Mary Ewart's bPortfolio

EDAD 6580 Leadership in Education – Meta Reflection – Standard 7

EDAD 6580 Leadership in Education – Meta Reflection – Standard 7

 

Standard 7: Teacher leaders utilize instructional frames to improve teaching.

 

“Enlightened leadership is not an end in itself. It is a means – a means of bringing more wisdom to the world and of shaping a better future for our organizations and the children we serve” (Houston, Blankstein, & Cole, 2008, p. 34)

 

Leadership is always something that has come naturally to me, without even really trying. The process of considering what it means to be a leader, what qualities make a leader enlightened, and how to use leadership principles in an educational setting is very interesting to me. That being said, as I started this course, I knew very little about what it meant to really be a leader, in the sense of an administrator, and what kind of thought process goes into each and every decision that an administrator has to make. Although I do not have any desire to move into school administration, I do feel that as a teacher leader it is important to understand what it takes to be a good administrator, as being a teacher leader requires many of the same requirements. At the beginning of the course, I had really only considered what it takes to engage a community in a school setting, because of the previous coursework I completed as part of this program.

This course followed two pathways that continued to weave in and out of each other. One thing that we did every week was focus on one of the eight principles of leadership that are covered in Spirituality in Educational Leadership: intention, attention, unique gifts and talents, gratitude, unique life lessons, holistic perspective, openness and trust (Houston, Blankstein, & Cole, 2008). By focusing on a topic each week, and considering how that impacts us as teacher leaders now, and potentially future administrators, we were able to have both virtual and in-person discussions about how these principles will impact us all as leaders. Although I feel that trust is, perhaps, the most important principle, I loved discussing gratitude. Being grateful and expressing gratitude can go so far when it comes to developing trust and respect between people and leaders.

The second pathway that the course followed was working through Organizational Behavior in Education: Leadership and School Reform by Owens, R., & Valesky, T. and considering the more nuts and bolts of leadership in education. Through this text and several supplemental resources, we considered the development of organizational behavior in education, how and why it has changed, what different types of management styles there are, and how that impacts both leaders and people who are working for the leaders. We also took the Jung Personality Test to determine our personalities, and then had a large discussion as how that personality will effect us as leaders, as well as how different personality types might be best suited for different roles. I am personally an ISFJ, which is a change from when I was in high school and was an ISTJ. ISFJ is Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. This means that I am a person who gains my energy from quiet, alone time that is organized and loves lists, and bases decisions on things I can sense, as well as how it will make others feel. Although the SFJ portion of my personality was shared by many, there was only one person in the cohort who was also introverted and shared the other three aspects. As a leader this means that I will have to do my best to make sure I get the time alone that I need to think and reflect throughout my days in order to do the best job I can do.

 

Another part of this pathway was a project where I picked an area of education that can be controversial, and engaged in a literature critique (Ewart Research Critique)and presentation (Research Presentation). I chose to research co-teaching as an intervention and inclusion strategy because I currently work in two co-teaching classrooms that we use as an intervention strategy. Although I have seen a great deal of success with this, it is not without its challenges, and can be very controversial for administrators to implement because it is costly and causes major master schedule challenges. Other topics covered by class members are technology, school uniforms, year-round school, inclusion, restraint, and universal preschool. It was very interesting to see how many of us ended up changing our opinion on our chosen topic based on the critique of the literature.

 

An underlying theme we discussed for most of the first portion of the class is the importance of a leader creating a shared mission and vision for all stakeholders in their school building. We learned about why this was necessary and how to use it to best achieve a functioning school with student success for all students. Then we used this learning on mission, vision, and leadership dispositions, and completed a Visionary Leadership Analysis (VLA Ewart) of a school of our choice. I considered the community and data surrounding past performance, and used that to analyze the work the school is doing. Then I compared what is currently happening in the school to what I would be doing as a future leader. Considering the work a school building is doing as a reflection of the school’s mission and vision is a perspective I had not previously considered, but one that impacted my thinking a great deal.

 

As a teacher leader, I need to consider how my personal mission and vision for what I want to achieve will impact those that I am leading. It is important for me to keep that mission at the heart of my work, to be a leader who is open, intentional, and grateful. Making sure that I trust and am trustworthy, and am aware of my personality strengths and management styles are also necessary as I form relationships as a leader.

 

References:

Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus

on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1-16.

Dieker, L. A., & Murawski, W. W. (2003). Co-teaching at the secondary level: Unique issues,

current trends, and suggestions for success. High School Journal, 86(4), 1-13.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Public Law No. 105-17. (1997). 20 U.S. Code

Section 1400 et. Seq.

Houston, P., Blankstein, A., & Cole, R. (2008). Spirituality in Educational Leadership.

Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Jung, B. (1998(. Mainstreaming and fixing things: secondary teachers and inclusion. The

            Educational Forum, 62(2), 131-138.

Keefe, E. B., & Moore, V. (2004). The challenge of co-teaching in inclusive classrooms at the

high school level: What the teachers told us. American Secondary Education, 32(3), 77-88.

Nierengarten, G. (2013). Supporting co-teaching teams in high schools: Twenty research-based

Practices. American Secondary Education, 42(1), 73-83.

Owens, R., & Valesky, T. (2015). Organizational Behavior in Education: Leadership and School

            Reform (Eleventh ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Ploessi, D., Rock, M., Schoenfeld, N., & Blanks, B. (2010). On the same page: Practical

techniques to enhance co-teaching interactions. Intervention in school and clinic, 45(3),

158-168.

Shaffer, L., & Thomas-Brown, K. (2015) Enhancing teacher competency through co-teaching

and embedded professional development. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 3(3), 117-123.

Weiss, M. P., & Lloyd, J. (2003). Conditions for co-teaching: Lessons from a case study. Teaher

            Education and Special Education, 26(1), 27-41.

Zigmond, N. & Magiera, K. (2001) A focus on co-teaching. Current Practice Alerts, 6, 1-4.

 

 

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