Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Successful Leadership Practices in School Problem-Solving by the Principals of the Secondary Schools in Irbid Educational Area

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Successful Leadership Practices in School Problem-Solving by the Principals of the Secondary Schools in Irbid Educational Area

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed at identifying the successful leadership practices for solving school problems by the principals of the secondary schools in Irbid educational area. It also aimed at identifying the differences in the principals' evaluations of these practices by the variables of gender, academic degree, and work experience. The sample consisted of (473) male and female principals. They completed a 40-item questionnaire developed for the purposes of this study. The questionnaire contained four domains: successful leadership practices for teachers' problem-solving; students; local community and parents; and school environment and supplies. The results of the study showed that successful leadership practices for school problem-solving were high, except for the local community and parents' problem-solving domain, which was at medium degree. The results further showed statistically significant differences among the principals' responses to the successful leadership practices attributed to the gender, academic degree and work experiences variables. The study recommended focusing on achieving the partnership principle between the school and the local community, and activation of the principal's role as an educational leader at school.

Keywords: practices, successful leadership, school problem-solving, Irbid, Jordan

1. Introduction

The school is the mirror that reflects the success or failure of the educational systems, being the executive level of the educational plans and policies. The success of the school in achieving its purposes is a true reflection of the successful leadership practices in the school. Thomas (2001) maintained that the safe school leadership of the future school should be prepared for carrying out its leadership role efficiently and effectively. This may be realized by the development of the educational environment, building good relationships outside and inside the school, and designing short-term programs to acquire developed skills in order to promote his/her leading works. Helen (1997) added stimulation of the administrative and educational faculties and students to work effectively and efficiently according to the contemporary educational criteria. Richard and Elena (1995) emphasized on setting conduct-defining systems, that will be applied by cooperation with the school leadership and parents for students' problem-solving (as quoted from "The Honor Level System", designed by Church Ward in 1995 in the United States of America).

Thus, the school leadership is an interactive, social process between the school leadership, the teachers, the students and the local community. All these parties are engaged in solving the school problems, (Specialized National Councils; 2003). Southworth (2004) said that the effective leadership is influential based on three strategies: pattern setting, monitoring or controlling, and dialogue.

In the light of the above, we may refer to the successful leadership as the one that puts these strategies as an essential foundation in school problem-solving in a participatory mode between the school leader and the stakeholders of the educational process. Yukl (2002) indicated that the school leadership is a social influence process, and the leader is the influential who depends on all the participants to achieve the teaching quality and to study its problems. As a result, the leadership is open to many problems that require successful initiatives for solving such problems (Bush, 2008).

Al-Ajez (2001) indicated that among school leadership problems are those concerning the teachers and poor supplies that would serve the teaching environment. This also found a strong support in the study conducted by Abu Oudeh (2004) and Due-Kworth (2000) who added the school security and student violence. Consequently, the solutions emerging from the participatory leadership principle hold positive results. This is built on the fact that the leader's conduct at school (as referred to by Blasé and Blasé, 1998), is based on three aspects: dialogue with teachers, holding conferences, and reinforcing the teachers' professional growth; in order to achieve the power of participation and sound initiations, and enhancing teachers' thinking. …

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