Current Headlines


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trends and Issues: Roles of School Heads as Instructional Leader, Administrator and Manager

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

As the Philippine Public Educational System draws near 2015 which is the deadline of meeting Education for All goals (EFA),  it is also marching towards the most demanding ages of the 21st century- ‘behooving all educational leaders to reflect, analyze, plan and take action in order to cope with multifaceted changes in the border-less marketplace’ (Delagoza 1996).  This is regardless of the challenges, threats and internal problems and issues that the educational system is experiencing, and the common orientation that school managers’ position currently implies.

  For this matter, effective school managers are expected to be academically goal oriented and supervise instructional and co-curricular practices accordingly. They motivate and support the teachers, encourage the community and other school stakeholders to be involved in the educational program, and encourage participatory decision making.  They are also faced with the complex task of creating a school wide vision, being an instructional leader- planning for effective professional development, guiding teachers, handling discipline, attending important events and needs, and all the other minute details that come with supervising and managing a school (Richard 2000).  The job of a school principal if not more demanding and difficult than an ordinary teacher, is expected to be equal, hence “the quality of school principals as school managers is a factor in improving the quality of education” (EDCOM 1992).

    Various studies support the idea that ‘it is the leadership of the school that makes a difference between mediocrity and excellence (Hugghes 1991).  One can always point to the principal’s leadership as the key to success of a school that is vibrant and has a reputation of excellence in teaching.  Indeed, the school manager is the keystone in the building of effective schools.  (Licuanan 1994) found that the nine positive outliner schools or outstandingly effective schools in the country do have similarly effective principals.  There is a positively significant correlation between effective principals and effective schools.

    (Clemente 1996) emphasized the need to identify and develop education managers fit to pilot schools into the 21st Century. In this light he gives the characteristics that school managers should possess. The first characteristic is the capacity to contribute to the academic performance, second the capacity to promote culture in a given academic year, third, the capacity to promote sports, fourth, the capacity to manage limited resources and the last, the capacity for innovation in academics, culture, sports and resource management.

Leaders as Learners

    Even when schools are not actively in reform projects, principals and district administrators find themselves confronting issues for which they have not been trained.  This may include demographic shifts, more rigorous academic standards, various teacher’s behaviors, integration of special-needs students into regular classrooms, gang and fraternal trouble, and even sexual harassment and molestation of students.

    But no area better illustrates the challenges of unfamiliar ground than technology.  They find themselves being called to decide complex human and technical issues (Andrew Trotter 1997).  For this matter, they are increasingly defining themselves as learners, not just doers, constantly scanning the environment for new ideas, tools, and solutions.  To do so, they must overcome numerous barriers: lack of time, insufficient rewards, fear that visibly engaging in learning is an admission of imperfection, and negative attitudes from previously poorly conceived professional development activities (Roland Barth 1977).  School systems can help overcome these obstacles by creating learning opportunities that are reflective, collegial, unconventional, and principal centered.

    At the same time, the complexities of change require learning that is more than a solo activity aimed at individual mastery.  Instead, leaders must work to create “learning communities” in which the entire school works together to solve the problems confronting it (Shirley Hord 1997).  Leaders create and sustain learning by sharing decisions, nurturing a common vision, and providing support for staff learning.  They operate colegially, “leading from the center,” placing themselves physically and psychologically among the teachers, stimulating discussion of teaching and learning at every opportunity.

Manager as a Moral Leader

    Leaders require followers, and some observers see signs that school leadership is slowly losing its following.  Administrators seem to get less respect than before.  Due possibly to certain factors as political intervention, leadership styles and practice, level of intelligence and communication abilities, and the rumors on how and where he is able to finish his graduate degree.  In this way, lesser respect and at the outset no more respect plus political attacks are becoming more common.  Moreover, some thoughtful critics argue that traditional public support is eroding, and that the public is “halfway out the schoolhouse door” (David Mathews 1996).  Whereas school leaders of long ago inherited moral authority, today they have to earn it.

