Martinette V. Horner, Derrick D. Jordan, and Kathleen M. Brown
Academic optimism was developed in 2006 as a latent concept that provides insight into the improvement of student outcomes especially for those who, because of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and other demographics, have historically been labeled as underperforming. The three main components of academic optimism (academic emphasis, collective emphasis, and faculty trust) underscore the reality that the teachers, parents, and students all play a critical role in the education arena when it comes to ensuring that students fully grow and stretch to the fullest extent possible. High academic optimism in a school suggests that academic achievement is valued and supported; the faculty has the capacity to help students achieve; and students and parents can be trusted as partners of the school for student achievement. Each of these can be controlled by the actions and decisions of school leaders and faculty so that schools can overcome the effects of poverty on student achievement.
Sarimah binti Shaik-Abdullah, S. Kanageswari Suppiah Shanmugam, and Mohan Chinappan
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
The quality of education in any country rests on school communities as a whole. However, the real implementers of innovations and changes in curriculum are teachers. Teachers, as practitioners, are the ones most often held accountable for successes and failures in educating schoolchildren. The way to facilitate teachers in handling challenges and keeping up with curriculum renewals is through constant support in the form of continuous professional development (CPD) by means of action research. Action research as CPD has been viewed as a critical platform for advocating change, which is the outcome of teachers’ ability and autonomy to lead in making informed decisions about their own practices. Given its usefulness, action research is found well established, vastly practiced, and widely published in the Western countries. This has raised the question of the spread of action research as CPD in the Southeast Asian region. Preliminary analysis reveals that in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Timor Leste, there is limited literature on action research, while in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, action research has been well documented. At the same time, there’s an emerging trend in Southeast Asian countries to adopt different models of action research. In Malaysia, for instance, action research has been primarily classroom based, whereas in Indonesia, a critical and community-based approach to action research seems to be prevalent. This suggests that the kinds of action research conducted in the different Southeast Asian countries may reflect variations in cultural, economic, and geographic landscapes. Given the importance of action research to teacher practitioners and school leaders, and in providing an identity to the action research approaches conducted in Southeast Asia, the historical trail of action research presents a window to the nature of CPD concerns of each country, as well as the successes and challenges of conducting action research as CPD for sustained impact.
Community participation in school management has great potentials for removing mistrust and distance between people and schools by nurturing transparency of information and a culture of mutual respect and by jointly pursuing improvement of school by sharing vision, process, and results. Individual and organizational behavioral changes are critical to increase the level of participation. In countries where the administrative structures are weak, the bottom-up approach to expanding educational opportunity and quality learning may be the only option.
Nevertheless, when community participation is implemented with a top-down manner without wider consultation on its aims, processes, and expected results, the consequences are likely to be conflicts between actors, a strong sense of overwhelming obligation, fatigue, inertia, and disparity in the degree and results of community participation between communities. Political aspects of school management and socio-cultural difference among the population require caution, as they are likely to induce partial participation or nonparticipation of the community at large. Community participation in school management will result in a long-term impact only if it involves a wide range of actors who can discuss and practice the possibilities of revisiting the definition of community and the way it should be.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
In the context of educational leadership, for a manager to be effective, the application of Contingency and Situational theory underlines the importance of analyzing the current situation and the variables affecting the organization's framework. Whichever education system we are referring to, it is virtually meaningless to study leadership styles without recognizing the significance of the school context. School is a complex organization, an open system that appears to be a very uncertain environment. To have an effective leadership in this uncertainty, school should be examined with a holistic approach. Many leaders show high levels of uncertainty avoidance by applying standard operating procedures or by making traditional bureaucratic responses in every case. Contingency and Situational theory could give school leaders the opportunity to further refine management policies and practices.
Contingency theory is based on the assumption that no single leadership style is appropriate in all situations. According to this theory, leadership style is quite inflexible. Organizational effectiveness depends on matching internal organizational characteristics with environmental conditions. Therefore, effective leadership depends on whether a leader's style matches the needs of the individual case. This theory applies better to educational systems where principal selection is done through an open recruitment process. One useful tool of this theory is contingency planning or forecasting, a process of identifying the major contingencies and preparing in advance responses and strategies for future conditions and events. This procedure intends to diminish the levels of uncertainty. However, situational theory dictates that leaders adapt their style to match their staff's characteristics and requirements. In educational systems like the Greek one, where the recruitment and selection of school principals lies with central government, situational theory can be a useful tool for principals. When principals are placed in a new school, they should choose the best course of action based upon the current circumstances. Leaders should consider the readiness/maturity level of their followers by analyzing the group’s willingness and ability. Depending on the level of these variables, they should choose the amount of direction and the amount of socio-emotional support they are going to provide. Flexibility is the key in managing a team effectively. The main difference between the two theories is that, in the first case, we put the right person in the right job, while in the second, leaders adjust their style depending on school context.
