Characteristics of failing schools
I intended to include this section of characteristics of failing schools so that head teachers, directors and teachers can together work around these issues and make their schools better institutions where the goals of students, teachers and school governors can be achieved. This part gives comparable sides of activities centered behavior and results oriented behavior so that readers can think of the ideal situations and build working parameters themselves.
It is meant for effective leadership of our schools’ success. Effective leaders pursue clear-cut goals they want to achieve. In the absence of specific goals for people to work toward, confusion arises. Here is an outline of such activity centered characteristics as opposed to results oriented performance;
1. Unclear purpose/goals:
Head teachers, teachers and management teams tend to be more concerned with what they are doing and how well they may be doing it, than with why they are doing it and the outcomes expected from their actions. On contrary, in any successful school, people have a clear idea of what they want results they are attempting to accomplish through their actions. E.g. academically improved standards.
2. Reaction to problems:
There is no pro-acting. People tend to spend much of their time and energy reacting to problems, to crisis after crisis. There seems to be no planning a head, and people tend to wait until problems come to them for their attention and action. On contrary, in any successful school, there is planning ahead and all actions are purposely directed toward achieving the desired results. This is called pro-acting.
3. Poor coordination:
There is a distinct absence of coordination among the various Individuals and Units in the school. Units and Individuals seem to work at cross purposes pursuing conflicting goals. The two fail to work in harmony towards agreed end results. On contrary, in any successful school, individuals and school units work in harmony toward agreed end results. And both individual goals and unit goals are consistent with and supportive of the school goals. There is maximum coordination.
4. Misplaced attention:
As the saying goes, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” The choice of what to do when is based on who screams the loudest. Problems and demand for their solutions is the greatest and not the basis of what problems are the most critical. As a result, the problems which are the most critical to the achievement of the goals desired are not considered the most important, and these receive the least priority for attention and action. On contrary, in any successful school, there is proper prioritization. Those problems which are the most critical to the achievement of the desired goals are considered the most important problems, and these receive the highest priority for attention and action.
5. Inconsistent decisions:
Decision making is not rational. There is little consistency in the decisions made by different members of the school leadership. Decisions are not made with regard to clearly understood and agreed-upon goals. On contrary, in any successful school, decisions are made with regard to clearly understood and agreed upon goals. Hence there is consistency in decisions made by different members through out the school.
6. Rigid administrative structures:
Much more attention is directed at defining and maintaining the administrative hierarchy and individual areas of authority and responsibility. Under such a system people often do not enjoy the sense of personal satisfaction from what they contribute, and they try to make themselves feel important by emphasizing their standing in the administrative hierarchy. Teachers, head teachers and other members of administration jealously guard their respective areas of authority and responsibility, walling themselves off from each other.
The relative stature of roles receives more attention than contributions made. And people usually act only on those matters which are within their defined areas of authority. There are no predetermined goals and people are working solely with in prescribed administrative role parameters. Goal attainment remains the less important focus. On contrary, in any successful school, while people respect the school administrative structure of roles and responsibilities, they are more interested in reaching the agreed upon or pre-determined goals. Goal attainment remains the more important focus.
7. Little accomplishment:
People are busy solving problems, making decisions and implementing orders. There is great deal of action. Energy and effort are expended with exuberance. However, there is very little accomplishment. On contrary, in any successful school, there is goal accomplishment. Results are achieved. There is a consistent pattern of goal accomplishment and all people together celebrate the achievements.
On the other hand, results oriented school leadership would involve a different approach to work by placing emphasis on the expected outcome. By contrast, in activities centered behavior people do not fully understand what they are expected to accomplish.
Results, oriented leadership involves predetermining the end results. Then leaders specify all actions necessary to bring about the results.
School activities oriented leadership prevents teachers from directing their attention to the objectives and although kept busy, they actually accomplish very little.
Effective leadership makes things happen. Good results with out good planning come from good lick.
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.