Friday, August 29, 2008

Introduction to Educational Management

Unit One

In this first unit we introduce some theoretical perspectives on management and examine a number of key management concepts and principles. We believe that a deeper understanding of the nature of educational manage­ment will enable you to improve your practice as a school manager.

Individual study time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit you should be able to:
· discuss the contribution which management theory can make to understanding management practice
· explain the meaning of the terms: management, organisation, administration, supervision, and leadership in education
· understand how to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes in educational management to enable more effective and efficient planning of resources for use in your school, organising and co‑ordinating of school programmes, projects and activities, and directing, controlling and evaluating of the teaching and learning processes in school.

Concepts of management in education
Management can mean different things to different people at different times, and a variety of definitions have been offered. The term 'management' itself, derives from the verb 'to manage', which can mean:

• to handle
• to control
• to make and keep submissive
• to organise
• to alter by manipulation

• to carry out for a purpose.

Activity 1.1
1) Give an example of how you manage your school in the way suggested by each of the above meanings.
2) Which of these meanings most closely matches the way you manage your school?

Some of the meanings given above appear almost offensive. Do you really, as a head, make and keep your staff and pupils submissive? These terms suggest to us a variety of styles of management, some of which will be more acceptable and productive than others. Another way people talk of management is to describe it as an art, a science, an organisation, a person, a discipline, or a process. Let us consider each of these in turn.

Management as an art
As an art, management is about carrying out organisational functions and tasks through people. This art involves the application of techniques in:
· human and public relations
· the delegation of an authority: assigning and sharing responsibilities and duties
· communication: including decision making and problem solving
· managing change.

Management as a science
Management here is concerned with establishing a philosophy, laws, theo­ries, principles, processes and practices which can be applied in various situations, including schools.

Management as an organisation
As an organisation, management is about creating formal structures and an establishment based on a mission (or goals), objectives, targets, functions and tasks. For example, social and welfare organisations in government management can refer to education and health services, whilst public security management services could refer to the police and military.

Management as a person
Managements may be seen as a person or a group of people. For example, a teacher could say 'The school management has changed the timetable in the middle of the term'. This could be referring to you, as the head alone, or to all the senior staff, or it could refer to the members of the board of governors (if the school has one) or school committee. In schools with several promoted staff a 'Senior Leadership Team' might be formed in much the same way as a govern­ment has a cabinet of ministers.

Management as a discipline
In this sense, management is a field of study with various subjects and topics. Knowledge, skills and attitudes in management can be acquired through learning, from experience and from certificated courses.

Management is a collection of processes, including such things as decision making, problem solving action‑planning and evaluating. These processes involve the management of resources including human, material, financial and time. These processes are also known as the functions of managers.

The functions of managers
We will briefly examine five main functions of managers, namely: planning, organising, directing, supervising and evaluating. These may be seen to form a management cycle as shown in below.

A cycle of management functions

If you have studied Module 1, Self‑Development for Educational Leaders, you will have learned that the first action of a school leader is to identify the mission of the school and to set the objectives. The head will then need to identify different strategies by which to achieve the agreed mission and objectives. Through the planning process the head aims to manage an efficient and an effective school. Efficient means using minimum resources to get maximum results on time. Effective means to achieve the set of objectives. The third part of the planning stage is thus to decide on an appropriate strategy

Organising involves putting in order of priority and preference the resources which are available. An Action Plan is needed in which actions and activities are scheduled. In order to give the plan 'teeth', targets are set. These targets should be quite easily attainable within a short period of time.

The manager needs to direct the implementation of the plan. He or she should provide leadership by delegating duties and responsibilities to staff, and by motivating them. The directing process also involves co‑ordinating and controlling the supply and use of resources.


The manager will need to supervise the work which is being done, ensuring that activities are carried out in line with agreed standards, and taking steps to correct problems.

The final part of the management cycle is to assess the results and compare them with the set targets and objectives. The performance of all the staff including the managers should be assessed. The feedback is needed in the adjustment of future plans.
How useful do you find these views of management? Reflect on the processes followed in your school, noting down strengths and weaknesses in your management practice.

We hope that you are now beginning to have a better understanding of the nature of management and the range of processes you undertake in your role as manager. We will be commenting on management role and functions later in this unit and again in Unit 3, 'The Functions of School Management', when we will encourage a more detailed diagnosis of school management functions. But first, let us look further at management theory and principles.

Principles of educational management
A principle is a generally accepted truth, which is based on experience and the available information. The following are principles which are generally used to describe management generally:

¨ Everyone in the organisation takes a share of the work.
¨ Authority is given to groups and individuals to carry out tasks.
¨ Individuals and groups will take responsibility for their actions.
¨ Individuals and groups will be held accountable for their actions.
¨ There will be individuals who will take responsibility for command and direction.
¨ Organisations will have a chain of command and direction.
¨ Staff are paid for their efforts.
¨ Individual interest gives in to general interest.
¨ There will be equity within the organisation.
¨ Tenure of personnel will be stable.
¨ Efforts will be coordinated and planned.
¨ Everyone should be aware of the goals and objectives

Are these principles relevant in managing education in Guyana today? Look at current practices in your school. Can you think of examples for some of the above principles of management?