Roxanne M. Mitchell
Scholars have suggested that the study of school leadership has been dominated by Anglo-American and Western views. This has provoked a call for conceptual and empirical research on school leadership using a cross-cultural perspective. In their 2005 work, Dimmock and Walker provided a comprehensive Framework for the Study of Cross-Cultural School Leadership that responded to the deficit of non-Western views. They, along with others, have argued that principals play a vital role in shaping school culture and that there is a need to expand our conceptualization of culture to include organizational, local, regional, national, and global culture.
Hofstede’s Model and the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) research program, initiated by Robert House in 1991, are examples of empirical models for the study of cross-cultural leadership. Ylimaki and Jacobson’s (2011) International Study of Successful School Principals (ISSPP) examined the common cross-cultural practices and policy concerns across seven global educational contexts. Their findings pointed to some common policy concerns that involve accountability, principal preparation, and the need for principals who are culturally competent. They stressed the importance of rigorous systematic research studies, reliable and valid instruments, and reconsideration of philosophies about educational administration that incorporate non-Western views and utilize a cross-cultural perspective. Some common practices cross-culturally included having high expectations, engaging in instructional and transformational leadership, shared leadership with teachers, capacity development, heroic leadership that challenged the status quo, and an emphasis on continuous learning and professional development.
Carlos Azcoitia, Karen Carlson, and Ted Purinton
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Effective community school leaders build strong, reciprocal, and sustainable partnerships to support student growth and strengthen families and communities. Developing authentic alliances among teachers, parents, and community stakeholders builds a climate of trust and positive relationships to strengthen democratic schools. Educational outcomes are influenced by social and academic contexts as well as school and non-school factors. The greatest influence on students is the family, and the greatest influence on the family is the community. The combination of a quality learning experience in the classroom with the integration of families and community is critical for student success.
Community school leaders cross traditional role boundaries and build cross-cultural fluency while balancing managerial concerns, navigating politics and external accountability pressures, and fostering shared accountability. Community organizing strategies enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods, empower parents to take an active role in the education of their children, and build a sense of belonging, equitable practices, and a focus on social justice education.
Successful leaders make this look easy, yet the interplay of a leader’s knowledge base, skill sets, and dispositions to transform the school community is complex.
David Middlewood and Ian Abbott
Schools where staff members are heavily committed to their own learning as much as the students’ are seen as professional learning communities. The development of staff learning occurs through continuous examination of and reflection on practice and sharing the outcomes with colleagues. This examination often takes the form of structured in-house professional learning inquiry, leading to the growth of a research-based culture, enabling professional insights and leading to school improvement. School leaders are important in facilitating and developing such cultures.
Collaboration between schools, including those in quite different contexts, is growing rapidly this century, and where the collaborating schools are learning communities, the potential enrichment for all involved, within a federation or academy chain for example, is considerable. Such communities and the collaboration between them take time to develop, and barriers to progress exist, including a tension between collaboration and competition in some systems. The answer lies in a commitment to mutual learning, to the benefit of all those concerned, including the students themselves.
Anthony J. "Sonny" Magana III
Of the many stated purposes of organized educational systems, one that might meet with general agreement is this: to ensure students build abundant learning capacity, achieve ample academic proficiency, and consolidate the requisite knowledge, skills, and aptitudes to successfully address future learning challenges. As computer technologies have transformed nearly every human endeavor imaginable, future learning challenges that students encounter will almost certainly require facility with digital technologies. In the realm of teaching and learning, the average impact of computer technology on student achievement has been both negligible and unchanged, despite astonishing technological developments since the 1960s.
However, there is cause for renewed optimism about technology use in education. Compounding evidence suggests that large gains in student achievement are possible when digital tools are leveraged to enhance highly reliable instructional and learning strategies. The objective of the author’s investigation efforts is to develop a more precise language and set of ideas to discuss, enact, and evaluate high impact uses of digital tools in education. The result is the T3 Framework for Innovation in Education. The T3 Framework increments the impact of technology use into three hierarchical domains: Translational, Transformational, and Transcendent. Compounding evidence suggests that implementing the strategies in the T3 Framework, with reasonable fidelity, will likely increase the impact of digital technologies to unlock students’ limitless capacities for learning and contribution, and better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s learning challenges.
