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Jsl Vol 4-N4

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Letter from the Guest Editor

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Faculties of Educational Administration have struggled to define both the content and the delivery modes of their programs. This struggle produced instructional strategies that included case studies, simulations, internships, field studies, game theory, problem-oriented seminars, “in-basket” materials, micro-training, computer-based simulation, tapes, films, television, group dynamic techniques and laboratory training. However, in spite of the variety of instructional approaches that have been attempted over the years in educational administration programs, much of the pedagogy has been criticized for being classroom bound and textbook focused.

New visions of teaching and learning are beginning to move beyond consideration of instructional strategies. These new visions are based on cognitive psychology, or on the mutual construction of knowledge by professors, students, and practitioners, or on active learner-centered andragogy, or on substantive dialogue rather than professor lectures. These new teaching/learning assumptions have profound implications for educational administration programs as we know them today. The required shift in focus is one from content, teaching behaviors, and prespecified goals to that of learning how to acquire information for problem-based decision making, to facilitate student construction of a personal knowledge and skill base, and to develop patterns of disciplined inquiry on actual problems of educational practice.

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A Novel Idea: Changing the Landscape of Administrator Preparation Through Literature and Ethnographies

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JOANN DANELO BARBOUR1

ABSTRACT: Many instructors prefer to utilize a variety of teaching strategies within a framework of a course or program. As we attempt to prepare administrators to understand and create “cultures” within their schools and districts, one method might be to use novels and ethnographic studies to help aspiring administrators understand what cultures are and how cultures are formed. The author shares with the reader the theoretical understanding and process to incorporate a “novels” project into a course in which the intended outcomes for the learner are cultural understanding, research observation, synthesis and assimilation of data, community decision making, and sharing and delegating responsibilities.

The Pueblo Indians had a sun-watcher, a tribal member whose responsibility it was to watch the progress of the sun, the eclipses and the equinox in order to determine the correct time for planting. This, in turn, determined when certain ceremonies linked to growth, rain, fecundity, harvest and thanksgiving–would take place. What the sunwatcher saw in the heavens, and what was reported to the tribe, was a matter of life and death. When a newly hired administrator accepts a position with a school, there are many things she or he must learn about the culture that already exists. The novice administrator needs to have tools at his or her disposal to assist in gathering the cultural knowledge as quickly as possible in order to more fully become a functioning part of the whole culture. The faster the administrator can learn the values and norms of the culture, the sooner the leader can begin to interact with key actors in the culture to determine if the system should change, how the system should change, and together what culture the subgroups can form. In a metaphorical sense, this knowledge is a matter of life and death for the administrator and members of the school community.

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Communication Skills: A Key to Collaboration and Change

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KAREN F. OSTERMAN1

ABSTRACT: Communication is frequently identified as an essential aspect of leadership, an argument that is supported strongly by research regarding organizational change and leader effectiveness. This paper reviews that research and argues that this area of study should be formally addressed in preparation programs—for administrators and teachers. The paper also describes an on-going effort to develop communication skills as part of a university-based administrative preparation program that incorporates principles of experiential or problem-based learning and reflective practice.

The last few years have seen a growing interest in the reform of professional development programs (National Commission on Excellence in Educational Administration, 1987; National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 1989). Much of this reform agenda is prompted by the need for new forms of leadership to facilitate school restructuring. Those leaders who are most effective in promoting change–transformational leaders–work in different ways. They recognize the need to engage members of the school community in the process of change and are able to work collaboratively with others to achieve common goals (Leithwood, 1993; Tucker-Ladd, Merchant, & Thurston, 1992). As the leader’s role is changing, so too is our definition of school community. An African proverb is shaping our notion of school leadership as it becomes increasingly clear that success in meeting children’s educational needs does in fact require a strong and concerted effort on the part of the entire village. The concept of schools as organic structures, where leaders work in partnership with teachers, parents, and students, as well as with public and private agencies and organizations, represents a dramatic shift from the traditional bureaucratic and hierarchical models. In this changing context, effective leadership requires new paradigms and new skills. Preparing leaders for these changing roles also requires new approaches to professional development.

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Developing an Administrative Perspective: Toward a Curriculum Framework for Fostering Conceptual Change

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HOWARD L. JACOBS1

ABSTRACT: The prior experience of entering students of educational administration as classroom teachers is usually disregarded for purposes of program planning. Nevertheless, that experience can exert a prepotent effect during the early stages of academic induction devoted to developing an administrative perspective. Drawing on conceptual change theory, a curriculum framework can be designed to foster the beginning stage of that cognitive shift during introductory coursework.