    In part, moral authority comes from adherence to basic ethical principles such as honesty, fairness, hard- work and compassion.  For example, periodic reports or rumors of “irregularities” in conducting district and division assessment tests or even national tests such as NEAT and NSAT, corruption and even elicit affairs have raised questions about administrative ethics (Bess Keller 1998); even when unproved, the allegations undermine public faith in education.  While there is no evidence that school leaders are less ethical than other professionals, there is also no reason for complacency.  In a survey of superintendents in the U.S., William Fenstermaker (1996) found that when given an ethical dilemma with a number of proposed solutions, over half chose a response that would be considered unethical by their code of ethics.  Fenstermaker concluded that many administrators were either unaware of the ethical issues involved or did not care.  The same could also be true in the Philipppine setting although there’s no available data or research yet that may disclose this possibility.

    However, moral authority requires more than individual ethical excellence.  Leaders must create a consensus on purpose and practice that serves as the moral standard for everyone in the school (Thomas Sergiovanni 1996) aside from the code of ethics being implemented to all.  By continually raising questions and purpose, institutionalizing shared values, and motivating others by example, school leader establish a “moral voice” that infuses the school community.  Sergiovanni argues that principals go astray when they treat their schools as formal organizations rather than as living communities.  Research by Susan Moore Johnson (1998) similarly suggests that educational leadership be built on virtues such as honesty and respect.  She found that new superintendents established their credibility by initially listening and learning before making judgments or imposing solutions.

Responding to Challenges and other Issues

    So far, school leaders in the first world and in the newly industrialized countries seem to be responding to the new challenges by simply working harder.  Principals in these countries become enslaved to the job’s daily demands, responding to each crisis as it occurs, kept off balance by “the constant bombardment of new tasks and the continual interruptions” (Michael Fullan 1998). As a result, there was a big turn- over.  A study of elementary and middle school principals conducted by the National Association of School Principals in the U.S. in 1998 found that 42 percent turnover that has existed during the last ten years is likely to continue into the next decade (Doud and Keller 1998).  They point to many factors that make the principalship highly stressful: long hours of work- for most, a 60 to 80- hour work a week, workload and complexity of job, supervision of evening activities “unending,” minimal pay difference between the top teacher and administrator, feeling overwhelmed with very high expectations, state and district mandates that require “mountains” of paperwork, and increasingly complex society and social problems.  The increasing demands of the position can cause many principals to feel the stress is not worth it.

    The situation in the Philippines is quite different.  While it is expected that majority of the school principals at present are about to leave their positions, it isn’t because of the stress as a result of increasing demands in their positions as instructional leader and manager but because they are retiring.  At present being a school administrator is still seen as the easiest way out for teachers especially the master teachers to escape the demands and stress of being a classroom teacher even when it will mean a decrease on their monthly pay.  Not to include here is the honor and prestige that goes with being a school leader as well as the unstressful nature of the job as they might think it to be. This is thereby seen as the motivating factor of the relatively higher number of graduate students taking up graduate education in school management and administration.  The 1994- 95 data on graduate enrollment shows that 43.8% of the total enrollment was in teacher education.  The doctoral level is far higher having a share of 62.6% (Garcia 1996). Thus, it is predicted to increase further encouraging the proliferation of ‘diploma mill’ type of institutions and unqualified graduates.  From this vantage, it appears that their ability to respond to new challenges is questionable; hence, “it is preposterous to think of a bureaucracy manned by full-fledged MA’s and Ph.D’s who know little about their disciplines”(Angel Alcala 1996).  Given the fact that the kind of school management being employed by our school managers is far beyond compare with those in progressive countries, it is not surprising that there is still much to be desired when it comes to quality.

    In so doing, DepEd has implemented the merit system for those who will be moving to the administrative and leadership ladder.  However, still quiet a big weight is given to graduate educational qualifications.  But at least, it has equalized the opportunity particularly for those performing school managers viz their not so much performing counterparts who have already completed their graduate studies.

