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Leadership Assignment Examining Educational Leadership Theories


Task: Case study
Felton Public School was once a well-regarded school, but under the previous principal it began to lose its good reputation. Academic culture and expectations declined, co-curricular activities decreased in number and diversity, and a wide range of community concerns led to the principal leaving the school. Deborah Johnson was appointed principal two years ago, and Felton PS is her first appointment as a principal. She was a very well-respected and valued deputy principal in her previous school, with a reputation for high expectations and standards. After a period of reviewing the school’s programs, the principal announces the school will adopt a new teaching strategy for blended learning. Teachers will provide a week’s worth of online videos and learning materials at the beginning of each week, and students will be required to watch the videos and complete any related tasks set by the teacher. When students come to class, the teacher will then spend time helping individual students, or small groups working on common topics/issues, to develop more in-depth learning based on what they have already learned at home, rather than rely on teacher-centred content delivery. Students also have the option to stay at home (with parent/caregiver permission) on one day of the week, if their learning progress is satisfactory.

Deborah Johnson becomes aware from some parent complaints that a number of teachers are not consistently using this strategy. She decides to address the issue and calls in the curriculum coordinator, Bradley Campbell, to develop a plan as to how to approach the situation. Two of the school’s seven curriculum leaders did not support the decision to move to the online teaching approach, while three others were very enthusiastic. One of the negative curriculum leaders is the longest serving staff member, is highly regarded by parents and students, and has been talking quite openly in the staff room about their disagreement with the online learning approach. In addressing this case study, you must explain how either Deborah Johnson might respond to the situation, or how Bradley Campbell might respond to the situation.

The leadership assignment requires you to analyse how each leadership theory guides leadership behaviours in response to the case study. Specifically, you will:

  • Explain how a leader might respond to the case study according to each leadership theory
  • Critically analyse and justify which leadership approach(es) you think respond best to the context of the case study;
  • Discuss how insights from this case study inform or modify your personal leadership theory.


The concept of leadership explored in the segments of leadership assignment in the realms of educational fields is concerned with the collaborative functionalities of educational management and educational administration. The role of leaders in the educational institutions, underpin moral values and the abilities in achieving the desired standards set by the hierarchy. The leaders of the educational sectors are always reeling under the tremendous pressure of mediating the values of the stakeholders and at the same time promoting an environment of learning and development of students. The roles of the leaders become even more challenging in times of making the hard choices where they cannot disobey the rules of the government in promoting ahead the vision and mission of certain educational institutions(Bhindi&Duignan, 1997). Most of the times, the skepticism of the school leaders arises from the incompatibility of the organizational goals with that of the individualist targets and aspirations. In England, the leadership in the fields of education has been rightly termed as a “paradigm shift” by one of the eminent educationists. Although there is no certain definition to the leadership, applied in fields of education but we can certainly assess the arbitrary behavior of it.To comprehend the different faces connected with the theories of leadership, let us delve deep into the following segment (Day, Gu& Sammons, 2016).

Response Of A Leader In Context Of The Different Leadership Theories: -
Servant Theory Of Leadership

This leadership theory focuses on building a harmonious relationship between the individual with that of the organizations. It is the adherence to the set of practices where a profound set of ideologies for the individual upliftment is followed alongside with individual upliftment. This theory highlights the role of servant leaders to be servants first. In other words, they need to practice what they preach. It is quite different from the other theories of leadership in the aspect where others act as leaders, in this theory the leaders concentrate to serve first. In this particular principle, it is also made sure that the highest esteems of people are met and people’s emotional needs are being catered to (Duignan, 2014).

In the perspective of the Case study, Deborah Jonson, the newly appointed Principal of Felton Public School might have opted with this particular strategy of servant leadership, where she herself could take the charges of pioneering the desirable changes. For introducing the blended learning, she might herself get involved in imparting different fundamentals of the same and lead an example so as how to proceed with it (Gardner, et al.2011). Alongside she needs to educate her staffs to understand the benevolence of the introduced methods where the performance of the teachers can enhance along with meeting the exponential demands of the external world.

Authentic Theory Of Leadership
This theory of leadership is based on more of a personal than of a professional approach. The strengthening bond, the legitimate equations established between the leaders with his team through an interchange of loyalty, value and ethical foundation- are keys to this particular leadership trait. The leaders who adapt to these principles are resilient, honest and open to suggestions and changes (Greenleaf, 2008) In the case study, the Principal of the school Ms Deborah Jonson needs to first focus on establishing a bond of trust between her associates and members. She needs to earn the trust of the teachers and build an approachable attitude, where the teachers feel safe to easily communicate with her (Male&Palaiologou,2012).The abrupt introduction of the blended learning in the curriculum seemed to have some negative impacts on some teachers. The role of Ms Deborah Jonson as per the Authentic theory of leadership needs to be more personal and warmer in nature. She needs to counsel the teachers and probe into the areas of concerns before making a firm decision of introducing the blended learning, replacing the existing curriculum. She should be the one to take the noble initiative of explaining the convenience of blended learning over the traditional forms. Above all, she needs to be vocal and transparent to express her genuine care, concerns and strong emotional connection with her associates.

