Challenges for leaders in Post modern education
There are numerous frameworks that are used to assess models of administration and leadership and also outline the changes that are needed in the process. Various approaches are used which involve leadership as management, value leadership, trust cultural leadership and spiritual; leadership. The notion of postmodern leadership by educational leaders can be seen to agree and concur with the principles that are used to explain subjective models (Moos, 2008). This is a generally recent model of leadership which has no generally accepted definition. Key features that may characterize postmodernism may include situations whereby multiple realities exist, situations are understood at a local level with a particular attention to diversity and language does not reflect the reality. Postmodern model usually offers few answers as to how those in leadership are expected to operate. The most useful point to emerge is that leaders should respect, and give attention to the diversity and individual perspectives of stakeholders. It is vital to consider the centrality of individual interpretations of events while also criticizing leadership that is transformational in nature.
Educational leadership in the twenty-first century is characterized by a shift towards unprecedented commitment to the community at large. It does not involve leadership that is detailed as authoritarian and entirely depended upon strict compliance in order to effectively govern a school. People throughout history have been at the forefront t to ensure that their leaders, men and women who have in time of political, social, cultural, or religious crisis been deemed passionate about their beliefs, powerful in their abilities and have been effective in their performance(Moos, 2008). Thus, it is such individuals who have played a large role in inspiring educational leaders of the future. There exists a strong link between leadership and effective provision of quality services. This has led to an increased focus on leadership, leading to pressure for considering professionalism and accountability from within and outside the profession.
During the first century of public education, educational leaders saw the future of education and society as differing from the practices that were in existence and from the reforms that had originated outside education. With time schools and school systems grew, and in the process they incorporated the increasing demands that arose (Holmes, 2003).
In any education level, phrases for instance 'dynamic leader,’ ‘visionary leader,’ or even ‘strong leader’ have been used when it comes to providing a reason as to why a particular school succeeds while another struggles. This is what leads to search for somebody who would come to the school and be able to have bigger goals and dreams for the school. They should also be able to be responsible in raising student’s scores and prepare these students to higher education or even a career. Administrators today are not only hired because of their expertise, but also their ability to lead a school into positive growth.
Schools are always faced by complex and challenging issues which are attributed to changing social times. It is the educational leaders who feel these effects more as they are in charge of the schools, and it is up to them to find solutions to such problems. The postmodern times are characterized by an increased number of international schools. This poses a new challenge for educational leaders since international schools are a new phenomenon and new problems are bound to arise. The emergent paradoxes of postmodern society, especially the element of internationalism are part of the larger issue. So too is the postmodern critique of the modernist hierarchical that schools act as educational social norms. Schools, in most instances, are viewed as positivist systems held together by authoritarian control, now highly affected by individualism. Thus, international schools have to undergo more challenges, especially the leadership of these schools.
International schools are easily to fragment into subcultures based on their composition. When the corporate culture is weak, then it would be hard to recognise the negative impacts that such a relationship by have on an education institution. In deconstructing international schools as organisations, it is a vital aspect to create a conceptual framework. By using a post modernistic lens enabling engagement with diverse views and interpretations, a school’s structural belief systems and cultures has the increased risks of exposure to challenges (Holmes, 2003).
The assault on professionalism is also a product of an increased sense of uncertainty in the postmodern age. For instance, emphasis is put on social responsibility and employment as characterized by German firms. High investment during training is seen as a major feature for institutions that are international. The cultural variants, which impact to a larger extent rather than generalized as indicators of national trait, are powerful factors that pull apart international schools and pose a greater challenge to educational leaders(Moos, 2008). Cultural change would therefore have a great influence on an organisation. For instance, research was conducted on 11 businesses which had a minimum of 15 years of economic performance that was sustained. The study was able to identify the executive leader who sought to go achieve enduring greatness while going beyond performance standards. The study was also able to identify who in the organisation is an effective leader who encourages commitment towards high performance standards (Fullan, 2002).
