Instructional leadership at primary school under school – Based management approach – Case study at Doan Thi Diem private primary school

Abstract. Instructional leadership in the context of school-based management (SBM) has attracted the participation of all stakeholders relating to the school's activities. The principal’s role consists of four sides: the Principal as resource provider, the Principal as an instructional resource, the Principal as a communicator, the Principal as a supervisor. In reality, the Principal of Doan Thi Diem School has totally decentralized her power, whilst concentrating on establishing, solving and developing the relationship among teachers, pupils, staff and communities. The Principal believes that the stakeholders play the roles as components creating the school quality as well as the school outcome.

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Vu Thi Mai Huong and Trinh Thi Quy 146 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2017-0184 Educational Sciences, 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 12, pp. 146-154 This paper is available online at INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP AT PRIMARY SCHOOL UNDER SCHOOL – BASED MANAGEMENT APPROACH – CASE STUDY AT DOAN THI DIEM PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOL Vu Thi Mai Huong and Trinh Thi Quy Educational Management Faculty, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. Instructional leadership in the context of school-based management (SBM) has attracted the participation of all stakeholders relating to the school's activities. The principal’s role consists of four sides: the Principal as resource provider, the Principal as an instructional resource, the Principal as a communicator, the Principal as a supervisor. In reality, the Principal of Doan Thi Diem School has totally decentralized her power, whilst concentrating on establishing, solving and developing the relationship among teachers, pupils, staff and communities. The Principal believes that the stakeholders play the roles as components creating the school quality as well as the school outcome. Keywords: Instructional leadership, school-based management, instructional leadership in primary school, instructional leadership of principal, participation in instructional leadership. 1. Introduction Instructional leadership includes activities that a principal may perform or authorizes others in order to promote the quality of students’ learning. In the context of decentralization policy applied on education providers, known as school-based management, instructional leadership may “together with teachers, build-up their own school by involving teachers into sharing the school targets, providing teachers with learning opportunities, engaging with teachers’ commitments and tracking students’ learning” [1]. This article outlines the role of the principal in the context of school-based management, exploring the role of principle’s instructional leadership of Doan Thi Diem private primary school. With the origins of instructional leadership discussed, it becomes necessary to articulate as clear and cogent of a definition as possible. Instructional leadership is very much concerned with the principal’s place in directing curriculum and instruction [2]. This concept focuses on the behaviors of educators as they engage in activities that positively influence the growth of students [3]. Through the lens of instructional leadership, then, the success of principals is measured in terms of the amount and nature of improvement they realize within a school, typically as determined by student academic achievement [4]. Instructional leaders accomplish this success by setting goals, allocating resources, managing curriculum, and developing and evaluating faculty. The definition of instructional leadership continues to evolve in the world of educational research. While Hallinger characterized the typical view of instructional leadership as a decidedly top-down, Received: November 25, 2017. Revised: December 20, 2017. Accepted: December 23, 2017. Contact: Vu Thi Mai Huong, e-mail address: maihuongqlgd@gmail.com Instructional leadership at primary school under School-Based Management approach 147 transactional style of leadership, ideas from more distributed, transformational conceptions of leadership have increasingly influenced instructional leadership [5]. Leithwood et al. suggested the development of people - teachers, students, and other stakeholders - is a key part any model of effective leadership and that the principal cannot assume all power and responsibility in schools [6]. Hallinger (2003) asserted that instructional leaders were finding it more and more necessary to delegate responsibilities, especially in certain contexts, and posited that principals may have to utilize a range of styles contingent on the situation. Marks and Printy concluded that while involving others in instructional leadership is beneficial for principals, a clear instructional focus on improving student academic performance must be the collective mission of the school [7]. Instructional leadership was a model that requires principal be the “principal teacher” in the school. At the heart of the model was a focus on matters of teaching and learning by the leader, staff, and students of a school. The definition, however, for this concept is an elastic one that continues to benefit from research and study. This article researches the principal as instructional leadership with four roles, after that applying in the situation of private primary Doan Thi Diem School. 2. Content 2.1. Primary school principals' instructional leadership role in the school - based management approach 2.1.1. Principal as a resource provider School-based management aims to empower decision-makers in schools in a various areas, including resource mobilization and use [8]. In this context, the principal must be a connector to promote the initiative of the family, the community and the school. On the one hand, resource providers, i.e. instructional leaders, in the context of school-based management, need to become connectors, promoting stakeholder engagement to help teachers and students achieve targeted learning [8-11]. The role of the principal has been demonstrated in the following aspects: First of all, the principal identifies what needs to be done to use the resources effectively through: i) Planning, organizing, scheduling and prioritizing what to do with the stakeholders; ii) Matching relevant stakeholders with relevant work; iii) Allocating school staff and teachers in suitable job to optimize their strengths [12, 13]. Secondly, instructional leaderships in the context of autonomy school should demonstrate the skills of a change specialist by establishing a continuous process from