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Article

Indigenous Education and Leadership Challenges  

Susan C. Faircloth

The ability to effectively lead schools serving Indigenous students in the United States is contingent upon one’s ability and willingness to acknowledge and honor the cultural, linguistic, and tribal diversity of Indigenous peoples and communities, coupled with a commitment to abiding by the federal trust responsibility for the education of Indigenous peoples—a federal responsibility unique to American Indian and Alaska Native peoples. This also requires educational leaders to create and sustain educational environments that are culturally relevant and responsive and that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and their tribal nations to be involved in, and ultimately to determine, the educational pathways and futures of their tribal citizens.

Article

Issues in Cultural and Cross-Cultural Analysis in Education  

Les Bell

There are several difficulties encountered when researching organizational culture with particular reference to educational institutions. The first attempts to articulate a softer, people-oriented strategy for improving performance arose from disaffection with rationalizing approaches to business management. The notion that successful companies had strong cohesive cultures linked with the notion of schools and colleges needing to become more business-like. This in turn led to acceptance of the culture of educational organizations as being an important factor in their effective management. Cultural models emphasize both the informal aspects of educational organizations and the dissatisfaction with traditional models. The concept of culture and its effects on educational leadership and management is a relatively underdeveloped field of study, and studies of non-Western institutions are rare, indeed. However, those studies that have been undertaken tend to be fraught with difficulties that initially stem from a series of definitional complexities that lead to flawed conceptualizations of organizational culture. Several studies have argued that common dimensions are necessary to compare and contrast cultures. These dimensions tend to be presented as polar types, although their original formulation also tended to present these dimensions as a continuum. The study of societal culture is important in understanding differences in school management practices between societies. However, the basic techniques of analysis in the models that tend to be used for this are based on concepts that are derived either from Western philosophy and sociology or from Western approaches to understanding a wide range of relationships. Such conceptualizations fail to consider any variations in the understanding of organizational culture that might be derived from an analysis of institutions in societies in other parts of the world. A more productive way to pursue a cross-cultural model of organizational culture might be to explore the metaphors attached to organizations and to recognize what those metaphors might reveal about organizational culture in different societies. Western-based models tend to reify key features of organizations and treat them as elements to be manipulated by leaders and managers within organizations. Metaphors, on the other hand, facilitate the exploration of shared interpretive schema of members of organizations, implying that culture cannot be observed directly but can only exist in the minds of members of that culture.

Article

Leadership Practices and Managerial Accountability in Italy  

Angelo Paletta, Christopher Bezzina, and Genc Alimehmeti

The changes that are affecting public education imply the need to incorporate into principal’s leadership practices two opposing forces: on the one hand, the accountability systems, which require responsibility for centrally managed achievement testing, compliance with standard procedures of self-evaluation, planning teaching improvement, and reporting of the results; and on the other hand, the expectations that come from within the school, namely those of teachers, students, families, and other stakeholders. This presents the challenge of coproducing authentic learning (problem solving, soft skills, civic knowledge, and citizenship) that is not easily measurable and therefore difficult to bring to light, rationalize, systematize, and report. Principals react differently to the demands of centralized policy-making initiatives. Some see them as opportunities for growth and only formally adopt them, whereas others entrench themselves into particular practices aimed at focusing on the immediate, on being conservative and minimizing risk taking and setting less ambitious goals that can take their schools forward. Managerial accountability can end up “colonizing” the organizations (and those who lead them), with the consequence that time and attention is devoted to what is being measured or observed by the central administrative systems. The “colonized” leaders develop or bend their managerial practices primarily in response to the expectations of accountability systems. On the opposite side, accountability systems can produce the effect of “decoupling”: the actual activities are separated from the rituals of accountability requested by the central or local government. In this case, school principals conform only formally to the demands of accountability systems. Other school leaders can capture opportunities from an accountability system, integrating it into a comprehensive management approach that balances opposing requests and organizational principles into a “systemic” model. Thus, the accountability practices in the field of education introduced in Italy can leave both a positive or negative impact on the way school principals lead their organizations. Studying the impact that the introduction of such policies can have on individuals as a result of the way leaders execute such directives are deemed important as they shed light on the link between policy and practice, and help us gain deeper insights into the so-called theory and practice divide. The move toward greater forms of accountability presents an ideal opportunity for policy makers and educational leaders working at different levels to appreciate the importance of systemic leadership and engage in a discourse that enlightens its value to school improvement initiatives. Rather than focusing on the self, on merely following directives and working independently, the school principal that is able to understand how things and people are connected and can come together to transform their schools can make a difference to school development and school improvement. Bringing policy makers and implementers together can help in understanding the realities faced by educators at the school level, the former often oblivious to the challenges educators face on a day-to-day basis.

