Teacher Education through Open and Distance Learning

By Bernadette Robinson; Colin Latchem | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Open and distance learning for school managers

Tony Bush and Richard Charron

The quality of leadership and management is one of the most significant variables in delineating effective and ineffective schools, yet in many countries the provision of training and professional development is minimal or absent. Hallinger and Heck (1999) show that the influence of school managers is most powerful in clarifying and articulating the purposes of the school:

The literature exhorts leaders in all sectors to articulate their vision, set clear goals for their organisations, and create a sense of shared mission. Our review supports the belief that formulating the school's purposes represents an important leadership function. In fact, the research shows that mission-building is the strongest and most consistent avenue of influence school leaders use to influence student achievement.

(Hallinger and Heck 1999:179)

UNESCO's Delors report (Delors 1996) observes that the most important factor in school efficiency and quality improvement is the openness, competence and efficiency of the head teacher or principal. The Commonwealth Secretariat (1996a) also emphasizes the link between management and school effectiveness, focusing specifically on the role of the headteacher in Africa. It warns that 'effectiveness' may mean operating with smaller budgets:

The head … plays the most crucial role in ensuring school effectiveness. This role is, however, complex and demanding. It involves management of financial, human and material resources in a dynamic situation affected by many internal and external forces. This situation is frequently made more difficult by decreasing levels of government funding, in real terms, at a time of increasing demands for education. The school head in Africa is, therefore, in a difficult position, being

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