To lead educational change, there are several key factors that must be considered. Among these is the principal’s role in facilitating and supporting change efforts. Principals must be able to overcome their own fears and uncertainties while demonstrating their capacity to support their staff and the curriculum changes that are required to produce optimum student learning.
The principal’s role isn’t limited to assisting with the implementation of change; it may also play a significant role in the overall success of the effort. While this may not be a streamlined process, it can be accomplished with the right guidance and strategies. For example, the principal might decide to engage an external consultant to provide professional learning opportunities and additional resources. Alternatively, he might opt to work on his own by implementing new ideas based on a book on successful school restructuring.
Another key role played by the principal is fostering communication and collaboration amongst his staff. Developing partnerships with colleagues on an ongoing basis can break the habit of defensiveness that might hinder the progress of a school or district. One example is the Critical Friends Group, a bimonthly meeting in which administrators share and discuss best practices. This group is one of the more effective ways to build a collective knowledge base about the needs of teachers and students.
Aside from a supportive administrative role, the principal’s involvement in the change effort must be tempered by the need to improve the culture of the school. If the school’s environment is sterile and stagnant, teachers might be less likely to commit to changes. Similarly, teachers’ perceptions of their own capabilities might be compromised. Therefore, a school leader’s ability to create a more positive climate is vital.
As a result, the principal is a pivotal figure in the successful achievement of a school’s goals. A principal is often called upon to select and prioritize the most important aspects of the learning environment, while identifying those areas which need attention in order to create a more conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning. Moreover, the principal must demonstrate his commitment to these initiatives, by attending the required meetings and training sessions.
In order to lead educational change, there are three primary factors: persistence, drive, and focus. Successful leadership of change requires moving back and forth between the plan and the reality. Specifically, the leader must take into account the possible adverse effects of the change and address them in the most effective manner.
The best leadership is a collaborative approach that brings together educators from all levels of the school system. By doing this, a new learning paradigm can be introduced to schools throughout the district. Furthermore, the resulting innovations can benefit all stakeholders.
The best way to do this is through an effective educational change plan that is guided by a clear strategy. In the end, a unified community of education leaders can unite generations to lead a revolution in learning. However, this will require a lot of hard work and perseverance.