China has a long history of education, and its institutionalized educational administration can be traced back more than 2,000 years. Since then, the educational administration system has evolved with the development of society, politics, economy, and culture, and an educational administration system with significant Chinese characteristics has been formed.
The current educational administration system in China is stipulated by different laws and regulations of the country. The State Council and local governments are responsible for guiding and administering educational work at various levels and according to particular administrative principles. Such an educational administration system in China is related not only to the history of the centralized culture, but also to the administration system of the country.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the world is undergoing profound changes, and China is currently at a key stage for reform and development. World multi-polarization, globalization of economy, development of knowledge economy, dramatic changes in science and technology, competition for talent worldwide, and industrialization, informatization, urbanization, marketization, and internationalization trends in China all pose severe challenges to education and its administration. At the same time, there remain some serious problems to be solved in educational administration.
Facing these challenges and problems, the Chinese government has called for reforms to promote and modernize the educational governance system. The new educational governance system emphasizes empowerment, autonomy, shared governance, social participation in policy making, and administration.
The nature of practices of educational leaders and their outcome in terms of productivity and teacher motivation are greatly shaped by the sociocultural norms that regulate them. The sociocultural norms proposed by Hofstede are widely considered as the benchmark for national cultural examination and comparison, which suggests that collectivist cultures are characterized by higher scores on power distance and uncertainty avoidance, and lower on individualism, masculinity, long-term orientation, and indulgence. These dimensions may exert positive, negative, or mixed influence, especially on organizations such as schools that constitute intricate work structures with a variety of stakeholders influencing them from multiple directions.
Educational leadership for effective change in school requires the ability to integrate traditional sociocultural norms with the global principles for effective outcomes. Providing autonomous work environments has been widely found to be the most effective of these principles that lead to higher productivity and enhanced teacher motivation. In the context of work-organization, self-determination theory (SDT) has emerged as an effective motivational theory that proposes autonomy, competence, and relatedness as three universal psychological needs; satisfaction of these needs would predict optimal outcomes. Just like their individualistic culture counterparts, it is possible for school leaders in predominantly collectivist cultures to function in a need-supporting way for their teachers to yield desired outcomes.
Serkan Koşar, Didem Koşar, and Kadir Beycioglu
Family engagement and school leadership are among the most influential collaborations in schools, and family engagement is probably one of the most debated topics in educational research. Parental involvement can be considered as the active participation of parents in all aspects of their children’s social, emotional, and academic development. Parents may be involved in a wide range of issues in school and at home, such as discipline, the academic future of their children, homework, success, achievement, and school activities, among others. Researchers from different disciplines have recognized the importance of family involvement or parental engagement and attempted to determine parents’ influences on their children’s schooling.
Significant research telling the stories of women’s experiences in the superintendency has been conducted only since the 1980s. Much of that research has been focused on white women, with fewer studies of women leaders of color. By the beginning of the new century, there were more women in the pipeline for the superintendency—more women in graduate educational leadership programs, more women in the elementary principalship, and more women in central office positions. Data from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) 2015 Study of the American Superintendent show that while increases have been made throughout the years, females make up only 27 percent of the superintendency, up only 2 percent from 2010. This stands in direct contrast to the female-dominated teaching force. Given that the position of teacher is the first step in the pathway toward the superintendency, women are clearly underrepresented as superintendents across the country. This problem has been a topic for many researchers, practicing academics, and doctoral students who choose the topic as research for dissertations.
Anna Saiti and Theodoros Stefou
With the hierarchical approach, duties are delegated from the upper to the lower levels of hierarchical structure. This system is known as “a pyramid organization” and is characterized by an echelon arrangement that gives the impression of a pyramid. This kind of structure is the simplest type of work distribution and is based upon the Fayol principles, namely, the unity of administration and hierarchical scale. Certainly, this system of organizational structure (as with any system) has both advantages and disadvantages. A hierarchical approach expresses the classical view of the organizational structure and may be implemented in any kind or size of organization. Although the extent of power delegation at the organizational level is dependent on the level of centralization and/or decentralization of organizational decision making and the level of division of the work, the hierarchical approach is a common managerial structure type for large organizations in the public domain. If organizations are to enhance employees’ motivation and team spirit then employees’ perceptions are an important element to work with. Within this framework, individuals in the military and educational sector are working in a rather sensitive working environment that is quite different from other sectors.