The real art of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.

—Marcel Proust

All seeing is essentially perspective, and so is all knowing.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

It is a deceptively innocuous fact that virtually all students in university-based programs of administrative preparation are seasoned classroom teachers and, because of the collateral nature of such study, continue to be immersed in classroom life throughout the duration of their education as school administrators. Undoubtedly, there is something advantageous in having practiced teachers as students of educational administration since “they enter programs with an established schema about the general culture of the school and do not have to be socialized into its shared meanings” (Prestine and LeGrand, 1991, p. 75). On the other hand, in the problematic course of getting these students to see much the same phenomena from the administrator’s side of things, the more immediate experience of classroom life can be an antagonistic factor in apprehending that critical change of perspective.

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Preparing Leaders to Understand and Facilitate Change: A Problem-Based Learning Approach

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TOM CHENOWETH*1

ROBERT B. EVERHART2

ABSTRACT: This article describes the development and fruition of a class on the topic of school change. The class was organized following the precepts of problem-based learning, believing that the content and pedagogy of the class should reflect the reality of the environment within which change is implemented in schools.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the structure of a class created on the topic of school change. Designed for current or prospective school administrators, the overall objective of the course was to help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective change agents in their own schools. The class was organized following the precepts of problem-based learning (Bridges, 1992) because we believed that the content and pedagogy of the class should reflect the reality of the environment within which change is implemented in schools. In the specific instance of this class, a problem that focused on a school attempting to be more responsive to a multicultural environment was used as the primary instructional vehicle.

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Problem-Based Learning at the University of Colorado at Denver

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RODNEY MUTH*1

MICHAEL J. MURPHY1

W. MICHAEL MARTIN1

ABSTRACT: Three field-oriented, problem-based programs at UCD have provided opportunities and challenges for professors, practitioners and students that differ importantly from traditional, classroom-based administrator preparation. Among the opportunities are involvement of students in planning and conducting their own learning, collaboration among professor-practitioner-student teams in solving difficult problems of practice, employment of multiple modes of instruction and learning, and use of performance-based learning outcomes and portfolio assessments. The challenges include changing professorial roles and relations with the field, implementing new ways of learning and teaching, and developing alternative methods of assessing learning outcomes.

Finding the appropriate balance between formal, specialized knowledge and clinical problem-solving skills produces a major paradox for professional schools in higher education. Those programs that stress the acquisition of formal knowledge are reproached for being “ivory tower” or irrelevant. Those that emphasize clinical skills are accused of being soft or of lacking rigor. A typical solution to the need for both the oretical and practical training has been to organize the curriculum so that it first provides instruction in theory and research (i.e., formal knowledge) and then, through internships and clerkships, provides a period of application. Instruction in theory and research is overseen by academic faculty, and internships are supervised by practicing doctors, social workers or school administrators (i.e., clinical faculty). With this programmatic separation, the distinction between theory and practice is underscored.

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Redefining Teaching and Learning in Educational Administration

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CONNIE L. FULMER1

ABSTRACT: Recent attention to alternatives for traditional educational leadership program delivery models is part of an evolutionary process that serves to redefine teaching and learning. The conventional linear relationship between content, teaching, and learning is being transformed by these alternative models. The assumptions and components of an experiential learning model are presented to bring focus to this process and to offer one way to redefine teaching and learning in educational leadership preparation programs. This redefinition describes teaching and learning as a transactional process of creating personal knowledge through experiential alternative learning environments. The model has design implications for individual lessons, courses, projects, or an entire program. Two examples of experientially-based course projects are presented.

Instructional programs in educational administrative have been criticized for being too “bookish” and “classroom” bound (Elliot, 1910; Mulkeen and Tetenbaum, 1990; Murphy, 1992). Institutional responses to this criticism have yielded alternatives to traditional program delivery models. Some of these alternatives have been captured in book form not only as conceptualizations (Murphy, 1992), but also as actual descriptions of the design and implementation of these innovations (Murphy, 1992; Murphy 1993; Bridges, 1992; Milstein, 1993; Osterman and Kottkamp, 1993). The Prospective Principals Program at Stanford (Bridges, 1993), the Hofstra experience (Shakeshaft, 1993), the design studio (Hart, 1993), and Project ISELP (UCEA, 1993, Spring) are but a few of the innovative designs being implemented nationally, in programs of educational leadership.

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