Article

Organizational Theory and Culture in Education  

Norazlinda Saad and Paramjit Kaur

Organizational theory involves various approaches to analyzing organizations and attempts to explain the mechanisms of organizations. Organizations embody structured social units that need to achieve aims and needs as well as pursue shared goals. Organizational theory is made up of various disciplines and bodies of knowledge. Some of the theories of organization include classical theory, neoclassical theory, contingency theory, human relations theory, and modern systems theory. These theories are based on multiple perspectives including modern and postmodernist views. In education management and policy, it is necessary to understood organizational theory within the micro and macro realms of the education settings. Another factor that affects organizational theory within educational settings is organizational culture. Organizational culture is made up of a system of shared assumptions, beliefs, and values that governs how people in organizations behave and act. In organizations, shared values and beliefs that evolve over time strongly influence how members function and perform their duties and tasks in the organization.. Organizations develop and maintain a specific unique culture that acts as a guide and molds the behavior and roles of the members of the organization. Organizational culture can be further understood by examining it on multiple levels including artifacts of the organization, advocated values, and underlying assumptions within the organization. Various principles that govern organizational culture may help explain organizations and their members. It is also pertinent to observe how organizational culture affects practices and principles of organizations as well as how organizational culture governs members and aims of organizations. The various organizational theories and the organizational culture perspective can help provide a more comprehensive understanding of organizations and their members and practices, especially within educational settings and contexts.

Article

Place-Based Educational Leadership  

Noelle W. Arnold

Understanding, shaping, and mediating the unique contexts and communities in which schools are located offers a unique approach to educational-leadership preparation. The emerging frame of PLACE describes a place-based leading and learning framework for educational-leadership preparation that uses a combination of concept-based curricula that includes practice and problem-solving in context, bridging culture and community, arts and humanities pedagogies, creative evaluation and engagement, and leadership for context rather than for region that includes followership models. Place-based educational leadership focuses on context-based professional practice that has a direct bearing on the well-being of individuals in the school ecology and the larger ecologies in which they live and work.

Article

Professional Socialization in Schools  

Asiye Toker Gökçe

Socialization is a process through which someone learns to become a member of society. Individuals learn how to perform their social roles, internalizing the norms and values of the community via socialization. Professional socialization is a type of adult socialization. It is a process through which newcomers internalize the norms, attitudes, and values of a profession. They receive instructions, and they learn the knowledge and skills necessary to satisfy professional expectations they are supposed to meet. Thus, they can adjust to the new circumstances and new roles of the profession. Individuals gain a professional identification and feel a commitment to a professional role during the process. In some way, the interpretation of newcomers, the agents of the profession, and the organization produce this. New teachers participate in the community of educators, and they learn how to be a member through the socialization process. They learn new skills, such as how to teach, and internalize new values, such as believing there will be cooperation among colleagues. They learn regulations and organizational contexts, while they develop a style of teaching. As a consequence, they construct a professional identity by internalizing values and norms of the profession and redefining it.This sometimes happens regardless of the school in their professional socialization process. Despite the many challenges inherent in the profession, new teachers are expected to be socialized while performing their duties. Thus, new teachers try to develop an identity and survive in the job through interaction and communication with other teachers. Some adjust easily, while others do not and leave the profession. Some use situational adjustments, while others prefer to strategically redefine the situation within the process. In addition to teachers, new school principals also need to be socialized in their roles in their first year. Becoming a school principal requires different procedures than teachers’ socialization. Nevertheless, models about the socialization of teachers and school principals explain professional socialization as happening through anticipatory, preservice, and in-service.

Article

Professional Standards for Educational Leadership  

Michelle D. Young

Standards are used in a variety of professional fields to identify core elements of practice within the field as well as to describe a desired level of performance. The first set of standards for the field of educational leadership in the United States was introduced in 1996 by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). Since then, they have become the de facto national standards for educational leaders. The ISLLC standards have been updated three times and were recently renamed Professional Standards for School Leaders (PSEL) under the authority of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). Over this same period of time, multiple sets of sister standards (e.g., standards for leadership preparation) have emerged as have evaluation tools and practice resources. Soon after their release, a variety of concerns were raised about the standards and their potential impact on the practice of education leadership, particularly school level leadership. Some argued that the standards were too broad, while others argued that they were too specific. Similarly, concerns were raised about the focus of the standards and what was left out or only weakly included. These and other concerns continued to plague newer versions of the standards. Concerns notwithstanding, today, educational leadership standards are fully embedded in the lifeworld of the educational leadership profession. They have been adopted and adapted by states, districts, professional organizations, and accrediting bodies and used in a variety of ways, including: setting expectations for educational leadership preparation and practice, state certification, leadership recruitment, professional development and support, and evaluating leadership practice.

