Rabat - One of the indisputable questions future educators need to ask is 'where are we in leadership?' It may be a common view that everyone exercises leadership in his or her narrow domain, but the term “leadership” for us educators is not to be taken lightly.
Rabat – One of the indisputable questions future educators need to ask is ‘where are we in leadership?’ It may be a common view that everyone exercises leadership in his or her narrow domain, but the term “leadership” for us educators is not to be taken lightly.
Setting an example for and directing young people to achieve a common goal does not necessarily mean that you are a great leader. Rather, having a sense of leadership involves guiding the talents and energies of teachers and students toward achieving common educational aims. As far as leadership in education is concerned, John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Therefore, we cannot separate education or learning from leadership, and vice versa. When I lead, I grow personally and professionally; and being personally and professionally developed should guide me to lead properly both inside and outside the classroom.
My personal view is that educators in the 21st century need to reconsider their roles as providers of knowledge and begin seeing themselves as teachers and leaders. These traits do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good teachers and leaders constantly improve their leadership skills. Since earning my B.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes and the ensuing opportunity to learn and reflect on teacher trainees’ teaching methodology at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Rabat, I have come to realize that my approach as a leader is effective in terms of building my own strong volition as well as my students’. Believing in the fact that great leaders are made and not born encourages me to be the change I wish to see in the world.
The initiative I have taken as a leader, for example, has resulted in my willingness to improve students’ personal and interpersonal communication skills through cooperative learning, extracurricular activities, service learning, and project work. Cooperative learning easily developed, by engaging students in teamwork. Extracurricular activities require the teacher’s ability to host guest speakers and organize workshops that are of considerable importance for students’ learning.
Service learning requires the teacher to make students aware of their important role in contributing to their community. For example, if students recognize that their school needs essential equipment, they will draft a plan and take action to fill the gap. Concerning project work, the teacher has to direct his or her students to take up certain tasks in an organized manner. Small-scale research, poster design, and presentations are examples of project-based learning that involve students’ planning, collaboration, execution, constant evaluation, reflection, production, and display.
Additionally, leadership is a never-ending process. A teacher and leader must ensure his or her ability to bridge theories with practical applications in education settings. As far as I am concerned, I think that my philosophy in exercising leadership inside the classroom in particular and in the school in general addresses the educational needs of students from diverse backgrounds, while incorporating 21st century skills.
The ways teachers lead are as varied as teachers themselves. For example, I can contribute to the school’s success by sharing instructional resources with my colleagues. These might include online web sites, social networking sites, instructional materials, readings, or other resources including articles, books, virtual classes (e.g. Schoology and Wikispaces), and assessment tools. Another role I would gladly play is that of an instructional specialist, enabling my colleagues to implement effective teaching strategies. This assistance might include ideas for evaluating and planning lessons in partnership with teacher trainees.
More importantly, being a specialist in designing the syllabus and understanding the curriculum helps me lead fellow teachers to agree on standards, follow the adopted curriculum, and develop shared assessments. Inside the classroom, I play my role as a leader when I provide support to teacher trainees in terms of giving feedback, observing their performance in the class, and evaluating trainees. Another equally important role is competence in effectively teaching 21st century skills, such as developing students’ critical and creative thinking abilities, helping them use Information Communication Technology effectively, ethically, and appropriately for education, and teaching them how to solve their own learning problems.
From all that has been said, I think that the teacher and leader’s role in a school’s success transcends classroom walls. This philosophy addresses a long-standing concern of students, educators, and society as a whole. In other words, the aim is to achieve both student and teacher development; and then the development of society in general.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers
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