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Article

David Gurr, Lawrie Drysdale, and Helen Goode

Large, sustained, multinational, and collaborative research networks are becoming more popular because of their power to produce findings that generalize across contexts as well as to provide contextually nuanced views of a phenomenon. In educational leadership, four major projects have been initiated since the beginning of the 21st century: The International Successful School Principalship Project; the International Study of the Preparation of Principals; Leadership for Learning; and the International School Leadership Development. These projects cover from seven to more than 20 countries and have run for 5 or more years. The discussion of these projects provides insight into principal effectiveness research and some guidance to those who seek to collaborate with colleagues nationally and internationally. International projects like these bring the interplay of leadership and context into focus and show that context is important in terms of educational success and how leadership is enacted. Despite the complexity in considering leadership and context, a standout feature of the projects is that across different contexts, there are general findings that emerge, either confirming contemporary understandings or proposing new views through the construction of leadership models, and recommendations emerge that can transcend contexts (such as the need for high-quality but contextually relevant leadership preparation programs). These international comparative projects are important works, as they endeavor to counter the blancmange view of education that comes through the pervasiveness of things like international testing programs and the reliance on meta-analyses.

Article

The effective operation of a school unit relies on various factors, the most critical of which is leadership, as it this which shapes the working environment through which the school succeeds or fails. Indeed, an effective leader can inspire vision and promote educational policy in the interests of the school and other stakeholders. This leadership role in schools is undertaken by head teachers, who are called to act as supervisors of the school’s human resources in parallel with their purely administrative work. In order for school leaders to achieve these outcomes, however, they must be adequately trained so as to be competent in undertaking the arduous task of leading a school unit. Consequently, in order for school leaders to carry out their daunting tasks successfully—in other words, achieve the best possible results with the fewest sacrifices and least effort—they must possess certain knowledge and aptitudes. For this reason, the staffing of the school units in any country (and hence in Greece) with capable school leaders should be the top priority of the State, while measures should be taken to ensure that the processes for selecting school leaders and for their professional development remain objective and systematic, if the country intends to implement an educational policy efficiently and effectively. Taking into account that the school leader is not born but becomes, and that school leaders are central to the administration of a country’s educational system, it is vital that a system of selection and development of schools’ head teachers be institutionalized.