, the entire nation expects public education to be of high quality. Although the Finnish education system has been chastised for preventing “top persons” from developing, most Finns still favor education for everyone, regardless of means, over elite education. (Strangerless n.d.)

Discussion

After researching this topic and writing this article, the team members wanted to exchange with other people of different nationalities to find out if equal opportunities also prevailed in education in their country. For some countries, equality was not as important as in Finland, for example in Brazil or in France where there are private schools for higher education as well as high schools or middle schools, where the inequality happened at the end of their curriculum. Indeed, some private schools have a good reputation and ensure a professional network for students or a priority place to enter higher education at the end of their study year. Another person pointed out another problem of inequality, not coming from the private schools but from the money spent in private lessons to help the students to have a sufficient level to enter the elite schools. This inequality has caused the team to react to the preparation of entrance exams for some very selective public schools in Finland. This problem is debatable, as it is understandable that parents or students would want to do everything possible to get into the school they want. Therefore, the assumption is that this problem of inequality is perhaps unavoidable, and that the most disadvantaged may have less chance of getting into these schools if they do not have such preparations and can only rely on their talent and ability to work hard.

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