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    The L.E.A.D.E.R. Way


    In June 1997,the Prime Minister of Singapore unveiled the Government’s vision of ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nation’ (TSLN). This vision was forged to improve Singapore’s education system in the roomy of the terse changes re the world. The presidency foresees that Singapore, when its limited natural resources, can on your own continue to loan by nurturing a knowledgeable workforce that is regulating to the changes in the world economy. More importantly, the management realized that it had to start preparing the nation for these inevitable changes by revamping the education system in accordance in the manner of the vision of TSLN.

    The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore, the let in agency answerable for the appear in of this vision, states the goals of TSLN as follows:

    Thinking Schools ensure that we equip students as soon as skills and knowledge and values and instincts to point vanguard challenges, even if Learning Nation aims to market a culture of continual learning beyond the theoretical environment. (MOE, 1998,p.16)

    In order to pull off the vision, the MOE has introduced changes to the curriculum, the training of teachers, assessment modes and the development of resource packages. Furthermore, every schools will have students spending at least 30% of their curriculum era accessing electronic resources and on the go on computers. (MOE, 1998,p.17) The changes in the curriculum put in the infusion of thinking skills and the dwindling in the contents of the curriculum. Schools are strongly encouraged to set stirring their own thinking programs and teachers are to enroll in courses to learn how to infuse thinking skills in their teaching.

    With the restructuring taking place to pull off the vision, most teachers terrify that the changes will pain them by increasing their already-heavy workload and tight period schedule due to increased training hours. The principal, living thing the main disseminator of the MOE’s mission of TSLN in the school, has the unenviable task to articulate this vision to overcome the resistance to the changes especially from the school’s teachers.

    The main goal of the paper is to probe the perceptions of teachers as to the effectiveness of principals in leading a tweak programs (in this case, a Thinking Programs). in the past teachers are directly liable for the learning outcomes of the students, their perceptions of their principals’ effectiveness and concomitant deeds are critical to the capability of the vision of TSLN. As share of the paper, a war breakdown of a primary school, which has embarked upon a Thinking Programs, has been carried out.


    In the wish of improving the existing system, schools position many problems following introducing well-meaning changes. Restructuring would, inevitably, disturb people within the organisation to occupy other ideas and ideals that usually outcome in many uncertainties (Heckman, 1990). A school’s principal, thus, has the up task to rule the level of resistance to alter and align the staff to conduct yourself towards a common vision, amidst the turbulence.

    To reiterate, the author is focussing upon teachers’ perceptions of their principal in leading change, more specifically, the process of creating a Thinking Programme for the school. The importance of teachers’ sharpness of their leaders in the attainment of a learned has been documented in various researches. Researchers (such as Bhella, 1992) suggested that teachers’ morale is partnered to student achievement. And, in turn, the principal has the strongest put on on teachers’ satisfaction in the workplace. (Vanderstoepe et al, 1994) From that perspective, the teachers’ satisfaction and perceptions of the principal in leading the bend process would directly have an impact upon the success rate of the supplementary programme of boosting students’ achievement.

    In the process of writing, the author discussed once many teachers upon what they expect their leaders to complete subsequently introducing a new programs to their schools. The author has summarized the teachers’ opinions for amalgamation in this paper. Previous research and literature would be used to illuminate the factors that are indispensable to the expertise of a principal in leading a fiddle with programs. To additional enhance clarity of exposition, I have presented systematically the ideas encapsulated in previous research by using the acronym of L.E.A.D.E.R as a model to elucidate the steps in leading a wealthy tweak programs in a school. The acronym of L.E.A.D.E.R stands for:

    Leading by example

    Empowering vision

    Adaptive change

    Developing people

    Evaluating the system


    The above model does not attempt to be prescriptive or attempt to imply that it will cover all the salient factors of an full of zip amend programme. Due to the prescribed length of the paper, the author hopes that the model will shed more blithe in the topic of research in a more diagnostic manner.

    Leading by Example

    In most organisations that have embarked on a bend programme, one of the more common complaints by the employees is that the leader does not ‘walk the talk’. In a school, if a principal is not compliant to learn and adjust to changes, there are no compelling reasons for the staff to attain so. The Scout’s motto, ‘ guide by Example’, is a major criteria of what a principal must attain to succeed in leading change.

    In order to make a thinking and learning organisation, principal will become researchers and designers rather than controllers and overseers. They should plus be a model of learning to the perch of the organisation and incite the staff to be life-long learners. (Senge, 1990) More importantly, a principal must not merely communicate in words, but by actions to convince the staff that the fine-tune is in the works at every levels. These construct a wisdom of esprit de corp in the teacher that will incite in dwindling the pressures that change brings to organisations.

    In short, a principal has to be perceived to be skilled in leading intellectual teacher fee by his or her own example. (Dunning, 1993; McHugh & McMullan, 1995) Unless the staffs are convinced, they will not operate co-operatively towards the carrying out of the alter programme.

    Empowering Vision

    A alter programme requires a bend of vision. According to Kotter (1995, p.10),

    “” A vision says something that clarifies the government in which an organisation needs to move.””

    The Ministry of Education developed the vision of TSLN in the middle of 1997. In the schools, banners are put occurring to pronounce the vision of TSLN and college principals were acknowledged to align the teachers towards this shared vision for the betterment of the schools. The principals are established to fiddle with culture through capacity in communication of the valuable shared values for a misused vision. (Campbell-Evans, 1993).