In the modernist setting, an institution is seen as a self-contained unit where there is a set purpose and few problematic issues to arise. A postmodernism perspective would see a greater propensity for organisations to be less centred, and they are reactionary which leads to a higher level of control. Hence the representation of all social relations of exchange is the central feature of neoliberalism. In relation to educational leaders, it has been able to effect its changes through various other new techniques of leadership. Organisations are artificial structure s ain all regards and are held together by societal rules and ideas. However, these have been illusionary compacted by the fact that there exists fragmentation within organisations. A question will therefore, arise if whether schools are artificial creations of modernist society and therefore are faced with the risk of collapse as other modernist edifices.
Life in the postmodern condition is characterized by various complexities. The effects of such forces cause the leader to respond in any possible way so as to be able to adapt to such conditions for instance creating learning organisations, building coalitions and levelling organisational structures. Confronted with these needs for change, leaders are in the midst of the hard task of making a choice between the need for change and the need for stability (Holmes, 2003). While the external environment may require a change by default, forces in the internal environment such as the organization’s need for productivity and the employees’ need for some sense of order and security. Therefore, this pushes the organisation towards stability.
In many cases, leaders find themselves in a situation characterized by modern to postmodern understandings where cause and effect are difficult to identify. The problems facing today’s leadership theorists is whether a practical model of leadership can be followed in which it will correct the errors The design in such a theory rests on developing of new leadership habits. Leaders must be able to understand that their organization is in constant development, and this should position them to learn continuously from the environment while seeking high performance marks. This can be achieved by fitting the organisation to the environment in which it exists.
It would make it easier for the organisation or institution to survive. They would have the ability to perceive their environmental themes and evolve appropriately. However, because the environmental undergoes constant change, educational leaders must continuously rethink and restructure the organisation for it to stay connected. They must establish a learning process to ensure that the organisation continues to prosper. Learning occurs, for example, when the principals of an institution have membership to a district’s inter-visitation team which acts as a study group to examine real problems and also analyse the solutions that have been decided upon (Fullan, 2002).
In the postmodern condition, leaders must make a change from reliance on command and control (hierarchical skills) of the twentieth century. Instead, they should have a greater reliance on the coordinative and collaborative skills necessary to practice their craft in the twenty-first century. The command and control style is never entirely obsolete, but the emphasis on leadership should move forward (Sara, 2012).
Leaders must be flexible and adapt to the prevailing conditions. They should be able to recognise changes around them and take appropriate action in this regard. At times they may exert their influence through the use of tasks and relationship behaviours. In other instances, the leader may use authority, power, influence and incentives so as to influence followers. In the postmodern condition, leaders must practice as artists rather than scientists if they are to prepare themselves and their organisations to take advantage of opportunities associated with change. They should be able to guide the transformations with a keen sense of the need for stability, having common values and adaptable ways and means. Through all their artful behaviours leaders must maintain stability while challenging the status quo simultaneously (Holmes, 2003).
Career progression is also another challenge affection educational leader. Career progression is generally understood as a desired, vertical, ladder like movement through age related and time-phased stages. The various locations occupied by individuals at any one time generate corresponding expectations and perspectives of career trajectories. Smoothness of career progression is rarely the norm (Bottery, 2000). Two critical factors in determining both the mode and speed of career advancement are timing and strategically located personnel. Speed of movement is often dictated by ingredients such as age, level of experience, skill and formal system requirements. Some career moves may be regularized, for instance the automation of annual regrading through tests. Some may even be mandatory, for instance placement of strategic personnel who count when it comes to organisational power. They include various patrons and sponsors who provide leverage and valuable advice on career openings and promotions (English, 2005).
Educational consumerism is also factor facing educational leaders. Some aspects of this such as ‘deep support’ consumerism may be of real benefit to education. It suggests that education activities should begin from a consideration of the needs, interests and abilities of the individual student. Furthermore, it is only through an intimate knowledge of each would a complete educational experience be realized. This model of consumption would seem to suggest that educational professional of the future would be a mediating profession, which only seeks to determine which learning materials are the most suitable in order to achieve the goals by an educational leader.