Adaptive Theory Of Leadership
This is the theory of leadership associated with the abilities of making changes as and when necessary,which is primarily formulated to put an end to the existing issues and concerns or to address any long-term challenging situation. In order to make progressive changes, institutions and organizations need to embrace certain changes in the structures of working. The adaptive theory of leadership lays more emphasis on the decisions and actions of the leaders on drafting those action plans for uplifting the values of the institutions and organizations (Van Dierendonck,2011).

Here, the case study points out to that the fact that Ms Deborah Jonson had been appointed as the new principal of Felton Public School, when the reputation of the school was at stake due to the mismanagement of the former principal ( Offermann,& Coats,2018) The newly appointed principal has justifiably resorted to the adaptive theory of leadership. After evaluation and cross analysis of the school’s reports and previous lacunas, Ms Deborah had tried to implement some positive changes in the pattern and approach of teaching-learning practices. Although the question of uncertainties regarding the outcomes of the changes is to be ignored, yet being the leader, she had tried to induce some changes and alter the methodologies for the betterment of the institution(Cote, 2017).

Distributive Theory Of Leadership
Unlike the other discussed theories of leadership, this is more concerned with the complicated approach towards the working dynamics of complex organizations.According to the distributive theory of leadership, the practice of the leadership takes the upper hand rather than allocation of duties and responsibilities (Deshwal& Ashraf Ali,2020)It mainly focuses on the capacity of the necessary changes and collective practices associated with the leadership might not be necessary to assign the responsibility on a particular individual but can be concerned with the practicesof collective efforts. It is more into collective, collaborative and more synthesized practice of leadership (Allen, 2018).

The case study mentioned in the paper, highlights the leadership role adopted by the efficient hands of Ms. Deborah Jonson, the newly appointed principal of Felton Public School. Adopting the principles of distributive theory of leadership, Ms. Deborah Jonson needs to adopt to meticulous planning to combat the growing concerns of the institution. The complexity and the weaknesses of the institution demanded meticulous planning from the end of the leaders (Dugan, 2017). The leadership roles adopted by the principal, Ms Deborah need to be vigilant and more carefully distributed. In the intensive system, Ms. Deborah needs to focus more on the upgraded quality of the leadership.

Pedagogical Theory Of Leadership
As the name suggests, this theory of leadership is concerned with the additional support and the assistance of the structured framework of teaching-learning, in the realms of educational fields. The organizational norms and patterns, enhancing the quality of teaching and learning and boosting up the quality of the organizations are fulfilled, adhering to the principles of this leadership theory (Farhan, 2018) As per the case study, I feel that Ms. Deborah Jonson has rightly studied the existing norms and patterns followed in Felton Public School. She has introduced new set of pedagogy where she has replaced the outdated traditional approach with that of the current appealing form of blended learning. As per her firm grip over the pedagogical leadership, she has rightly put more emphasis on learning through the audio-visual methods which would be merged with the curriculum. The students’ reciprocation and participation in the process would be expected to be better.Some of the educationists are also of the opinion regarding the ambiguity of the relationship between pedagogy and leadership. But in the context of the case study, the relevance of the pedagogical leadership as exhibited by the newly appointed principal cannot be overlooked. Ms Deborah has been enough vigilant in studying the past records of the school and based on her findings, she has introduced new sets of methodologies( Galli, 2019)

