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Exploring teacher’s innovative leadership roles in small rural schools P. Koulouris, [email protected] S. Sotiriou, [email protected] Ellinogermaniki Agogi

Jan 02, 2016



  • Exploring teachers innovative leadership roles in small rural schoolsP. Koulouris, [email protected] S. Sotiriou, [email protected] Agogi Athens, Greece

  • Our focus here:New leadership roles teachers can play in small rural schools and beyond

  • Inviting the teacher to become a change agent in the communityWe believe that an informed, adequately prepared teacher of a small rural school can:Catalyse innovation and development in the school and the local communityTurn the school into a lively node supporting lifelong learning for everyoneMake the school more responsive to the growth and survival needs of its communityDevelop responsible citizens and create opportunities for tomorrow's rural leaders to emerge

  • Rural schools promoting personal and community developmentA skilful and devoted teacher may turn known and emerging opportunities into an advantage for his students, himself/herself, the school, as well as the wider local community.

    Diverse roles that the remote rural school can play are recorded in the literature.

  • Diverse school rolesNon-educational impact of schools on rural communities (Salant & Waller, 1998)

    multi-faceted school-community relationship

    positive economic and social impactsa resource for community developmentoffering a delivery point for social services.

  • Links between education and rural developmentEducational attainment as a rural development strategy (Barkley, Henry, & Haizhen, 2005; Beaulieu & Gibbs, 2005)a better educated rural population leads to greater economic growth

    Recent studies in the USA: more rapid earnings and income growth in rural counties with high educational levels improving local schools can reverse the tendency of loss of young adults through outmigration (rural brain drain)

  • Community development: not only economicEconomic, social & environmental well-beingMiller (1995) on rural schools:Working in partnership with local leaders and residentsGiving students, working alongside adults, meaningful opportunities to engage in community-based learning that serves the needs of both the community and the students.

  • Social capital: a crucial conceptSocial capital:social organization and resources embedded in the social structure of the rural communities, which can facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit, and thus community development.

    Social capital exerts a positive causal influence on economic development (Woodhouse, 2006). The school is an important element in the creation of communitys social capital (Miller, 1995)We should build and sustain strong linkages between the community and the schoolRural communities may have a head start in developing these linkages: schools have traditionally played a central role in the life of the communities

  • Yes, but how?

  • This remains a challengeA strong school-community partnership remains a major challenge:this is not generally viewed as a traditional element of schoolingApproaches are needed that cross the boundaries traditionally separating the community as a place of learning from the school

  • Three approaches (Miller, 1995)The school as a community centrea resource for lifelong learning, a vehicle for the delivery of a wide range of servicesschool resources (facilities, technology, well-educated staff) can provide educational and retraining opportunities for the community.

    The community as curriculumStudy of the community in its various dimensions. Students generate information for community development by conducting needs assessments, studying and monitoring environmental and land-use patterns, and by documenting local history through interviews and photo essays.

    School-based enterpriseDeveloping entrepreneurial skillsStudents not only identify potential service needs in their rural communities, but actually establish a business to address those needs.

  • The case of satellite broadband internetLets imagine that satellite broadband connectivity is made available to the school

    The teacher should be encouraged to: turn it into advantage and opportunity for allpromote the development of a new culture among local citizens

  • The teacher can turn the school into a Learning Hub, a gateway to knowledge and lifelong learning which will be open to everyone in the community.Contact us to give you examples and ideas!

  • So, teachers multiple rolesTypically, the teacher is already:Struggling daily in a demanding school setting

    Maybe acting as the head of the small school

    Considered by the local people as a prominent member of the isolated community

  • Additional leadership rolesThe teacher can also become:The manager of change in an informal local reformAn instructional leader exploring new ways to improve the quality of teaching and learningA developer of links and synergies between the school, the community and other schools in the areaA facilitator of communities of learning in, around, and outside, the schoolThe former and implementer of innovation matching local needs

  • Questions arisingObvious need for corresponding professional development:Which form? What content precisely? Which competences?solutions and opportunities of the Information Societypedagogies specifically adaptable to the unusual settings of the small rural schoolInnovationchange managementlocal and rural community development, etc.

  • Questions arisingPossible conflicts with the highly centralized educational system?the teacher in this context is encouraged to initiate and implement an informal local educational reformWhat if decentralisation and autonomy of school units is not encouraged by the system? Can this discrepancy be a source of tension? What can we practically do to convince the others and overcome such obstacles?