Article

Profiles of Maladministration in Higher Education  

Autumn Tooms Cyprès

Maladministration is the performance of leadership relative to the considerable mismanagement of official functions centering on conduct described as incompetent, but not illegal. Understandings of maladministration in the literature are extended through portraits of everyday acts of maladministration within university schools and colleges of education. These are meant to complement the existing research on various psychologies of dysfunctional leadership through the specific lens of day-to-day leadership actions. In this article, an examination of organizational symptoms of maladministration is offered along with its overall impact on organizational culture. For purposes of this article, maladministration is defined as the performance of leaders relative to the considerable mismanagement of official functions that centers on conduct described as incompetent, but not illegal. Specific portraits intended to deconstruct maladministrators in their everyday efforts are described. Then, concluding thoughts outline a set of diagnostic tools and advice for those looking to navigate their careers around and even transcend leaders who are guilty of maladminstrative practice. Like the disciplines of medicine and the law, leadership is a professional endeavor built on translating bodies of research, professional skill sets, and dispositions into daily practice. As with other professions, the struggle to define the difference between appropriate practice and substandard work is challenging. Arguably, more attention in the literature has been given to examining the hallmarks of skilled leadership rather than the contours of malpractice. A term used in various global contexts to reference the failed execution of leadership responsibilities is maladministration. For purposes of this discussion, maladministration is defined as the performance of leaders relative to the considerable mismanagement of official functions that centers on conduct described as incompetent, but not illegal. This article extends understandings of maladministration by presenting portraits of everyday maladministration within university schools and colleges of education. Understandings of maladministration in the literature are extended through portraits of everyday acts of maladministration within university schools and colleges of education. These are meant to complement the existing research on various psychologies of dysfunctional leadership through the specific lens of day-to-day leadership actions. This article begins with an examination of organizational symptoms of maladministration along with its overall impact on organizational culture. Next, specific portraits intended to deconstruct maladministrators in their everyday efforts are outlined. The concluding discussion outlines a set of diagnostic tools and advice for those looking to navigate their careers around and even transcend leaders who are guilty of maladminstrative practice.

Article

Self-efficacy of School Principals  

Yael Fisher

The term school principals’ self-efficacy has changed over the past three decades because principals’ roles and duties have changed. Given that professional self-efficacy deals with competence in the profession, if the nature of the profession changes, the level of one’s professional self-efficacy will change as well. There have been found connections between self-efficacy and choosing a career and that efficacy is a robust contributor to career development. People seek a match between their interests and occupational environments. Thus, self-efficacy is believed to be a situational rather than a stable trait. Therefore, understanding that the term principals’ self-efficacy includes certain level of confidence in one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities, which are associated with the task of leading. This has a great importance with respect to the overall managing of schools. Self-efficacy should not be confused with self-esteem or self-concept since it is a task-specific evaluation. In contrast, self-esteem and self-concept reflect more general affective evaluations of the self. Research on principals’ self-efficacy usually includes measures of multidimensional self-efficacy, which enables to capture the various elements of the principals’ work. Few studies have been conducted on the measurement of school principals’ self-efficacy, and most of these are based on the quantitative methodology, emphasizing instruments and scales that describe situations and areas of the principal’s work. Understanding principals’ self-efficacy could assist policymakers with decisions concerning continuing professional development.

Article

Teacher Equity and Cultural Implications for Educational Administration  

Nena Padilla-Valdez and Rosna Awang Hashim

Monumental shifts in education, in situations of leading global changes in the local culture, trigger profound repercussions on teachers. In view of reconstructionism, this article enquires into the evolving nuances of administrative reforms, unfolding the cultural links and reciprocal influences between teacher equity and educational administration. On the premise that reforms are triggers of administrative development, it positions teacher equity—a flexible individualization in a networked relationship—both as an enabling platform and as a cultural tool, to maintain a system in action. It argues that impacting change is envisaged as an arduous initiative when competing interests thrive within the system. To maintain administrative coherence and teaching force productivity, people’s perspectives and responses to change are coherent for the advancement and benefit of the entire system. Developing learning capacities such as adaptation and reconstruction form the critical core of an equity-driven culture. Such is a reiterated call for reciprocal change, a catalytic stimulus generative of equitable pathways that, more often than not, remain unscathed and oblivious to culturally diverse groups. As scholars and experts in administration and development studies grapple with complicated notions about policy reforms and pragmatic practices, this exposition rouses resilience in the discipline, as implicated in the pretext of greater autonomy and accountability. Essentially, it dispels scholarly revulsions and nuances, while newer investigative tools and culturally responsive reforms are underway to be explored and articulated, respectively.