The roles of any organization need to be firmly defined and adequately expressed in order for that organization to reach its highest potential. Within the organization there are different levels of leadership that dictate the flow and style of how those quality inherently resonate within each and every individual within that organization.
The educational system is an adequate if not superior means to test the effects of transformational leadership on the overall performance levels of an any given educational institution. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of transformational and shared instructional leadership on school performance as measured by the quality of pedagogy and the achievement of the students.
In order to accomplish this, this essay will first give background information on the subject of transformational leadership and define key terms that will serve as a basis for the argument. The next section of this writing will be a review of the literature involved with the varying topics defined. Next, to help formulate new opinions and bring a new perspective to the research, a new set of questions will be posed to hypothesize changes to the ideas. The methods of this testing will then be discussed before the implications of those conclusions are revealed.
To best understand the argument, key terms and idea must be communicated in an appropriate fashion. In dealing with the subject of leadership, the qualities inherent within the idea are very nebulous and often hard to pin down, making the subject difficult to communicate at some levels without a groundwork of fundamental terms is laid out in a substantial fashion. Education is both an art and a science where ideas and models must be aligned with other more human qualities that do not always fit in such molds. It is therefore the role of the leader within the organization to bring out these qualities and define roles in adequate fashion.
Burns' Theory of Leadership
The idea of transformational leadership may be traced back more than 30 years agoe when James McGregor Burns coined the idea in his sociology research. He fundamentally broke down the role of leadership into two categories, transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership represents and focuses on the relationship itself between the leader and the follower and transformational leadership is focused on the believes and values of the followers. " (Burns. 2003).
What is key in Burns' proposal is that leading and managing are two separate approaches to accomplishing a mission. The personal aspects associated with Burns' model suggests that leaders, and especially in an educational environment, must rely on more natural and intuitive forces that attract the emotional forces of their subordinates in order to create an atmosphere of growth that fosters learning and respects the individual.
Quality of Pedagogy
As mentioned before, teaching is both an art and science. Pedagogy is the term used to define this professional approach to teaching. When discussing the quality of pedagogy, it is important to remember and understand, that teaching and education contain both an objective and subjective aspect to the discipline. The tendency to ignore the more subtle and human aspects of learning may or may not be reflected within the quality of a pedagogy within a given organization.
By definition, qualitative ideas are just that, qualities. Quantization of such data can of course be accomplished and may need to be in order to fully grasp the ideas presented in the research, but inference must be added, another qualitative approach. It is necessary to find a strong balance between the modeling aspects of the brain and the more spatial, feminine side of the brain in order to truly relate this research to the proper audience and at the proper perspective that can allow the reader to adopt such ideas.
Unlike pedagogy, student achievement is something that can be grasped by the more scientific mind. The mathematical tools available to the research may find many avenues of approach to highlight how student achievement may be attained within an organization. The rudimentary process of grading is the most basic measure of student achievement and can be dissected and rearranged in different statistical formations to infer other aspects about the influence of the teacher and the leadership qualities exhibited by those professionals.
Relying too much on grades and student achievement as a gauge for overall learning, and therefore overall effectiveness, is quite common and reveals the importance of striking a strong balance between quality and quantity. This pulling and pushing of ideas is necessary and requires a trained and disciplined mind to allow new ideas to enter and be incorporated into the larger scheme of things. Science itself is about inductive reasoning and being able to interpret results though experience and process. In the educational system, leadership and human interaction are key ingredients to its well being and the need to experiment, dare and ask questions becomes a necessity in today's judging environment.
Teamwork is a hallmark quality that must be adhered to in any organizational situation. The consistency of the message from higher must be strong and vibrant if any leadership changes are to be manifested into actual material results. At the heart of the educational system is the relationship between teacher and principle. This important pathway of communication is the main route of information of ideals and practices that must remain undistorted and free of bias and judgment.
Marks & Printy (2003), agreed with this idea and dedicated a study to the integration of transformational leadership as measured by this cooperation by teacher and principle. These researchers conducted a study in which 24 schools were selected to measure school restructuring efforts that represented 16 states and 22 school districts. In this study teachers responded to a survey asking them about their instructional practices, professional development and perceptions of their schools. Interviews were also conducted to gather additional information from key players within each school as well.
The results of this data were synthesized into ideas that were to comment on the ability of leadership to transform the recently reconstructed schools. The authors eventually concluded that "teachers have both the desire and the expertise to lead. We argue that our findings demonstrate the importance of cultivating teacher leadership for enhanced school performance. In summary, the integrated view of leadership we propose highlights the synergistic power of leadership shared by individuals throughout the school organization," (p.295).
Transformational leadership is lauded quite extensively in this research, however the lack of testability and variation in success suggests that there may be more than just transformational leadership involved in any given success.
Dichotomy: Transformational vs. Instructional Leadership
Hallinger (2003) introduced the idea that all educational development is divided into two camps of leadership. One is the transformational model, the other is the instructional model. These two components are generally accepted as mainstream science within the field. The authors of this research compared these two ideas in an effort to reveal more about the distinct qualities of each, and which if any, are more appropriate for educational organizations and the teaching profession.
The author implied that instructional leadership is primarily driven from the top down in a hierarchical manner. Instructional leaders are noted as being goal-orientated, hands on and driven by results. Furthermore a three dimensional model is presented to define this approach. These include: defining the school's mission, managing the instructional program and promoting a positive school-learning climate. These distinctions are important as the fine subtleties in these qualities differ from the opposing viewpoint.
In summing up transformational leadership the authors suggested "In contrast, transformational leadership is often considered a type of shared or distributed leadership. Rather than a single individual -- the principal -- coordinating and controlling from above, transformational leadership focuses on stimulating change through bottom-up. Indeed, transformational leadership models may explicitly conceptualize leadership as an organizational entity rather than the property of a single individual, accounting for multiple sources of leadership, " (p.138). The dichotomy of this relationship is very strong and may have the possibility of falsely creating boundaries where there in fact be none.
The author suggests however that in the end, no method is preferable to the other, as it is the character of the leader itself that truly drives the organization. While it is tempting to correct the many flaws of instructional leadership with transformational leadership techniques, the author warned "the available evidence suggests that transformational leadership is no easier to exercise than instructional leadership. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of integrated leadership, both transformational and instructional, in eliciting the instructional leadership of teachers for improving school performance."
The Impact of the Principal
The archetypical qualities that are represented within the school principle are powerful symbols of how leadership can be used in accordance with human nature. Unlike the teacher, there is a larger responsibility that is carried out by the principal of any school. In many ways the leadership style of the school itself, will mirror those leadership qualities demonstrated by the…