Two principles popularly practised are:

Chain of command
This means the optimum number of colleagues reporting to the same supervisor. It is often suggested that this number should be between five to eight; one person cannot effectively supervise above this supposed limit, and some delegation may be appropriate.

This principle highlights that effective organisational performance is achieved when all persons and resources are synchronised, and given directions. This implies deliberate planned action towards the achievement of specific goals or policy objectives.

You may have noted the principle of division of work. The idea of speciali­sation in all kinds of work, both management and technical, is widely upheld. For example, in primary education, we all have a responsibility to provide quality education for the pupil. Our roles at different levels as a teacher, school head, school inspector, REDO, are indeed based on this principle of division of work. Within your school there will be some clear divisions of work and it is not uncommon to find educational organisations structured into:

¨ policy formulation units: to make and regulate policies
¨ planning/ development units: to translate policy into action ‑ policy to goals and objectives in relation to resources
¨ implementation of policy units
¨ evaluation and monitoring units. (e.g. MERD Unit MOE)

So it will be seen that there is some universality in these principles of management. However, some writers consider that the special characteris­tics of educational organisations imply caution in too readily applying management models or practices drawn from non‑educational settings. Let us look further at the idea of schools as organisations.

Activity 1.2
Draw the organisational structure and supervisory establishment chart for your school starting with the Headteacher and ending with the position of the pupil. Preparing the chart should assist you in understanding the nature of your school as an organization. If this chart already exists, ensure that it is completely up to date and accurate.

The school as an organisation

Activity 1.2
Draw the organisational structure and supervisory establishment chart for your school starting with the Headteacher and ending with the position of the pupil. Preparing the chart should assist you in understanding the nature of your school as an organization. If this chart already exists, ensure that it is completely up to date and accurate.

A manager works for and is part of an organisation. Educational institutions are organisations. Your school is an organisation.

The word organisation comes from the word organ, and organs are living things. Your eye is an organ; so is your ear, mouth, heart, kidney, liver and many others. All these organs have specific work to do. A healthy living body has all its organs working properly. A healthy society has all its organisations working well in relation to one another. Societies set up organisations to do specific work. An organisation is thus the result of the grouping of work and the allocation of duties, responsibilities and authority to achieve specific goals In the management of education, it is important that the school head understands that a school as an organisation has a specific purpose.

We can summarise some important organisation concepts in terms of the following:

Mission and objectives of the organisation

Functions of the organisation: What the organisation is supposed to do in order to achieve the goals.

Responsibilities and duties: People in various positions in the organisation have to carry these out. These responsibilities and duties are worked out from the functions: responsibilities would include broad statements of the job; whereas duties are the day‑to‑day jobs arising from the responsibilities.

Tasks: These are specific activities within a duty.

Standards: These describe the amount and the quality of products from the organisation.

Targets: These are the amount and quality of products which an organisation wishes to give out over a given time. For example, a school which can enrol 105 pupils in Grade 1 can hope to have at least 90 of those pupils completing seven years of primary education. Targets are now becoming much more focused on educational outputs e.g. the number of children achieving a certain predetermined standard at a particular age,

You will come across many more terms about management and organisations during the course of this module, but we hope by now that you are beginning to appreciate how an understanding of the key concepts and principles of management may help you to improve your performance as a school manager.

As the summary of the concept of organisation highlights, a starting point for examining whether a school 'works properly' is to clarify its purpose as an organisation. Typical organisations have the following aspects clearly stated and understood by all the people in them and those who have interest in them:

¨ title of the organisation: its name, logo or symbol or emblem or badge or trade mark, motto, location and address
¨ the mission statement and objectives of the organisation
¨ functions of the organisation
¨ expected results, products or outcomes

Activity 1.3
State the following about your school: name, motto, logo; current mission statement and objectives; its functions; its philosophy; its expected and actual results for the last three years. If your school has none of these, it is maybe time you initiated them. These are all MOE requirements for schools in Guyana.

Efficient and effective schools are strongly guided by their vision and mission statement. An efficient school head uses the minimum number of people, mate­rials, machines, equipment, money and time to get maximum results. Efficiency in management is important because there will nearly always be an inadequate supply of resources for any job.

An effective head is able to produce expected results in a school. Factors used in judging an effective school include:

¨ excellent achievement by many pupils in examinations
¨ excellent progress by all pupils judged against the baseline assessment and based ability
¨ excellent performance in games, sports, athletics, drama, debates, music festivals, etc.
¨ well behaved pupils
¨ the success of past pupils.
¨ the school as a learning community
¨ excellent relationship among teachers, parents and pupils
¨ parents’ readiness to participate in school activities

Your management practice can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your school. We will be examining the concept of school effectiveness and the head's contribution towards this at a number of points in these Modules, particularly Module 6, Monitoring School Effectiveness.