Even though the reality falls short of this method of deep-support consumerism, this model would still provide educational leaders with both a blueprint and a stimulus for the development of an organisation. Such a model has been derived from extensive practice in the private sector, would have a greater chance of adoption than ideas that result from idealist public sector philosophy. As costs are on the decline in the business sector, so it would become possible for a public sector to implement such ideas (Bottery, 2000).
The dominance of managerial and business prerogatives in government and the public sector has increased for the past few years. This has enormous consequences on the priorities of public institutions such as the academy. In the United States, the political impetus for the introduction of business imperatives to the higher education sector were introduced through a change of governance, a reprioritization of funding priorities and a drive to expand business education as a “cash cow” for university financing (Sara, 2012).
In the UK, as with many other western countries, pressure on the public purse has led to erasure of what used to be an identifiable characteristic of universities as a unique kind of public service organisation. This has led to quasi-private provisions such as the UK public-private finance schemes for new buildings. Furthermore, there has been an increase of privatisation of public service. This has led to the difficulty in determining what the concept of ‘public’. The two terms of public and private have begun to bear close resemblance in the description. It is also argued that discussing the connection between academic management, values, and universities as public institutions can no longer be used as a useful debate.
There is also a debate in social science about identity theories. The identity of an educational leader is an elastic concept. In any context, identity draws the attention towards the complexities of academics who become managers and leaders in universities and the tensions that develop from manager-academics experiences. Given the range for reasons of becoming manager-academic leaders, which have varied from career ambition and love for politics and feelings that any other individual would have done worse in the position.
The terms ‘knowledge economy’, ‘knowledge society’ and even ‘knowledge management’ are basic terms common to social scientists. Individuals in any kind of profession or managerial employment, including academics are described as knowledge workers. Knowledge is as old as civilization and bears a strong relationship with the way educational leaders act. Models of culture have been developed, and this shows the potential of knowledge transformation (Sara, 2012).
The most essential part is how the roles of a leader are conceptualized and how this merges with their lives in an institutional setting. Traditional leadership approaches have a moral purpose in the transformative of educational leaders. This suggests the role goes beyond the bounded organisation context and further extends into the wider social context within which schools are located and from which students come. Many scholars have been able to identify elements which exist in the wider social context that educators cannot easily ignore. Some of these may include changes in the nature of work, increasing income gap between rich and poor, and increasing proportions of visible minorities (Bottery, 2000).
Some may see a difficulty that may arise for the political environment. For example, in New Zealand, the ‘neoliberal’ policies of the 1990s continue to shape the overall direction of educational policies. From this perspective, education becomes a market value and the economy becomes the primary source of legitimization for the state’s role in education. Education is no longer a public good but rather marketable service and also an instrument of success in the global marketplace (English, 2005).
Subjective theorists tend to emphasize the unique qualities of individuals instead of their official positions in an organisation. Situations require appropriate actions for the resolution and this will only be achieved if it is done by those best fitted to deal with them irrespective of their official positions or place within the organisation. However, positional state also remains valuable. Perhaps the most effective educational leaders are those that have a combination of positional power and also the personal attributes to gain the respect of colleagues (English, 2005). This can also be detailed as a combination of the formal and subjective perspectives. If this is not realised, then the educational leader is bound to be faced with setbacks while carrying out their duties. They are in a formal role to execute their interpretations of activities on other colleagues of the institution. Management may also be viewed as a source of control, and if not so, then it is a failure upon the leader of the organisation. Furthermore, these leaders have the advantage of using their resources of power in order to achieve the consent on their decisions where other staffs do not share those meanings (Moos, 2008).
I agree with Ball on the dilemmas facing educational leadership as a postmodern profession since they are varied and all have their different influences on then educational leader. The only way to avoid the problems is to strategize and find solutions so that problems facing contemporary educational leadership in a Western nation are dealt with. Ball’s analysis does show the various factors that have impacted negatively open educational leadership and these factors do face individuals involved in educational leadership.
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