Leadership is without doubt the most essential part of any organization and is key for the efficient performance and continued development of an organization. Flexible networks, open communication processes, and leaders with vision and a creative, constructive, and positive spirit favorably affect employees’ feelings and enhance innovation and fluidity. Taking into consideration that a highly hierarchical system may adversely affect incentives to exert effort, as well as the efficiency of communication channels, one may consider the importance of the contribution of a leader and the development of leadership as an acute issue that significantly impacts staff morale and efficient performance, especially in the military and educational sectors.
Interdisciplinary curricula provide students the opportunity to work with knowledge drawn from multiple disciplines. Following suit, interdisciplinary learning requires interaction of knowledge from different disciplines; integration of knowledge from different disciplines; and an overarching topic, theme, or problem that shapes the learning experience. Since the university curriculum is commonly structured by academic disciplines, and faculty are socialized to their respective disciplinary norms, interdisciplinarity is a complex endeavor for colleges and universities. These endeavors include developing interdisciplinary courses, sustaining interdisciplinary initiatives, and financing interdisciplinary programs.
Given the multiple challenges facing 21st-century society, the question of interdisciplinarity is urgent. How knowledge is defined and disseminated; how and what students learn; and how higher education can be responsive to its external environment are crucial issues facing educators. Responding to these issues does not diminish the role of the discipline in education, but rather acknowledges that knowledge is unbounded and potential discoveries lie outside compartmentalized structures.
James H. Williams
This article looks broadly at the intersection of education, development, and international cooperation. It discusses trends in international cooperation in education for developing countries as well as ongoing challenges. Education has expanded rapidly throughout the world. Even so, the industrialized nations are decades if not generations ahead of parts of the developing world in terms of enrollment and learning attainment. For reasons of equity and economic development alone, it is imperative that all efforts be put to the task of achieving universal school enrollment and learning. To achieve such a goal in the context of what some researchers have termed a 100-year gap requires efforts on the part of national governments and international cooperation on the part of all nations of the world. International cooperation in education includes: (1) the institutions and architecture of international organizations; (2) development assistance, which is closely related; and (3) international agreements to promote education and other development goals. In a broad sense, these initiatives can be seen as moving toward increasingly cooperative relationships between wealthier nations and developing countries. International institutions involved in education include various agencies of the United Nations (UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR) as well as multilateral development banks (the World Bank, IMF, IDA, etc.); regional development banks (Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, etc.); and bilateral development agencies. Development assistance is provided in the form of technical and financial assistance to national governments by bilateral development agencies, the multilateral development agencies, UN agencies, as well as an increasing number of non-governmental agencies (NGOs). The UN Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are foundational documents laying out the rights of all children to education and the obligation of governments to ensure children have access to quality education. Several global initiatives have led the way toward increasing educational participation in developing countries, including Education for All, the Millennium Development Goals, the UN Global Education First Initiative, and the Sustainable Development Goals. The article concludes with a listing of trends in educational development.
Coaching for school leaders is becoming commonplace in the United States. The responsibilities of school leaders have changed dramatically since the early 21st century, and coaching is often seen as a viable and necessary support for those leaders. The advent of legislation, including the No Child Left Behind act in 2001 and more recently the introduction of the Common Core standards, has been instrumental in shifting school leadership from a primarily managerial perspective to that of instructional and transformational leadership. In such a rapidly changing environment, leadership coaching holds promise for school leaders faced with not only operational and personnel management but also leading dynamic change processes in the arenas of curriculum and instruction. Leadership coaching usually involves coaching from a superior within the school district or from an external public or private organization. Successful leadership coaching takes into account the characteristics of the leader and also the context in which the coaching takes place.
