By Brahim Ait Hammou
By Brahim Ait Hammou
Morocco World News
Tinghir, Morocco, March 4, 2012
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 me to write a post on what I think are the most important qualities that should be possessed by a school leader in the 21st century.
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 within its walls, and to some of those outside as well, only then can they take into consideration the others when they take decisions.
This leads us to another quality that is needed among 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 are those who 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, and 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’s stakeholders. In our schools ,there should be leaders who know how to differentiate between the different people who are under their supervision. These differences should stop being based 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 a long term process. It should be made depending on the teacher’s overall performance, on the students’ results, and on teacher-student relations, not on the teacher-administration relations.
Ooooh,it’s being listed 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 devastating to find out about leaders who are scared of a student’s mobile camera and of facebook or twitter. Most of them know nothing about social networking sites except what they heard during the Libyan 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 skills…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 everywhere 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.
A teacher of English as a Foreign Language, Brahim Ait Hammou, has been teaching for ten years. He is interested in social media ,blogging and the use of ICT in education. He is is also interested in using projects in language learning.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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