Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Educational Management, Volume 25, Issue 2
In this issue there are papers from Australia, Greece, Hong Kong and the USA which have as usual a variety of subjects for your consideration and advancement.
In the first paper Teresa San Martin and Ray Calabrese use the “appreciative enquiry” technique to empower at-risk students. The purpose of the study was to identify how at-risk high school students in an alternative school describe best how they learn and to use their professional learning practices to improve teacher pedagogical techniques. The study produced four findings:
relevant experiences were important for learning;
a cooperative and respectful learning environment is a core value;
learning should be enjoyable; and
the concept of family became an important metaphor for the learning environment.
The second is on “Power principles for educational leaders: research into practice”, the co-authors being Wayne Hoy and John Tarter. The paper attempts to demonstrate the utility of empirical research in guiding everyday practice in the midst of coping with irrationality. Ariely’s (2008) analysis of predictability and irrationality was the inspiration for this application of research into practice. In the paper seven concepts are discussed and their implications for practice-the powers of perception, simplification, decisiveness, deadlines, norms, ownership, and emotional expectations. The paper is well-organised,relevant and readable.
Scott Eacott then writes on “New look leaders or a new look at leadership?” in which the paper seeks to take up the challenge of complex, social, political and cultural influences, uncertain economic conditions, ever advancing technologies and increasingly diverse student populations to challenge educational leadership to say what the leaders’ work should be. The core argument of the paper is that viewing leadership as a complex social activity that is not directly observable has the prospect of moving scholarship beyond superficial measurement of direct observation to something more.
The next submission is given by multiple authors including two well known to IJEM, Alan Cheung and Y.C.Cheng. The topic is “Strategies and policies for Hong Kong’s higher education in Asian markets: lessons from the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore”. The volume of international trade in education and linked services has become a major source of income for many developed countries. Governments have become increasingly well disposed to supporting such work. Like many others, Hong Kong has been active in seeking more international students, and a government report in 2002 proposed that the area became a hub for the region. This study examines and compares the strategies and policies employed by the three countries in the title and also recommends appropriate strategies and policies to HE institutions and the HK government and elsewhere regarding student expansion.
A submission by Vassiliki Brinia may generate some interest in other areas as it is on male educational leadership, particularly in primary schools. The purpose of the paper is summarised by the author in several research questions:
How do male school leaders perceive the role of an educational leader and educational leadership in general?
What are some of the male school leaders’ leadership styles and features?
What distinctive factors influence and hinder the leadership process for men in Greek primary schools?
Are there any perceived gender differences in educational leadership?
What are the attitudes and the level of motivation that male school leaders have towards promotion?
Although the sample is relatively small the author was able to go into some depth in the questioning, the results being presented in a systemic model which outlines the various influences, e.g. a wide range of influencing factors has been revealed alongside a series of leadership styles and behaviours that are displayed by male school leaders in Greece. The research paper offers a number of concepts that appear to portray leadership effectiveness.
The final paper is by Reynold Macpherson and it concentrates on educational administration in Timor Leste, an area with a history of links to Portugal in the past but which since independence has demonstrated a number of major problems. These include a lack of a common language and poor quality of education. A Ministry and Inspectorate have been created to establish the rights of citizens to education. A regional structure comprising schools’ directorates has been created. Also the inspector general’s office has established a regional set up. There are persistent challenges in the system which Professor Macpherson outlines, e.g. while there are two parallel educational administration systems determined by law, in practice the Minister manages as one organisation which can be either helpful or unhelpful depending on circumstances. This probably reflects old Indonesian past experiences when there were no regional officials, only all powerful district superintendents. Reflecting the previous paper it is noted that all senior appointees were men with only one exception. The salary rates are another difficulty and there is some ambiguity in the system. Corruption is a concern too with alleged misuses of grants, although it is thought to be limited. On the whole the paper is very positive and praises the achievements of Timor Leste on restructuring in a short period with a determination to raise quality for all.
Ariely, D. (2008), Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Harper, New York, NY