Activity 1.4
There are many different types of organisations. Note down some of the similarities and differences between a school, a hospital, a bank, in terms of the organisation concepts discussed earlier. What might be the implications of these for management practice?

You may have noticed in comparing a school to a hospital that they are both service organisations, albeit with different client groups. Schools serve healthy people to change their behaviour. Hospitals serve unhealthy people to become healthy. Other organisations like banks aim to make a profit as they serve people. Some private and commercial schools also operate like banks. Other distinctive characteristics of educational management concern the objectives, which may be hard to define, and the fact that outcomes are rather difficult to measure. Another point relates to the time available for managerial activities, a point which may become clearer when we look at the role of the head.

The role of the head
As a school head, you fulfil a number of important roles. Your role ulti­mately involves changing the behaviour and attitude of each pupil. It is recognised that you get this job done through other people. This is the management role, and the key focus of this unit so far has been to explore the nature of the management practices which make up this role.

Note down some other major roles which might describe the way a school head undertakes his or her job.

The roles you noted might have included the following:

¨ Leadership
¨ visionary
¨ supervising
¨ pastoral care
¨ change agent.
¨ administrative
¨ team builder

We will be commenting on many of the functions associated with these various roles subsequently in this module. Here we attempt some clarifica­tions of the leadership and administrative roles to conclude this introduc­tory unit.

Leadership, Management and Administration
Pause for a moment and consider what you think to be the difference between Leadership, Management and Administration.

Leadership is the principal role of the Headteacher. It is not just a simple question of he / she leads and others follow. The Head is a facilitator to ensure that all within the school are agreed upon and follow common goals. He / she verbalises the vision for the school and ensures that all within it work together as a team to achieve it.

Some people use management to mean administration. However, management in an organisation involves planning, designing, initiating actions, monitoring activities and demanding results on the basis of allo­cated resources. It is policy making, policy control and monitoring.

Administration on the other hand involves implementation of the policies, procedures, rules and regulations as set up by the management.

A school head will only play the role of an administrator in the implementation of policies on education within Guyana. However, at this point we must offer a word of caution.

As stated above, the principle role of the Headteacher is the Leader of the School, often referred to as “the lead professional”. This involves being proactive in its development and the vision for its future, as well as ensuring quality and results for the pupils it serves.

It is common for Headteachers to play the role of Administrator, becoming too involved in procedures, regulations and bureaucracy. This is a dangerous approach as it will stifle creativity, slow down progress and become an excuse for the failure to develop the school.

To test the extent that you, as Headteacher, may have fallen into this mode of working, ask yourself the following questions?

¨ Do I spend more time in my office than walking the school?
¨ Do I always respond to every administrative task as it appears?
¨ Do I pride myself on keeping a tidy desk?
¨ Do I fail to advise teachers because I have paperwork to do?
¨ Do I fail to observe lessons, comment on them and suggest further development because day to day matters get in the way?
¨ Do I fail to get feedback from teachers, pupils and parents?

If you are answering “yes” to any of these questions, then you need seriously to consider your work practices.

Policies, paperwork, reports and records as such will not improve standards. Monitoring, evaluation, development, support and praise for staff in a supportive atmosphere of “working together” will have an impact on school development and ultimately results.

However, this does not mean that policy and administrative tasks can be neglected. It is a matter of creating a balance. To that extent, you will need, for example, to be familiar with educational policy state­ments in Guyana, such as:

· the language and numeracy policies
· policy statements on educational personnel matters and provision of education service as stated in the education laws
· policy statements on education by Ministry of Education Officers, especially those on the code of conduct for pupils and for teachers and curriculum development, implementation and evaluation
· five policy areas of education

Supervision and leadership
In addition to the leadership, managerial and administrative roles, the head also has a super­visory role. S(he) is responsible for quality within the school and this is achieved by a thorough monitoring and evaluation programme which involves the assessment of the work of others, evaluating performance and acting upon the information gathered to make further developments.

Consider the two distinct roles of leader and supervisor and how you would use each to implement strategies to improve results in Grade 7 mathematics which have been declining or several years.

Leadership: This involves the use of authority, power and influence in the process of managing resources at work to produce results.

Supervision: This involves being able to do the job oneself, showing others how to do it, checking that the job is well done and taking appropriate action when it is not.
Remember that an effective supervisor explains what is to be done, who is expected to do it, how it should be done, when it is to be done and the consequences of a job well done. On the other hand, an effective leader sets the targets and the standards. Success or failure in doing the job is measured against the set targets and standards.

In this unit we have introduced different perspectives on educational leadership, highlighting key concepts, principles and processes of leadership, management, supervision and administration. We hope that you have been able to relate the discussion so far to your own experience as a school head and that you have started to reflect on your role and functions as a leader and manager.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.