Category Archives: School leaders

Views on educational supervision.

leadersLike everything else in the area of education,supervision is undergoing many changes.I still remember many stories of teachers trembling of fear for days and maybe weeks upon knowing that the ‘inspector’ is visiting them.I have seen cases of teachers who have never prepared a lesson plan,fortunately not a lot, and they ask other colleagues to lend them their lesson plan on the day of the ‘inspector”s visit.This reminds me of old women borrowing their friends’  dress for a wedding party! I still remember  story,I was told, of a teacher leaving the inspector in the classroom because he did not prepare his lesson.

This might show a lot about the image which teachers held or still hold about what was once called the inspector ,in fact the same title is still used officially today,though the role is no longer  the same.

It used to be the case that the inspector had the role of going into classrooms and inspecting teachers,maybe trying to pinpoint their mistakes,and sometimes even forcing mistakes out even though none was there.I still doubt if those inspectors came into the teacher with a constructive intention!I am not going to generalize;yet,we all heard of stories where inspectors thought that their mission was to ask a series of ‘where is…?’ questions,hoping that they would fall on something the teacher missed preparing or bringing to class.Such inspectors didn’t know that their main job is to help teachers improve their teaching practices for the sake of better improving the quality of students’ achievement.

I have seen that the profession both of teaching and supervision is undergoing many changes,I hope that the impact that will affect the destination (learners) will be positive.Today,the title ‘inspector’ should be revisited for the sake of appropriately describing what the function of this person really is.Many people have already started using the term ‘supervisor’.I think this term carries less of the ‘go for the hunt’ connotations that are associated with the term ‘inspector’.I am now aware that today’s new generation of supervisors are themselves unwilling to use the term ‘inspector’ anymore.

Today’s supervisors should be equiped with the skills and willingness to defend the students’ interests and to do that they should be no more than supportive to teachers,in every aspects of the teaching profession.Spervisors should have enough knowledge and skills to deal with the new methodological situations.These situations,today,shouldn’t be only related to the teaching of the basic language skills such as reading and writing;yet,they are more of a new nature because our students are dealing with the new technologies,webtools,gadgets and applications.Supervisors should train themselves,now that official training in that area is lacking or inefficient,on how to help teachers,hence students,on how to exploit these new learning tools for the sake of communicating better with the world.That’s one mission,which is stated but not well-targeted in our educational documents and policies.

Today,supervisors should help teachers to rely more on themselves for their professional development.This can happen by creating learning communities (virtual or real).The supervisor’s mission ,then,is to create the conditions  in which teachers gather,exchange ideas and grow together.We all know of cases where some of our best teachers have very innovative and effecient practices and they keep them for themselves,not because they are unwilling to share them;yet,the  necessary conditions for sharing are not provided.

Today,I suppose that any ‘where is …(this or that)?’ question from a supervisor should be justified with pedagogic reasons.Teachers should see the relevance and importance of any document or suggestion ….only then can they be ready to change their views and habits.It’s obviously useless and also painful to ask someone to prepare something without telling them the reason why and sometimes even how.It would ,of course, seem as a sort of punishment to tell a teacher that he/she should adopt a certain method or technique without being able to see the rationale and the effect that is going to have on students.That’s what’s happening to our students today,abd that’s why their achievement is far below the expectations.Our students are not told about the meaning and relevance of what they are doing at school,and so it’s somehow justified if they see ‘meaninglesness’ in everything around them.So,for the process to have a positive impact on learning,teachers should see the ‘meaning’ of what they are doing or told to do,and they have in turn to share that ‘meaningfulness’ with their learners.

I hope this blog is not too long for you to read.Please feel free to put forward your ideas and comments.

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21st C leaders for students to learn and for teachers to teach.

idepted to the producer of this picture,whom I don't really know because it's shred on facebook pages.I am not a school headmaster;but,I think that those looking at headmasters and administrators from the outside are more qualified to talk about the deadly aspects of a school leader.I have been teaching for my tenth year now,and I think that  I have gathered enough data about what I think really describes the worst school leader.Here I am disclosing some of those features that you might have also seen or heard about somewhere.

It’s really a good thing for a school leader to listen to his/her colleagues,and have consultants and advisors within and outside  his/her school.It’s a necessity today for any leader to cooperate and work within a group system.Yet,one of the worst mistakes that undermine the image of the leader in the eyes of his/her colleagues and co-workers is when the decisions taken by the leader are not his/her own,and they harm more than they cure the school and the students’ interests.It’s unfortunate that so many decisions are taken by others and put into practice by the school leader without even weighing the effects.

It’s also a deadly mistake for a leader when he/she’s no longer inspiring the school.Leaders should take initiatives,give ideas,guidance and advice for teachers and students as well.Some head teachers are only there and the educational adminstration,unfortunately, knows that he/she’s only filling the gap of the “head leader”.What’s the use of a “useless” leader? What roles is he/she really doing in school if not helping to make learning possible and to make growth and success the story of his/her school?It’s so sad that many school leaders do nothing more than watch who is present and who is absent today and the same tomorrow! A thing that shouldn’t be his/her job in the first place because that’s far under the position of a “leader”.