    Along the way there are many efficient leaders who seem to be searching for the right balance between managing and leading. Cascadden found that, these principals recognized and accepted both functions as essential but reported that the reform movement was squeezing them between contradictory demands.  On the one hand, restructuring has pushed more management decisions to the school site; on the other hand, the current management theories emphasized the importance of empowering leadership.  This creates an obvious time crunch, as well as the challenge of being both efficient and collaborative- in a system that retains a top-down orientation.  In the country however, the situations mentioned already support the reason why top-down orientation still remains and quite slow to transform itself on the new principles of leadership and management through empowerment.  But then, it is also good to review and reform the management functions of the present and future breed of school managers to make them more productive, dynamic and efficient like their counterparts in various part of the world.  They should be made ready to meet the challenges of this constantly changing world particularly now in the face of the effective implementation of School Based Management (SBM).

(Mr. Gilbert M. Forbes had his Bachelors Degree and MA in Educational Management (CAR) from the Philippine Normal University.  A campus paper adviser and trainer for 13 years.  Currently, he is a school principal in one of the central schools in the Division of Quezon.)


Barsaga, Eligio B., “Assessment of the Multigrade Program in the Philippine Education (MPPE), The Philippine Journal of Education, Vol. LXXIVIII, No., 1998

Clemente, Alejandro W., “Philippine Education into the 21st Century,” Joer Printing Services, Quezon City 1996

Delagoza, Rolando S., “Educational Leadership in Times of Change and Transition,” The Philippine Journal of Education, Vol. LXXIVIII

Forbes, Gilbert M., “The School Management/Administration,” An Unpublished Reaction Paper for the Course Educational Environment at the Graduate College, Philippine Normal University, Manila 1999

Garcia, Ester A., “General Directions for Graduate Education: The CHED Viewpoint,” Sangguni Vol.IX No. 1, Philippine Normal University, Manila 1997

Hertling Elisabeth, “Retaining Principals,” College of Education, University of Oregon U.S.A., Eric Digest 2001

“Modernizing Philippine Education,” Master Plan for Basic Education (1996-2005), Department of Education Culture and Sports, Manila, Philippines

“Trends and Issues: Role of the School Leader,” Clearinghouse on Educational Management, College of Education, University of Oregon, ERIC/CEM 2001

You may also like reading:

Knowledge Should Equate Competence

The three essential traits of a leader

Diversity Shock, Losing the Mother Tongue

Excellence: Taking Your leadership to New Heights

Reading 101: What Parents and Teachers Should Know


Anonymous said...

My name is Dulce Paloma and I am doing a study about principals in the MIMAROPA Region. Can I cite you for this article? Trends and Issues: Roles of School Heads as Instructional Leader, Administrator and Manager

The Learning Captain said...

Dear Mrs. Dulce Paloma of MIMAROPA,

This blogger is happy to know that you have stumbled on this blog. The Learning Captain is allowing you to cite the whole article.

Just please don't forget to give due credits to the Learning Captain and the web site.

The Learning Captain too is inviting you to be one of the pioneering followers aside from just being our regular visitor to the site.

God Bless!,
The Learning Captain

Anonymous said...

hello and gud evening I am enlightened with your article but there are still educators leader in our division that dont know the spirit of being a leader all they know is to corrupt the money mga wang-wang sila, 50 schools in our division recepient of SBM grant FY 2010 they ask ten thousand pesos per school instead they will help us improve our school's performance but all they know is to get the money I hate to be in our division of sulu 2. still educators leader in our division that dont know the spirit of being a leader all they know is to corrupt the money mga wang-wang sila, 50 schools in our division recepient of SBM grant FY 2010 they ask ten thousand pesos per school instead they will help us improve our school's performance but all they know is to get the money I hate to be in our division of sulu 2.

The Learning Captain said...

Dear Mr./Ms/ Anonymous,

I am sad to know these are happening in your division. I'm sure, this could be happening too in other places. I just wonder why and how when safeguards have to be in placed.

