Thursday, April 21, 2011
One of the growing fields in the teaching industry is the vocational education and training sector (VET). Little has been known regarding the management and leadership strategies in this field and because of the growing demands of a changing environment, attention is being given by investing on research regarding the improvement of the roles of educational personnel in the field. With the reforms that are being implemented by the government sector, there is a constant need for improvement and an establishment of requirements to develop expertise in management and leadership to improve competence and achieve the highest efficiency. There are also other external factors affecting the changing roles of managers such as changing work and policy evironments, reduced funding, increased expectations and the pressure of improving technology and e-commerce.In tackling the questions and issues surrounding the organizational environment. A structured approach is very important. First and foremost, the roles of the leader and manager should be determined. “Leadership” and “Management” are concepts that may be similar and different at the same time. Similar in a way that both should be possessed by the one holding the leadership position, different in a sense that managers are more for making sure that order and discipline is maintained while leaders are more about encouraging about vision and change. However, these differences can be foregone since both of these concepts are important for a manager to have. To group together the management and leadership responsibilities of a manager, it would be financial, human and physical resource management. The financial management aspect would refer to quantitative aspects of an organization wherein the manager is concerned about how money is being handled by the organization. Managers should stay focused on how to increase income, reduce expenditures and safeguarding assets therefore promoting audit and accountability among everyone. Human management, is one key aspect in being a manager because without the proper people skills, it is hard to get things done. Leadership is all about influencing others towards aiming at reaching a goal without hesitation. Therefore, encouragement and motivation are key to proper human management. Lastly, physical resource management is integral since it would affect the efficiency of operations. Without the competence of knowing how to manage the resources and use them to their full potential, a manager will fall behind in the growing competitive market.
Module 1, Part 2
To be able to achieve all this, one must have the proper expertise. A manager should be well-adept in all the roles mentioned above. One must have the proper know-how about planning regarding budget, income generation, resource management, as well as development of human management skills as well as public relations. The manager should have the flexibility and responsiveness that is key to achieving the short-term and long-term goals. All these would be well achieved with the proper strategy formulation geared towards the same objective of organizational efficiency. However, proper education and constant learning is needed. A manager should be open to expanding horizons by attending seminars, workshops, taking courses and participating in support groups. This module is very helpful in the teaching industry because gives importance to leadership and management which should be strongly incorporated in educational institutions.
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Module 3, Part 2
Teachers often preach about teams and being team players to students. These concepts are given a lot of focus to promote cooperation among students. But, the four walls of the classroom are no different than that of a faculty room. How can teachers teach about being effective in a team when they do not know how to be teamplayer themselves.
Neville Johnson's module is very helpful in how to build “learning communities” in schools. It is healthy and at the same time productive for collaboration between teachers to emerge in an educational facility. This can provide a venue for them to contribute ideas, lose differences, and gear themselves towards achieving the school's goals together. Initially, the teaching and learning challenges should be recognized and established. With this, the school can then form strategies and plan on interactive projects that all the teachers can participate and be part in. Here, the term 'action learning' is applicable which is defined by ANTA as a “united approach to solving a problem” by a group of professional colleagues. This would foster a collective responsibilty developed by the team members as well as promote their professional learning through discussions and sharing of ideas, and genuine collaboration would not only improve professional relationships but emotional and personal relationships as well, promoting a more supportive environment.
As the teams are formed and motivated for action, a leader is assigned. Even if the team is already that of a group of professionals, a leader who is skilled, competent, knowledgeable, supportive and who may have more training should be designated to be accountable in terms of managing time, finances and monitoring. This may be hard for a chosen leader considering the teaching responsibilities that should not be ignored. Thus, management should restructure the role of the formal leader so that the leader can be more available in providing coaching and mentoring to other teachers.
As the learning teams distribute the tasks of leadership among members accordingly, the concept of distributed leadership is employed. When leadership is rotated among members, they would feel that they are relevant to the group and that their capabilities are recognized and valued. This inculcates a sense of responsibility and motivates everyone to contribute their best in order to be chosen as a head for the next project.
On the other hand, another concept such as middle leadership can be seen in a team. This kind of leadership is not really clear because teachers who are asked regarding this concept do not have concrete ideas about it. Middle leadership is usually viewed as enacting leadership with teachers and collegues but at the same time being answerable to senior management. Some middle leaders find it a problem to communicate management policies to teachers and would sometimes cause misunderstanding when not properly communicated.
In summary, all types of leadership as mentioned above are present in teams. Proper strategic planning, open and constant communication as well as respect are key to avoiding conflict and making the team work cohesively.
Leadership and management have been thoroughly discussed in the different materials reviewed. In the last module the concept of headship or principalship was introduced. Principalship is a title and comes with it are responsibilities and accountabilities. Though the three, leadership, management and principalship may have differences but all three must be present hand in hand in an educational sector. Being the principal, you are the formal leader who is the one overlooking the day to day operations of the establishment. This is where management and leadership comes in. In relation to management, the principal is responsible for setting policies straight and ensuring that processes and operations are running smoothly. In short, the principal as a manager makes sure that everything is in rhythm. On the other hand, the principal is a leader when he starts to use influence rather than mandate those under his supervision to perform together to achieve the broader goals of the school. In addition, it is the role of the principal to promote dispersed leadership in the organization. Therefore, the concept of leaders and leadership in schools should not only be contained in the formal positions occupied. It should mean the dispersed leadership across the school, therefore encouraging teacher-leadership since the teachers are the ones who are closely communicating and interacting with the students. Giving teachers importance and contributing to their professional improvement will translate to better teaching qualities. However, the emergence of this kind of informal leadership could only emerge with the provision of support from upper management. Though accountability and responsibilty is developed by teacher-leaders, this should not reduce the vigilance of the principal and other formal leaders in their own responsibilities and accountabilities.
Taking all into consideration, the concept that is of most interest at the present is the formulation of techniques and strategies in how leadership and management should be inculcated and taught to the teacher level. This is not an easy task because much attention must be expensed on designing a structure that would well fit into the the school's environment. Factors like budget, professional atmosphere as well as time constraints should be taken into consideration since a school may have different limitations depending on their resources. A lot of researches which are geared to actually set up guidelines and standards are very helpful materials that a school could use in initiating actions and making a plan that would be beneficial to all parties.
The learning provided by the different references would highly contribute to my personal and professional knowledge as a teacher. Through this, I have gained a lot of insights, learned concepts and improve my understanding on the importance of being visible, flexible and cooperative. This has also fueled my motivation to be able to contribute more to further the achievement of our school's goals. With a whole lot of understanding on my part I can now recognize where I need to impove and suggest improvements to my learning team as well. As for the whole education industry, this learning will spark the interest of educational institutions to give more attention on educational management and leadership in their areas. It will get them thinking that it will be a good investment because of the benefits it will provide and will probably inspire them to form their own learning teams to be more competitive in the growing market of the educational sector.
Fitzgerald, T. (2009) . Educational Management Administration and Leadership.
London, Los Angeles, Singapore, New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Foley, J., Conole, L. (2003). A Draft Leadership Capability Framework to Assist Leadership
Development in the Victorian TAFE Sector. Wheeler Strobel Consulting Group.
Johnson, N. (2003). Working in Teams. Victoria, Australia: Department of Education
Leading Theory (Module 4_Article 1)
Mulcahy, D. (2003). Leadership and Management in Vocational Education and Training.
Adealaide, Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).