planning to implement changes. The school is associated with the development of cadres and staff who are responsible for the problems of the school. That is, principals and teachers, staff, parents, and the community making a difference in the teaching of the school. To do this, the principal needs to: i) create a positive atmosphere for change and nurture positive access to change; ii) use the skills needed to make the change; iii) assess the positive effects of the change. Thirdly, the instructional leadership should demonstrate the ability to motivate employees by: i) clarifying expectations for employees; i) providing clear feedback; iii) encouraging employees to take risks and innovate. Fourthly, instructional leaderships understand the strengths and weaknesses of the teaching staff and the teaching resources that help them in the instructional process. Principals must identify and provide resources that are tailored to the needs of their staff, expanding the effectiveness of their Vu Thi Mai Huong and Trinh Thi Quy 148 teaching, and give them the opportunity to grow. Since then, the principals are connectors to mobilize resources from different parties for teachers, helping teachers and students achieve their learning goals. An integral part of instructional leadership is needed to recognize the importance of human resources. It is necessary for a principle to help his staff and faculty recognize that they are important teaching resources in the school [14, 15]. 2.1.2. Principals are teaching resources The principal determines the success of changes in school management. To promote the teaching capacity of school teachers in the context of greater participation and greater role for school management in general and teaching in particular, in addition to providing resources The principal must also become an expert to support and motivate teachers in a timely manner as well as disseminate and apply new things in a collaborative and shared atmosphere [9, 11-13]. Principals need to become experts in teaching, and always attract staff and teachers to develop. Teaching leadership is a resource for teaching when the school is self-reliant in the following areas: Firstly, teaching leaders are capable of evaluating and developing effective and appropriate teaching strategies. a. To know and share the latest research findings on teaching and learning b. Strategies for communicating effective knowledge to students of different age groups c. To use knowledge and skills in effective teaching strategies. Secondly, teaching leaders are always on the same page as teachers, with a strategy for improving the quality of teaching for teachers by providing the necessary guidelines with concrete examples including: a. Evaluating the effectiveness of teacher teaching materials. b. Holding a convention for comments, put into practice in the objectives proposed by the staff. c. Providing evidence to illustrate the ongoing process of teacher training. Thirdly, in evaluating educational programs, principals instruct teachers to use student-learning outcomes in a manner consistent with instruction. a. To organize for teachers to study the learning outcomes of students, explain the information in comparison with criteria and standards issued by the competent authorities. b. To propose measures with appropriate intervention teachers to identify strengths and overcome weaknesses of learners. c. To identify the purpose of using supportive resources and propose external evaluation assessments for the student when needed Fourthly, the instructional leadership towards the successful application of personnel assessment policy in the accordance of standards. Organizations of the annual design review, which includes setting goals for the employees and measuring their appropriateness. Organize a discussion with staff about the objectives set. Finally, when becoming an expert, principals need to know the importance of learning goals for students to implement curricula suitable. Continuously meet, discuss, share, and engage staff and community involvement in learning goals so that they master these goals to help them accomplish them. Assist teachers to proactively capture and support their students to achieve their learning goals. Highlights of school-based management are the involvement of stakeholders in the activities of [8], so Instructional leadership at primary school under School-Based Management approach 149 that in order to lead effective teaching, as a teaching expert, the principal should actively connect with those who have a relationship with the school; the development of staff, teachers, parents and the community in the teaching of the school [15]. 2.1.3. Principal is a communicator In the context of a school having more and more the right to make decisions, and is responsible for their own affairs. Relevant parties through communication, media [8, 9, 14]. The above capabilities are expressed in the following areas: Firstly, the teaching leaders demonstrate the ability to assess the situation and work effectively with the school stakeholders through specific activities such as: engage in serious and credible two-way conversations; active in resolving conflicts, resolving conflicts, complicating matters, creating partnerships and sharing; Secondly, teaching leaders need to demonstrate the ability to express the problem through spoken and written language in a clear and concise way. This capacity is expressed as follows: organizational skills, showing cohesion in spoken and written communication; Recognize needs and have appropriate implications for specific audiences in the community. Thirdly, teaching leaders apply skills and conflict management strategies to meet the interests of stakeholders. Take a practical and appropriate. They need to be sensitive and positive in recognizing the attitudes of stakeholders in conflict situations; to assist the parties concerned in finding a mutually acceptable solution; Fourthly, the instructional leadership facilitated the groups to explore and apply the problem-solving techniques they encountered, such as identifying and gathering credible, valid information, relevant to accurately assess the current situation; analyze and provide solutions to complex problems; Developing a planning that includes rules for evaluating plans. Moreover, instructional leaders demonstrate teamwork skills in interacting with staffs, parents, and students and as a member of the group. This skill is expressed in the following specific activities: helping others develop their own commitment to achieving their goals; Assist the proposed project for the final result to be understandable and highly applicable; develop and implement procedures to evaluate both the process and the outcome; assess strengths and weaknesses of team members; demonstrates persuasive skills in the group; Demonstrates the ability to turn a group's goals into personal goals. 