The other terrible  feature of a school leader is when he/she is killing both the students and the teachers,and depriving them of their motivation and enthusiasm for a better school life.So many school leaders really destroy “their” school by the decisions they take,consciously or unconsciously.So many things are meant  to be positive,and they end being no more than a failure.To err is human;however,it’s too hard when a mistake affects a  whole generation; a whole nation.And that’s why making mistakes is really tough on the society in the domain of education.Enough about this!

So “childish” for a leader is when he/she gets into minor “conflicts” with the teachers or the students.Many school leaders pay too much attention to watching minute details about everything that’s happening in school that they forget about the big projects that the school is in need of.Who will deal with big issues when the headmaster is the one who deals with “absurdities”? It’s the leader’s job to have more open eyes on the outside of his/her school than on what’s happening inside.It’s the outside where he/she should find partnership realtions that will make the school a better learning place for everyone.

So sarcastic and laughter triggering when a school leader is afraid of spending the budget of the school.It’s for spending not for keeping for the coming year.There are many of the school heads who want to get  an “EXCELLENT” observation from their superiors for having kept the money as it was sent to the school’s account.What’s worse is when the leader thinks that asking partners and sponsors for finantial help is “too much”! Some of them think that they are going to pay their own money!

Education is an adventure.We want our students to take risks.It’s NOT POSSIBLE as long as the teachers and leaders don’t take risks.I hope it’s not too long!

The leaders we need for the 21st century Moroccan schools.

I have seen a story today in my school,and it has kept me wondering about the future of our schools considering the type of leaders we have in the present time.

The story of today has pushed my thinking to write a post on what I think are the most important qualities that a school leader should have for our schools to endorse some of the 21st Century leadership skills.

Our leaders have to understand that it’s high time for them to consider themselves as hosts in their schools and not as supreme leaders.When leaders understand that school belongs to all those who are withing its walls,and to some of those outside as well,the community,only then can they take into consideration the others when they want to take any decision.

This leads us to another quality that is needed in our current educational leaders.Decisions have to be taken in a sharing and collaborative way within the school boards and bodies.Leadership is sharing and collaborating not  taking unidirectional and bureaucratic decisions despite the rest of the school community.Students are there,and they are directly affected by any decision that is taken by their leaders.That’s why it’s necessary to take their existence and role into the utmost priority.Many  wrong decisions are taken in their absence and they just accept them because they trust us.The leaders should know that they are responsible for those kids,and they really have to care for them.

Leadership,we should assume,comes from the bottom not from the top.Our leaders should understand that what gives them power is those whom they “administer” and not those who have appointed them.This means that decisions should be taken with respect to the needs, the conditions and the environment of those who are to be affected.School leaders don’t have to execute non-practical and unsuitable  plans and decisions.This would be possible only if we take the children in our schools as ours,not as means to make money or to be promoted.

Today,we also need leaders who know how to motivate and boost their partners’ self-esteem and motivation.A lot of things inhibit a teacher’s and a student’s work in and outside school,and the school leader shouldn’t add more burden to the school stakeholders.In our schools,there should be leaders who know how to make differences between the different people who are under their supervision.These differences should stop being on “friendship” and personal relations.They should be made on professional performance and efficacy.

Linked to this is that our leaders should stop evaluating the performance of the teacher in a half in hour observation or depending on what they get from other people within or outside school.Evaluating a teachers’ efficacy has to be on  a long term process.It should be made depending on the teacher’s overall performance,on the students’ results,on the teacher-student relations, not on the teacher-administration relations.

ooooh,it’s in the end but so heavy I think.Today’s leaders have to be “literate”.They have to be equipped with some of the 21st century skills.It’s still so sad to find out that our leaders in schools are ICT illiterate.It makes me so desperate to find out that leaders think of the computer as a waste of time,and see the internet as a tool that instills bad behavior into our school life.It’s so killing to find out leaders who are scared of the student’s mobile camera and of facebook or twitter.Most of them know nothing about social networking sites except what they heard during the Lybian and the Egyptian uprisings.Leaders of today should have access to web tools that should be of great benefit to everyone in school.The leaders of today should know that a mobile phone is not bad in itself.It’s just the way we use or see it.They have to know that a mobile can be used to take photos,photos can be used in projects,projects develop speaking,listening ,reading…if this is what they -leaders-assume to be learning.

ah,again,our leaders should know that learning is not only within the walls of an enclosed classroom.They should be taught that learning takes place every where within and outside school.They should learn that extra-curricular activities are vital to an adolescent’s life,just the same as play is for a four year old child.Leaders of our present schools have to know that presentations,drama,singing,drawing…build different things.At least they make school loved and enjoyable.

For all these qualities to be in our leaders,they have to read,research,communicate and above all they have to listen to what the school says.

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