Changing the Context - Chapter 1

The Moral Imperative of School Leadership


"The leader's job is to help change context - to introduce new elements into the situation that are bound to influence behaviour for the better." The level of student success is dependent on context.
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Context can change through the following process:

  1. Helping people see new possibilities
  2. Seeing something new hits the emotions
  3. Emotionally charged ideas change behaviour or reinforce changed behaviour

The Public Schools We Need

"The quality of the public education system relates directly to the quality of life that people enjoy (whether as parents, employers, or citizens), with a strong public education system as the cornerstone of a civil, prosperous and democratic society."

Publicly funded schools:

  • must serve all children: this means catering to diverse needs
  • must include citizenship and character education
  • lead to a better future for the society as a whole
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The Principals and Teachers We Need

Good schools need dedicated, highly competent teachers with a shared vision of school improvement.

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  • Must produce teacher and student development simultaneously
  • Requires great effort and coordination on part of top-down policy makers
  • Leaders must pay attention to whether they are generating passion, purpose and energy (intrinsic motivation) on the part of principals and leaders
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We are in the stage of informed (knowledge-rich) professional judgment which is characterized by the following:

  • It is collective, not individualistic
  • Driven by best knowledge
  • Solid moral purpose as a foundation

How do we ensure that leaders and teachers are continuously informed?

  • Role of principal in creating and sustaining inquiry and action for teachers
  • Determine what is needed to help create and sustain school principals that are this good

Collins' Five Level Heirarchy

Level 5: Executive
  • Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will

Level 4: Effective Leader
  • Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision

Level 3: Competent Manager
  • Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives

Level 2: Contributing Team Member
  • Contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in group settings

Level 1: Highly Capable Individual
  • Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits

(Collins, 2001, p. 20)
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Level 5 Leadership

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