Analysis And Justification Of A Leadership Theory, In Context Of The Case Study
A deep insightful discussion on the different theories of leadership in the educational practices have somehow influenced me to support the theory of adaptable leadership in context to the case study. As educational field in today's context is a field marked with extreme dynamism where every day new methodologies and norms are getting introduced. I strongly support the theory of adaptable leadership in view of the principle of embracing the changes with a positive outlook. I also support the trait of this particular leadership where the leader strongly motivates and handholds the team to cope up and combat with any kind of extremities and motivating them to emerge victorious in the end. The theory of adaptable approach of leadership teaches the team to thrive at any situation, time and challenges coming in their ways (Magsaysay&Hechanova,2017)In the educational sectors, a lot of external challenges of government policies, competition of proving worth and meeting the expectations of the institution tend to curb the natural creative splurge of the educators. Here, the role of an able principal can entirely alter the game plan by adopting the principles of this particular leadership traits. In the light of the case study discussed here, I find Ms Deborah has rightly adopted the principles of the adaptable leadership theory, which definitely portrays her acumen as a strong yet compassionate leader. I personally support the fact that unless we step out of our comfort zones, we cannot explore our full potentials. Ms Deborah here has done justification to her role as a leader as she has tried to induce a positive change in the existing system (Alabdulhadi, Schyns, & Staudigl,2017). The theory further reinforces its applicability and superiority over the other discussed theories in the context of motivating the team to step out of their comfort zones and start engaging themselves in experimental methodologies of teaching- learning. In the fast paced, rapidly changing system of modern educational institutions, the theory of adaptable leadership can cater to as a perfect guide and driving force. In my personal view, the best aspect of this leadership theory lies in the culture of embracing the changes in the internal working dynamics of the organization to be at par with the external challenges (Davis, 2017).

The other theories focus more on the ideological outcomes of leadership and concentrates largely on the theory where the question of the practical application of the same is still quite uncertain. To my opinion, the adaptable theory of leadership goes beyond the call of duty assigned to the leaders, where they try to explore the strengths of individuals and extract them in a wise way. Ms Deborah has incorporated the concepts of blended learning in the existing educational curriculum, where the teachers are exposed to go beyond their territories which I personally feel might be quite challenging in the initial stage, but gradually can uplift the performance parameters of the teachers. Moreover, in the process, the teachers are trained to stay relevant, accept challenges and be at pace with the dynamism of the educational sectors( Baltaci& Balc?,2017).

Personal Theory Of Leadership
The detailed analysis of the leadership theories has provided an insightful outlook and a broad understanding skill towards the generalised concept of leadership. The knowledge gained from the case study, viewed against the backdrop of the different leadership theories have a profound influence on my perceptions of leadership. I have always viewed leadership to be one sided compelling force, which tries to regulate or at times lay dominations on others. After the evaluation of the case study and comprehending the different perceptions of the leadership, I can reframe my concepts regarding leadership. The 21st century skills that are essential to be leaders are more based on pragmatic approach rather than bookish theories.

Based on the knowledge gathered and the insightful outlook acquired, my personal perspective towards leadership has now broadened a lot where I consider leaders to be as the service provider or the torch bearer of the entire process. My personal leadership theory highlights the aspects leadership which is built upon the rock-solid foundations of trust, commitment, loyalty and responsibility. Gone are the days when the leaders used to be the ones with the mouthpieces and the others were compelled to act according to their whims and decisions (Raelin,et al, 2018). My theory of leadership, portrays leadership to be a skill where there should be a lot of scopes for inter personal communication, transparency and openness to new set of ideas. The leaders, these days are more listeners and keen observers than dictating his own ideas. My own theory of leadership covers up all the essential qualities of 21 st century where leadership is viewed as an exponential service and loyalty shown towards both the organizational mission and vision along with the motivating the team members to explore the hidden arenas of their individual abilities. From the five theories of leadership, I can reframe my individual theory of leadership, where leadership quality is directly proportional to the acceptance and the reliance gathered by the team members. This self-drafted theory of leadership does not portray leaders to be masters, but to be the support system or the one who handholds and scaffolds the team towards fulfilment of success. The leadership theories of mine would be based on a lot of dynamism as the field of education is never stagnantas we see in the case , Ms Deborah is not opting for the previous set of standards. My theory will highlight the need of the leaders to accept the readiness and the mindfulness of the leaders in accepting the changes and implementing the same in the realms of the organization. Further, my theory will pinpoint that the role of the leaders does not end with drafting or formulating plans but providing adequate support to acquire the best out of it(Mango, 2018).Thus the reflection of my changed perceptions regarding the facets of leadership will be expressed in the theory of leadership where the will be more pragmatic in approach than the ideological ones.

From the above discussion, it is clear that educational management and leadership in the educational sectors are not exactly same. The management in educational field is more concentrated into the non-academic structural framework. The leaders in the field of education are the ones who take the responsibility of bringing in the positive changes in the spheres of teaching-learning as and when required. The theories of leadership are nothing but yardsticks and insightful outlook towards different avenues of leadership. It is to be noted in this regard that most of the successful approaches towards leadership come from the inter personal communication, deep learning experiences, experiences in handling with individual strengths and weaknesses and a patient attitude towards any sort of challenging situations. Being leaders are not an easy task, especially in the fields of education where there has been a continuous contraction and relaxation between the traditional and modern, manual and technical , theoretical and practical keeps on making it an overall difficult affairs.

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