Pasi Sahlberg, renowned Finnish educator, who introduced the world to Finnish education, outlines in this compact book, four lessons of Finnish education that can be useful to all educators - making recess the right of the child, using small data, a commitment to equity, and avoiding myths about Finnish education.
A review of literature indicates that there are concerns in a number of countries that the role of principal, conceived for the needs of the past, is no longer relevant or effective to deal with the complex challenges schools are facing in the 21st century (Duignan, 2012, p. 121).
Duignan argues that every action of leadership in a school should be based on moral principles that are underpinned by a clearly articulated value system. These values should provide the reason why leaders do what they do. But how many of us are familiar with the values statements of our schools? Do our schools have values statements and if so are they ever made explicit to staff and students?
Many of the challenges facing educational leaders involve situations where values and ethics are contested. These challenges are multi-dimensional and involve complex human behaviour, as well as different expectations and possibly different values from different stakeholders who may be culturally diverse.
“The issue is not how friendly formal leaders should be with those who work with them, but how organisational members can work together professionally as a team to achieve the goals and objectives of the organisation.”
Leadership in a turbulent, uncertain and rapidly changing world needs leaders who are capable of responding ‘adaptively to the depth, scope, and pace of change that combined with complexity creates unprecedented conditions’ (Parkes, 2005 in Duignan, 2012, p. 17). In the context of education adapting to new challenges involves learning and developing new leadership capacities...
Courageous, ethical and authentic leadership action is needed to challenge current trends. If we accept that the Melbourne Declaration of Educational Standards for Young Australians (2008) helps teachers to define their moral purpose, at least in part, we must ask ourselves not only what a successful learner looks like and how do students become confident and creative, but also how do we raise active and informed twenty-first century citizens in a world where social processes and institutions encourage new forms of individualism and increasingly more selfish modes of living?
“Leaders influence others through authentic presence in their relationships". Influence is related to being fully present in relationships that are authentic and have a clear and mutually beneficial moral purpose. Presence has a number of facets and qualities that help to enhance the purpose, quality and depth of relationships and can thereby greatly increase the potential for leaders to influence what really matters and make a difference.
One of the themes of Duignan's work is the idea of authenticity: authentic leadership, authentic relationships and authentic learning. George (2003) says that leadership begins and ends with authenticity (Duignan, 2012, p.13), while Sarratt (2004) claims that authenticity can be learnt and built by 'the cultivation of virtues'...
When I began reading ‘The Heart of Education’ I was unaware of the extensive leadership experience and influence of Rod West. Like many others, I knew that he had been headmaster of Trinity Grammar School for 20 years. What I discovered, as I read Rod’s life story, was that he was an inspirational teacher and headmaster whose faith was pre-eminent in every aspect of his life. He transformed several schools as he concentrated on relationships with staff and students rather than the process of education. Under Rod’s stewardship 33 teachers have become headmasters.