Every business imaginable has accelerated its transition in recent years, and education is no exception, although it was already in flux prior to the present pandemic.
Existing educational issues are still very much alive and well. While the return to physical learning environments following the lockdown will necessitate new health and safety protocols and procedures at all levels, educational leaders are still grappling with perennial concerns such as technology integration and resource allocation efficiency.
The question then becomes how future leaders can overcome these obstacles, navigating institutions through crises while retaining the quality of the learning environment.
This blog will examine the five critical abilities expected of tomorrow’s education leaders and may help you decide if educational leadership is the right career path for you.
Over the previous decade, technological innovations have altered virtually every area of our life, including schooling. Teachers are increasingly utilising online resources in the classroom for interactive learning and information sharing with students.
However, in the last few months, technology has been critical in securing the connection between students and their institutions, guaranteeing that kids continue to receive an education while at home. This has been accomplished by assigning tasks online and frequently conducting courses via video conference programmes such as Zoom.
Teachers and kids alike have had to quickly adapt to these changes in the virtual classroom, and many educators, including North Shields primary school teacher Richard Stephenson, have taken an inventive approach to their new circumstances. During lockdown, he created a YouTube channel to teach his children French through the use of a fictional character named Mr Steee. The character has become a huge popularity with students. His daughter and neighbours have joined the effort as well, demonstrating that “everyone can speak French; you just have to give it a try.”
Ned Symes of London’s Bessamer Grange Primary School used a similar approach, recording daily movies in which he composes songs, films his outdoor walks, and teaches his young kids using everyday things, a resource that parents have found essential.
Engaging kids in the classroom is a skill that many teachers spend years honing. Learning to do so via a Zoom call brings its own set of unique problems, but educators such as Mr Stephenson and Mr Symes are pioneering new methods to combine an innate gift for teaching with minimal resources by providing classes via the virtual classroom.
The term “school mapping” refers to the methods used to determine future requirements for individual schools, as well as the means by which those requirements will be satisfied.
By recognising that all inadequacies are ultimately target opportunities for change, educational leaders may raise standards; yet, determining precisely how this can be pioneered requires a high level of organisational competence.
The issue of staff shortages will be one of the most critical future challenges. The Education Policy Institute reported concerns with teacher recruitment and retention, with particular shortages in math, science, and languages, in a report released prior to the lockdown in early March 2020. This pre-existing issue was worsened in the early days of the crisis, prior to school closures, when instructors were unwell, and it is likely to remain a worry until schools reopen. Managing this will put any leader’s problem-solving abilities to the test, but those who can prioritise according to needs and objectives will achieve positive results under adverse conditions.
Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
The coronavirus crisis has affected us all emotionally, and educational leaders must be acutely aware of the deep psychological impact that lockdown has on many children, as well as the impact of school reopening as pupils adjust to safety measures such as social separation.
Leaders must also be cognizant of the fact that many instructors – and kids – have experienced loss in recent months, and therefore prioritise acute mental health awareness among their responsibilities.
Educational leaders must ensure that proper support structures are in place to assist students and employees who are experiencing emotional difficulties during this transitioning phase, and they must use their emotional intelligence to keep empathy at the forefront of decision-making.
Teachers’ ability to connect with their pupils sensitively will be critical, and educational leaders must allow classrooms, both virtual and physical, to become spaces of creativity, empathy, and expression as part of the educational process.
Numerous professors already do this; for instance, when IT teacher Pete Dring assigned his pupils the homework assignment of “cheering someone up,” he prompted one student to create his own short film, named “The Sweet Thief.”
When it comes to incorporating emotional intelligence into the classroom, educators might do worse than to take a page from Mr Dring’s compassionate and inventive book.
Communication is a critical component of leadership, and clarity will be critical in the coming months when new health and safety measures are implemented. All guidance must be crystal clear to teachers, students, and parents in order for policies to be consistently enforced.
However, educational leaders must be able to explain critical and practical changes while also providing reassurance and connecting with compassion.
Consider David Philips, the headteacher of Chilwell School in Nottinghamshire. He exemplified compassionate communication during school closures by creating short films for his students to watch on Twitter in lieu of regular assemblies and maintaining a blog on the school’s website.
In one film, he wishes his students well, emphasises that he “does not want anyone to be concerned” about Year 11 and Year 13 students about to begin exams, and encourages students to “try and do something to bring a smile to people’s faces.”
Mr Philips’ use of social media to engage with his kids exemplifies effective transparent communication, since his efforts reassure not just students, but also teachers and parents, that a proactive leadership presence is prioritising resilience in difficult circumstances.
While addressing specific pandemic-related difficulties, educational leaders must also negotiate ongoing educational challenges.
For some time now, issues such as bridging the achievement gap for disadvantaged children, increasing institutional collaboration, and teacher recruitment have been at the forefront of educational leadership debates and continue to be so.
Educational leaders who wish to address these issues must be able to define clear, attainable goals – goals that contribute to an overarching vision of education improvement and consistency in quality.
Are You a Candidate for Educational Leadership?
Are you prepared to build a more promising future in education?
If you possess the potential to lead effectively while utilising a variety of abilities and inspiring people to action, our Educational Leadership and Management MBA programme may be the ticket to a new stage in your career.
And as Online learning fast becomes the new norm for many institutions, our remote course provides excellent insights into how this teaching method can operate, equipping you with this and many other direct and transferrable skills in preparation for your teaching career.
So as well as equipping yourself with the specialist subject skills the world’s foremost educational leaders display you’re effectively learning about online learning by osmosis, becoming completely au fait with an alternative education delivery method which has moved into the mainstream in the short space of a few months and will likely be the default mode for generations to come.
Making a choice
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