Complexity of School Leadership in the Wake of Teacher Insularity

Complexity of School Leadership in the Wake of Teacher Insularity

Ssali Muhammadi Bisaso (Islamic University in Uganda, Uganda & Hacettepe University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0460-3.ch009
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The interest to all actors and observers within educational arena denotes a long-term trend of expansion of educational professionalism accompanied by a continuous debate about its desirability, and a perennial instability or dynamic of the structures within education systems. Over the years, however, the emphasis placed on shape of professionalism in education systems has varied substantially to reflect the complexity contained therein from a purely managerial and leadership perspective. Moreover, we observe considerable changes of ‘'views and controversies'' concerning the most desirable quality and structure of teacher interaction and professionalism in educational institutions. This chapter explores the state of teacher interaction and collaboration in educational institutions as well as dissecting implications of same for management and leadership in schools. The study is deemed an eye opener to managers, leaders in schools to ‘mind the gap' that is teacher insularity if they are to effectively achieve the very best out of them.
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In today's rapidly developing and changing world, people's life and thinking, values, expectations and problems have changed and with the impact of globalization were in a process in which people influence each other even more. When teachers are considered to be in the center of education and training, then the fact that one of the occupational groups affected most by those developments is the teaching profession becomes an undeniable fact. Therefore in this profession, detection of problems and seeking of solutions continue to be very important phenomena not to be neglected. Dwelling on the problems especially starting from the training process of teachers will have a positive impact on the success of education which is a long-term investment (Demir, 2013). The training should prepare teachers for the daunting and challenging task ahead of them when they become fully fledged teachers within the classroom.

Trygestad (1997) indicates that classes are non-linear systems, chaotic and having unpredictable processes. Teachers respond to chaos with classification method in order to reduce instability and undesired behaviors and to increase stability and rate of behavior. Educators usually indicate that order exists and they deny or underestimate disorder and the errors. They also acknowledge the fact that those errors and disorders are a coincidence. But errors are factors requiring investigation for proper analysis of the system. Errors that we accept as a coincidence in education include information needed for restructuring the system (Radford, 2006).

Today there are many roles and duties which are expected of teachers. These roles are important today as they were in the past and expected to maintain their relevance in the future. Radford (2006) asserts that although duties and responsibilities of teachers are basically the same and indeed form the basis of teaching, changes may occur in some responsibilities due to some details and developments emerging over time.

Indeed today’s schools are more ‘’complex systems than the one-room schools’’ of the past (Cahill, 2010; Cunnigham, 2000; Kara, 2008). However, not much has changed about beliefs, perceptions and expectations about schools today once compared with the situation in the olden days. In the one-room schools of old times, the teacher was responsible for all the instruction of all the students, the maintenance of the building, keeping the stove filled with wood and cleaning the floors (Kara, 2008; Lortie, 1975). In a one-room school, ‘’the teacher was responsible for all that transpired within its four walls. This legacy of independence and isolation remains alive and well in many schools today’’ (Cunningham, 2000; Glickman, 2001). Although the old ‘’one-room school’’ is physically gone, it still pervades the minds and actions of many teachers and administrators of today. Accordingly, although teachers were regarded as people transferring information to students in the past, today teaching is no longer found adequate, instead they need to participate in efforts regarding guiding, predicting future results concerning decisions, engaging social processes and protecting nature (McNeil, 1996)

Issuing from the above premise therefore, with all the pressures they face in the classroom, one might think that teachers would work together to establish strong relationships with their fellow educators. Such relationships could serve to alleviate their self doubt, re-establish self worth and rekindle teacher determination as opined by McPherson (1970). They could help to establish and reinforce the educational aims of the school and facilitate the sharing of workable methods and worthwhile ideas. However a critical and closer look at the contemporary setting of teacher-teacher interaction in schools will only present more and more insularity and superficiality that drives school leadership (management) to the edge of chaos.

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