    Adaptive Change

    In most organisations’ modify programme, the take control School management system Singapore of pace of fine-tune is often ignored. Most leaders are keen to see results and appropriately apply unwarranted pressures upon those practicing in the process .In Singapore schools; such a thing is a commonplace. in the manner of the MOE’s object of creating a world-class literary system in Singapore, many other initiatives are introduced within a rapid mature of time. Most of the initiatives will require much get older and effort of the teachers, upon summit of their already-heavy load. Such a thing often causes put on and the principal has to quarters the issues.

    A fine leader, therefore, must be talented of changeable the upset by sequencing and pacing the work required of the modify process. Unfortunately, this is not the feat in most bend programme. Most leaders begin supplementary initiatives without stopping new events or they begin too many initiatives at the thesame time. They beat and disorient the categorically people who habit to agree to responsibility for the work. (Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.180)

    Developing People

    The people who are directly lively in a modify programme have to be well enough trained to meet the challenges. A fine principal would ensure that the staff’s potential is developed for many reasons. Firstly, if the staffs are not trained skillfully to agree to the additional responsibilities of the initiative, the programme will not be a success. Secondly, a principal who develops and empowers the staff in the concerned change programme will be more dexterous to convince them to commit to it. By enactment so, a principal can disturb leadership by sharing leadership similar to the staff in the school. Through empowering others, the principal can as well as elevate his/her status and power. (Blas, 1987)

    A principal can furthermore fabricate the staff potential by establishment occurring channels of communication within the school. character occurring committees and encouraging peer learning could realize this. uncovered agencies following carrying out in the areas of tweak can plus be consulted to back up smoothen the process of change.

    A principal who is a people developer would gain as “” solutions to adaptive challenges reside not in the organization suite but in the total sharpness of employees at every levels.””(Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.173) Thus, by pretense so, the principal would have increased the level of talent of the new initiative and along with the hearts of his/her followers.

    Evaluating the System

    The principal must continually monitor the process of a additional learned initiative. The initial rapidity that has been built happening the principal may wane due to the want of a good review system .An on the go review system would permit the principal to see the flaws and to refine the programme due to varying circumstances. A good evaluation system for a thinking programme would consist of classroom remarks on the teaching of the thinking tools and feedback from those who are committed in the fine-tune process. This includes the teachers, pupils and their parents. This is important as constant feedback allows the principal to refine the programme due to shifting circumstances. (Hargreaves, 1995)

    To extra improve the evaluative aspect of the programme, the principal could brainstorm next the staff upon the criteria of what are considered to be desired outcomes of the supplementary initiatives. To be more specific, an full of zip alter leader would spell out what are the rude and long-term desired results of the programme and base the evaluations upon such targets. The evaluative process must be attainable and fair by including occupy get older frames for achieving them. This would alleviate by the side of the fears of the teachers and to ensure that they would not resort to cosmetic proceedings in the process of change.

    A principal must also be self-reflective and be skilled to consent criticism if the programme is not moving according to plan. He or she must rely upon the teachers who are directly effective taking into account the pupils to find the money for honest feedback. Though, this may lift questions of the credibility of the principal’s initial plans, a fine head would permit the subordinates to narrowing them for additional improvements to a extra initiative. This is especially suitably if the head is seeking to make a thinking and learning organisation.


    An full of life review system would after that be used to ensure the continuing develop of a bend programme. Most alter programmes may begin out vivaciously but they usually lose steam at the end. The triumph to maintain the initial readiness and faithfulness to the vision is, thus, an important criterion of an enthusiastic principal. He or she must be able to recharge the incorporation of the teachers by until the end of time reminding them and encouraging them to reach desired outcomes. In a thinking programme, a principal could keep monthly meetings to chat just about the proceed and to part completion stories of the programme to preserve the amalgamation of the teachers. If the concentration and keenness of the staff to the initiatives can be maintained throughout, more bend programmes will be rich in schools.


    During the process of writing this paper, the author felt that positive issues should be addressed. One of the main problems seems to lie in the pacing of additional initiatives introduced by the Ministry of Education. Due to this, a principal is stretched for get older and effort in juggling later the extra initiatives. This, as shown in the conflict study, usually leads to further good literary programmes going through a roller-coaster ride of enthusiasm. The principal would after that resort to cosmetic efforts to convince the parents, visitors and the Ministry that a programme is in place as in this dogfight study. The author hopes that this is just an only encounter but feels the Ministry should in fact look into the event of whether principals are overloaded like the projects in press forward previously launching into substitute initiative.

    Another issue aligned to the above is the infatuation to append the evaluation and appraisal methods of the principals by the Ministry. At present, the review tends to be inaccurate, as the Ministry does not in fact know the inner workings of the school. There should be a 360 degrees Feedback Survey whereby the staff (especially the teachers); pupils and parents are to consider the effectiveness of the principal in leading a programme. It may be considered time-consuming but it will ensure that principals attain not concentrate on cosmetic dealings to conceal weaknesses of any additional programmes. This in addition to allows schools to be opened to ideas and suggestions for other refinements of the programme. In this way, the Ministry will have a more accurate portray whether the initiatives that had been introduced are articulated in a proper manner.

    The author reiterates that the execution of leading a amend programme in schools is largely dependent on the principal’s talent to imitate the perceptions of the teachers. Trust, thus, is an important ingredient that has to be built stirring by the principal, as the principal-teachers link will have an impact on further forward-looking initiatives. The paper has in addition to included a self-evaluation questionnaire (Appendix 3) for principals who are in the process of leading a amend programme in their schools. In closing, the author wants to emphasise that in order to reap the full benefits, a change programme should be nurtured and not enforced.

    Dr.Alvin Chan is an momentum Research Specialist in Asia. He has consulted for and aid in the momentum of managerial innovations and dynamic learning methodologies in several organizations.”



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