It is my prayer and desire that you inform the central office about this malaise through their email platform.

Only, you must be ready to supply the needed information, hence, you will be regarded with full anonymity as long as you are ready and has all the strength and courage to give all the necessary relevant information so that we could help in the transformation of our land.

Just remember that in order for a few evil to prosper and reign is because of the many to do nothing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
epearl said...

wowww...very informative!!!Il be one of your fan now...may you continue to a blessing to others especially those who wanted to grow in their field..GOD Bless!

nice_gal said...

I have heard that Ph.D. degrees from schools like St. Roberts are not added in the points for ranking of head teachers etc. Is this true? Can you provide me with a memo or something? Thanks

The Learning Captain said...

Dear Ms Nice_gal,

May be, the school you mentioned is included in non-accredited schools as mentioned in D.O. No. 78, s, 2011.

You may refer to this order for guidance.

Anonymous said...

hi.. gud eve..
thanks to this article.. i was able to finish my assignment in one of the subjects i'm taking in my Masterals..

looking forward to many articles that are worth reading for..

The Learning Captain said...

It's wonderful to know that this article has helped you particularly in your studies.

This is an inspiration that keeps us from continuing this advocacy.

I hope and look forward that you will be one of its followers.

Anonymous said...

May i be permitted to use your article as a citation in my term paper in one my Phd subjects?



lherwin Navero said...

i always read your blog..i am your avid fan sir..i always visit your blog site so as to abreast me for latest trends and news updates on our educational system..don't stop posting like this so informative on my part ..thanks

Greg Chua said...

This was very informative post regarding education and it is very nice to know more about this. Thanks for sharing this marvelous post and keep on sharing. Good job!

The Learning Captain said...

Dear Lherwin Navero and Greg Chua,

Thanks for your very inspiring appreciation of our works.

Though, we could not always post original articles from ourselves, rest assured that we shall continue to provide you some occasional meaningful posts from across the other sites.

Thank you so much. For Greg, may we invite you to also be one of the followers of this blog.

Maria Ethel L. Catayong said...

Hello! I'm currently working on my thesis as major requirement of my Masteral. I'm grateful to your site for posting information relevant to my study. It is of great help on my part.. Thank you and more power!

Gilbert Forbes said...

Thanks for your appreciation Ms. Maria Ethel L. Catayong. May you be one of our regular visitors and a follower as well.

Eden said...

This is very informative... Can i cite this in my dissertation? I am currently conducting a study about competencies of teachers in reg 1... And i found it very good reference as one of the indicators in reengineering the curriculum.

Gilbert Forbes said...

Dear Ms. Eden,
It is our pleasure of course that you found this material a very good reference.

You can use the material and the rest of the materials in this domain as long as proper attribution is given to the author and to this blogsite.

More power and God Bless!

Chris Herald Padernal said...

I am now busy studying for my in-coming principal's exam. I am happy that I found your blog as I scan my computer for any information that can add any knowledge for me. Hoping that I can pass the exam. Thank you and more power...

Chris Herald Padernal said...

Thank you for publishing some of the important information about education. It will me a lot for my in - coming principal's test. Hoping that I can pass the exam. Thank you...

The Learning Captain said...

Thanks for your appreciation Mrs. Chris.

Anonymous said...

I chance upon this article and I am happy to note that this may help me with my research. Kindly allow me cite your article...

thank you very much. God bless

Ara Blanco

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Corazon Castillo said...

HI! Good day! I read from the comments that you allow the citation of your publication as long as there is acknowledgement of the source. I hope you also allow me.

thanks :)

Corazon Castillo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Corazon Castillo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Good day!

I would like to know if the Philippines Educational System has an existing Evaluation for Principals as INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER. I am working on my dissertation about instructional leadership evaluation of principals. I also want to know the different indicators of instructional leadership as Principal I, as Principal II, as Principal III. Hope you could help

Anonymous said...

HI! I am doing my research this semester.... related to instructional management of principal... Please allow me to cite you in my study... THANKS AND GOD BLESS

The Learning Captain said...

