Sunday, November 4, 2007

The role of school leaders in developing a caring community

Recently I read an article in the ACEL journal (Volume 13 Number 1). The article was written by Sue Roffey from UWS and looked specifically at research about emotional literacy within schools. It was most interesting in that it gave a perspective of school leadership in behaviour management. It aligns well with the basic principles of Positive Behaviour Support.

Some of the key points taken from the reading include:
• Leadership is about relationships
• Key qualities of effective school leaders:
- Emotional intelligence (personal)
- Emotional intelligence (interpersonal)
- Intellectual abilities
• Leadership is about first and foremost ideas (Sergiovanni – 2006)

The research showed that, when delivering the process of change around emotional literacy, leaders need to take into account that the foundations for positive relationships and a caring community are values, knowledge, skills, and practices. The findings of the report placed importance on the following:
• Values
• Vision
• The processes of change
• Communicating values and expectations
• Staff wellbeing
• Leadership Style
• Power and influence
• Inter and intrapersonal competencies of school leaders
• Being positive
• Sustainability

Interestingly enough Michael Fullan, along with Duignan and Sergiovanni, have written about the ‘moral imperatives’ of school leadership. This is reflective of the discussion I had with colleagues the CEO meeting – The Art of the Possible.

“… having a system where all students learn, the gap between high and low performance becomes greatly reduced and what people learn enable them to be successful citizens and workers in a morally based knowledge society.”

Emotionally literate principals, assistant principals and school leaders, need to make the way people feel about themselves within the educational setting a matter of high priority in order to achieve some much broader social outcomes.