Sefika Mertkan and Ciaran Sugrue
Leadership has received unprecedented attention in the educational leadership literature. With only a few skeptics rolling their eyes, the importance of leaders in educational reform and school improvement now goes uncontested while the search for effective leadership—the Holy Grail of educational effectiveness and improvement—continues. That leaders, motivated by moral purpose, bring about change uplifting “failing” schools is the common perception. Apart from an exceptionally small number of studies, educational leadership research has generally focused on effective leadership, the implicit assumption being that leadership, by default, is positive and leaders are always well-intended, even if not always highly effective in the execution of their responsibilities. Destructive forms of leadership that would eventually harm followers or the organization have been virtually neglected. Regardless of the silence on the dark side of leadership, however, a limited number of studies, mainly from the business field and, to a much lesser extent, from the public sector and schooling, suggest that negative or even destructive forms of leadership may be more widespread than is popularly perceived. Recent portrayals of contemporary educational leadership suggest that the field needs to be re-conceptualized and re-calibrated in ways that acknowledge, rather than ignore, leaders’ frailties and the use and abuse of power by leaders with darker dispositions. This review of the leadership literature needs to find a new settlement, a rapprochement between the positives and the negatives, the transformative and the destructive as a means of recapitulating the field with more wide-eyed and real-world characteristics and achievements, where leaders and followers alike can survive and thrive while engaged in leadership praxis for everyday life and work.
Norazlinda Saad and Paramjit Kaur
Organizational theory comprises various approaches to organizational analysis and attempts to explain the mechanisms of organizations. Organizations represent structured social units that are managed to meet specific aims and needs as well as to pursue shared goals visions. Various disciplines and bodies of knowledge have contributed to organizational theory. Some of the theories of organization are the classical theory, neoclassical theory, contingency theory, human relations theory, and modern systems theory. These theories draw upon multiple perspectives including modern and postmodernist views. In education management and policy, organizational theories need to be understood within the micro and macro realms of educational settings. Another aspect that impacts organizational theory especially within educational settings is organizational culture. Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, beliefs, and values that governs how people in an organization behave and act. Shared values and beliefs in organizations that evolve over the years strongly influence how members of an organization behave and perform their duties and tasks among others. Every organization develops and maintains a unique culture that acts as a guide and conditions the behavior and roles of the members of the respective organizations. Organizational culture can be understood by examining the levels of organizational culture that include artifacts of the organization, advocated values, and underlying assumptions within the organization. There are also various principles that govern organizational culture that may help explain organizations and their members. Within organizational theories, it is also important to examine how organizational culture impacts various practices of organizations and how organizational culture governs and shapes members and the aims of organizations. The various organizational theories and the organizational culture perspective can provide better understanding of organizations and their members and practices, especially within educational settings and contexts.
Bruce G. Barnett
The growing economic and employment disparities between members of different socioeconomic groups often paint a bleak future for people living in marginalized communities. These conditions are reflected in many low-performing urban schools where dropouts, behavioral problems, and poor academic performance prevail. In the United States, large numbers of adolescents have a sense of hopelessness, particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups. Despite these challenging circumstances, school leaders are well positioned to build these urban students’ hope for a bright future. Using hope theory—goal development, agency, and pathways—as a foundation, the article describes ways school leaders can become agents of hope, which is reinforced by research from an international study of leadership in low-performing schools. The article concludes by examining how leadership preparation and development programs can influence aspiring and practicing school leaders’ capacities to become agents of hope.
Ann Briggs and Marianne Coleman
Research in educational leadership and management spans settings from early childhood to tertiary education and life-long learning. From its mid-20th-century beginnings as a tool for organizing educational systems, the wide range of methodologies in present use reflects the shifting focus of the field. The current mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches indicates differing epistemological stances and a range of purposes from instrumental responses to government policy initiatives, through investigation of issues of social justice, to personal enquiry into leadership influence on environments for learning. Research in the field encompasses the values and dilemmas underpinning educational leadership roles, the enactment of middle leadership, teacher leadership and student leadership, and includes leaders conducting research to improve their own practice.
Multiple aspects of decision-making are involved in educational leadership research. The philosophical assumptions of researchers inform their positivist or interpretivist stance and the associated choices of quantitative or qualitative methodology. The external drivers of the investigation, together with its purpose and scope, influence the choice of research approach —for example, data-mining, survey, case study, action research—and technique—interview, questionnaire, documentary analysis, narrative, and life-history. These approaches and techniques in turn invite a range of analytical methods, from statistical modeling, systematic qualitative data analysis and discourse analysis to auto-ethnographic critical reflection and reflective narrative. The interpretation of the analysis hinges on the purpose of the research: to understand, inform, improve, or bring about change.
Twenty-first-century challenges for the field include expanding theory beyond a largely Western-centric focus; responding to the development of new theories of leadership, including the voice of non-leaders in perspectives on leadership; ensuring that research informs policy rather than vice versa; and addressing the sheer volume and nature of data available through emerging technologies.