Dear Ms. Corazon Castillo,

It's our pleasure to allow you use the material. Again, just please dont forget the proper citation of the blog and of the writer.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

My name is Albert just need a help from these question Identify and discuss at least five (5) factors at work in schools that pose challenge to present-day school heads / managers. tnks.....

gyngyngynad said...

Good day. I find all the articles worth reading and meditating. I am looking for a material for our inset this wednesday, may 7,2014 on the topic" supervising instruction accross all learning areas." Can you provide me one today? That will be a very great help to our principals in our division. I was given this topic and learned about it when i reported for work yesterday. I just came from the national training of trainers for grade 9 last week. I believe you can help me and due credit I should give you. Thanks a lot in advance.

gyngyngynad said...

very good blog for school administrators, teachers and deped personnel. i commend your very informative articles. may i ask for your help to please provide me an article on supervising instruction accross all learning areas today? i will be handling an inset and that is my topic which i knew of only today. participants to the inset are all principals both elementary and secondary and this will be on may 7-8, 2014. thank you very much in advance.

Jee Ann Sepa said...

hi Sir, i really appreciate your article, very informative
.. i found this very useful to my subject so please allow me to use this article and mention you on it.

Jee Ann Sepa said...

very useful!!
more power and God Bless!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

sir, I am presently studying about the management practices of school heads in our division, and may I respectfully use your article as an additional reference? rest assured that I will not forget to give credit to you sir......thank you very much and god bless.....

Anonymous said...

please allow me to use your article as one of my references on my present thesis study. Rest assure, that I will not forget to mention your name and your cite po. looking forward to your favorable approval mam.

Jerry Redoblado said...

A good leader is good follower. Yes it’s true. Because now a days there many teachers/staffs who don’t follow their heads, principals, administrator/manager. But they create their own way. They become now a creator instead a follower. I had to ponder with these matter and I found out why the lower position do not follow to their direct heads, is just because that their heads also did not follow to their heads.
A good leader is important to all organization, because he/she is the one to plan first for the betterment of the school/organization. The progressive countries the leader/administrator work harder and become enslaved to the job’s daily demands, responding to each crisis occurs, work long hours and etc. and resulted to big turn-over.
Here in the Philippines is totally different. Because there are many school leaders (heads, principals, administrators, managers) didn’t leave their job because of responding the crisis occurs or enslaved to the jobs daily demands and etc. but because they are retiring. There are schools leaders are avoiding and escaping to handle stressful works. This is a challenge to the MA’s, Ed.D.’s, and Ph.D’s grauate students how this system change into better one. To bear in mind that to graduate in MA and Dr. is not because of escaping the demands and stress of being a lower position but because it is a demands of the MA’s and Dr.’s positions that are expected a good leader because of that master’s degree. Not all but there are master’s degree graduate from big universities, but they are giving less for the school development but receiving more “php.”. “corruption”; There are MA’s and Dr.’s school leaders who come from not well-known school who can lead and manage the school towards its goal. Meaning to say it doesn’t matter how big universities that leaders/principals, superintendent and administrators graduated, the important things how the school vision and mission be attained truthfully and honestly.

Sed reformani in Novitate sensusVistre.

Gilbert Forbes said...

Well thought and explained sir Jerry Redoblado. You are right in your observation that now a days there are many teachers, staffs who find it difficult to follow their superiors, or the worst don’t follow them at all-- creating their own way.

Most are the younger generations and there are instances, under the led of senior veteran teachers.

Primary reasons could be the manner of influencing viz the set norms and institutional culture of the school which is regarded as under threat by the reformist stance of mostly new SH's. This usually happens during the honeymoon period lasting for 2- 3years. For us educators, this is a sad fact that is suppose to be not happening.

Indeed, these realities, should be clear among our MA and PHd students and graduates.

Among other things, their degrees should not bloat their heads nor take them off the realities at hand because when it happens, they could no longer communicate and so detached from these realities.