2.1.4. Principal as an instructional supervisor In order to effectively engage in participatory learning, teaching management is a credible representation of the local government at the school as well as the principal is believed by the community, parents, colleagues and students. Diligence and responsibility are the basis for helping the principal accomplishing this mission. First, the principals work with staff and the community to develop clear goals that are relevant to the strategic mission. Teaching leaders need to concretize local strategic tasks within the vision of the school. From there, the principal organizes resources to accomplish goals. Second, instructional leaders always show close attention to staff, students, and parents at school through The following activities: formal classroom participation without interrupting the teaching process of the teacher; Engage in employee development activities, capture timely impacts from the external environment; manage time to be “out and around” during class time; demonstrate understanding of the commitment to school priorities; Make students imbue the teacher’s rights and duties with respect to their learning [14-16]. In short facilitate the management of school- based learning, so that teaching administrators can be a pioneer in management innovation, attract and mobilize stakeholder participation in the process of autonomy and accountability. They need to demonstrate themselves as a link to mobilize and use resources for teaching; is a teaching resource; a Vu Thi Mai Huong and Trinh Thi Quy 150 communicator is a visible and positive representative, who is close to the school. In these roles, the school principal has developed the leadership and management capacity of the parties concerned through authorization, demonstrating the spirit of innovation in the school’s strategy and vision, and actively to make that happen. 2.2. Case study at Doan Thi Diem Private Primary School 2.2.1. Types and techniques of research The researchers used qualitative methods to collect data at Doan Thi Diem Private Primary School, namely semi-structured interviewing and observation techniques. The main subject was the principal of the school with the contents of instructional leadership. The data based on the context of school - based management. The stakeholders are specifically: teachers, students, communities, and parents. They are directly influencing the school’s decision making. The researchers mainly use qualitative methods because in the context of Vietnam, this is probably the appropriate way to exploit information and approach closer to the fact. Because the kind of research using is flexible, no rigid formulas, it allows the researchers to adapt themselves to the situation. However, this method also has inherent limitations, which is representative. With the desire to reflect a perspective, a fact at a specific location, the article will express instructional leadership in Private elementary school in Hanoi – one of the most famous schools of the capital of Vietnam. 2.2.2. Locality and sample research Since the approach and method used in the research are qualitative, we have chosen a school that reflects the strong instructional leadership and been strongly associated with decentralization, autonomy and responsibility. We decided to choose a private school with a long tradition and high prestige in Hanoi - Doan Thi Diem Private Primary School. At the school, we did not go into depth classes as well as full activities under uniform way. Therefore, when analyzing the role of principal in instructional leadership, we will delve into the activity that the principal take part in managing: “Childhood Mathematics” event, the key activities of the school: the morning when pupils arrive at the school and the afternoon when the pupils leave school, break having, lunch, nap, activity, a regular professional seminar, a meeting was organized by the principal. 2.2.3. Processing the results 2.2.3.1. Observation We recorded all the witnesses, the margins between us and the teachers, staffs, vice principal, parents, pupils... at the school and extra school activities. These are especially significant in the time we visited Doan Thi Diem School. We read and pondered many times the content of observation, marking, coloring, annotation and content insertion or quotation of the story of the sidelines, what we saw, and the diary for each topic or narrated by the members of the Principal and the teachers, pupils during a day at the school. The purpose of all activities illustrates and clarifies how the instructional leadership of the Principal organizing. 2.2.3.2. In-depth interviewing We not only read many time about the relevant contents but also marked under the agreed outline. We tried to show in the sections when synthesizing the research results. Throughout the research process, not only some of the topics that preparing in the outline, but there are also some outstanding Instructional leadership at primary school under School-Based Management approach 151 issues that are not included in the outline. Therefore, we presented in the research results. In contrast, there were topics in the original outline, but the information collected was not enough, we did not mention in the article. We paid more attention to anonymous in research. The agreement between researchers and school leaders as well as the subjects of the interview illustrated that the name of the class, the teachers, staffs, communities – interviewees did not mention. 2.2.4. Results 2.2.4.1. Principal of Private primary school as a resource provider As a creator of resources for teaching activities, the daily work of the Doan Thi Diem School Principal includes: attendance (to find learning issues); reception; handle the work of the leader; Lunch break; handle the work of the school; Continue to think about school when she goes home. The instructional leadership is responsible for the quality of teaching and the quality of the school, so she actively participates in coordinating and approving the school plan yearly such as teaching, examinations; giving criteria. The principal separates the teaching and marking; Updates new policy of Ministry. In the coordination of the plan, the principal obeys the high authorization, professionalism. A teacher said: “My principal promotes teacher development activities, specifically through allowing us to actively carry out our plans on the basis of an approved general plan”. Therefore, instructional leadership considers teachers and staffs to be the significant resources for the development of the school, enabling them to participate in the school developm
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