Reflecting on Classroom Practices; Improving Pedagogical Leadership
Susan Sovia and Mudzofir
What is Pedagogical Leadership?
Honestly, we got the new perspective about the pedagogical leadership while following the leadership in educational organizations course which was led by Elina Fonsen and Irma Kakko from Tampere University, Finland. In Indonesia, the concept of pedagogical leadership is still rarely heard in lectures and school leadership practices. According to Triatna (2010), the term of pedagogical leadership is called as part of the democratic leadership capacity that is also part of the capacity building aspects of the organization. Sergiovanni (1977), stated that the pedagogical leadership provides learning community become caring each other and the teachers learn and support each other as a member of communities. In addition, Fonsen (2013), described that in Finnish early childhood education and care (ECEC), the pedagogical leadership is contextual and cultural phenomenon. It is specific when compared with other educational contexts. For instance, the combination of education and parenting is called the educare system. On the other hand, is called a part of the education system that consists of social services provided to the family.
As a teacher, we understand the pedagogical leadership as a process to facilitate and encourage teachers and students in creating a culture of values and behavior through social interaction among members of the school. Triatna (2010) pointed out that pedagogical leadership is action to motivate others also facilitates students learning to aware of cultural and moral.
Applying Pedagogical Leadership in the Context of the School
Principal and teachers have an important role to improve the quality of education, therefore, pedagogical leadership essential to increase the capacity of the school. How is pedagogical leadership implemented in the Sukma Bangsa Schools? Lee (2016) indicate the aspect of PL are, first, to fulfill the expectations of the school community as a moral obligation; second, to achieve the vision and mission of the learning process; third, the members of school commitment to apply the common mission; fourth, improving and developing the quality of teaching-learning process; fifth, learning pedagogy practices; sixth The engagement and empowerment of staff; seventh, presence of multiple leadership within the staff; eight, emphasis on pedagogic rather than administrative functions by leaders; ninth, creation and sharing of knowledge throughout the school; tenth, development of relationships and a sense of community; and eleventh, application of a re-culturing approach towards school improvement.
To improve the pedagogical leadership, Sukma Bangsa School applied some aspect that suggested by Lee (2016) above. For instance, all of the activities are underlain by the vision, mission, and values that must be accountable to the public. In this case, the principal as a leader affects the school community to work together. She/he controls the behavior of the entire school community in order to achieve the purpose of the school. Those implemented so that the communities believe in the teaching and learning process in the Sukma Bangsa School. The principal is able to affect the member of the school to achieve the common goal. Conger and Pearce (2003), stated that a process that gives dynamic and interactive influence among individuals in groups, which lead one another to the achievement of group or organizational goals. Furthermore, the principal and teacher are able to contribute the tasks to improve the capacities of the member and to achieve collective visions. According to Harris (2004), distributed leadership is characterized as a form of collective leadership to develop expertise by working together. In addition, Spillane et.al (2003) argued that the distribution of leadership engages a consideration of how leadership tasks are co-enacted by two or more leaders working together or independently. It is also related to sharing leadership which emphasizes the collaborative process and involves the member of a team to achieve goals together.
Kocolowski (2010) conclude that the characteristics of shared leadership have completed the task collectively, a sense of belonging, mutual support, and develop the skills to achieve common goals that can be enhanced through social interaction. A leader has to decide a particular instruction or policy for not only in a small sphere at the moment, but also it must give a huge implication for the future. The heartbeats of leadership and schools are strengthened when word and deed are one. This happens when leadership and virtue work together (Sergiovanni, 2005). In order to achieve the success, the initiative should be continued. It addresses how particular initiatives can be developed without compromising the development of others in the surrounding environment, now and in the future. Sustainability is the capacity of a system to engage in the complexities of continuous improvement consistent with deep values of human purpose.
Sustainable educational leadership and improvement preserves and develops deep
learning for all that spreads and lasts, in ways that do no harm to and indeed create
positive benefit for others around us, now and in the future. (Hargreaves, 2007, p.224)
Teacher Leader in the Learning Process
As a teacher, we implemented both of transactional and transformational leadership in the learning process. Transactional leadership is the process of planning, organizing, actuating, and controlling in order to achieve the best result. It is also related to influences, motivate and reward. Transformational leadership is defined as behavior that may affect the activities of the members of the group to achieve a common goal, provide benefits and changes to the individuals and organizations. According to Burns (1978), transactional leadership is based on a mutual relationship in which the obedience of the members such as effort, productivity, and loyalty is exchanged for the reward. Nevertheless, transformational leadership is to build awareness of the members to apply the values and motivate them to work for the common interest.
To create a positive environment in the classroom, control students’ behavior, and avoid violations, we made the rules. Students are involved in creating the rules. In this case, we ensure that all of the members of the class are understand about the rules. There are consequences for students who do not obey the rules during a learning process. We emphasize students that commitment to obey the rules has a positive impact on them. If they face the problems, all of the members engage in solving the problem together. In this case, we as teachers implement transactional leadership.
We have to change the paradigm from traditional curriculum user to new curriculum leader. We must make the right decision to develop the learning process to enhance students’ experience and interest. We also must use strategies to promote the students’ initiative. As a teacher, we are required to prepare skilled in teaching methods, teaching materials are easily understood by students and have the skills to make decisions wisely, for example, during the process of discussing about class design, create working groups and discussing abut bullying cases that occur in the classroom. Not all student opinion can be accommodated, so we often do the intervention. Examples of interventions that we've ever done when faced with cases of both physical and verbal bullies that we give a warning to students that they will be expelled from school if doing violence to others. In this case, transformational leadership in the classroom was implemented.
We also provide punishment to students who say disrespectful to other students by paying a fine ten thousand rupiah. The money on fine, we use to buy classroom needs. Based on the observation that we do this effectively, there is a decrease in the level of the class bully, but of course the students do because there is punishment rather than as a consciousness. In this case, we apply the transactional leadership with the aim to implement positive environment, respect each other, love, and respect diversity.
When students lamented about the problems they face in school, as a leader, we should be a good listener. This is very necessary because by being a good listener, teachers can know the problems faced by students so that they can offer the right solution and troubleshoot problems that occur in students can be solved easily. Based on Ullman & Peter-Hagene (2014), being a good listener when a friend or loved one discloses a difficult or upsetting experience can be very important. We know that compassionate, attentive, and authentic listening can be healing”. Then Foynes & Freyd (2011) explain that “these general guidelines and specific suggestions are drawn from research findings about how to be a good listener to those who disclose experiences of mistreatment and sexual assault”
We are trying to build a good relationship with the students to communicate, collaborate in creating a conducive learning atmosphere. This relationship will make students more active, creative and innovative in teaching and learning. The form of the flexible attitude of teachers (leader) in providing input, guidance and even the rules enables the student to explore their ability to develop more. Teachers also have to give credence to the students in managing an activity. With the confidence to make students become personally very confident, strong, and not the kind of mental block student. Based on the study of classroom strategies (Brophy, 1996; Brophy & McCaslin, 1992), researchers examined that:
How effective classroom teachers interacted with specific types of students. The study found that the most effective classroom managers did not treat all students the same; they tended to employ different strategies with different types of students. In contrast, ineffective classroom managers did not appear sensitive to the diverse needs of students. Although Brophy did not couch his findings in terms of teacher-student relationships, the link is clear. An awareness of the five general categories of high-needs students and appropriate actions for each can help teachers build strong relationships with diverse students.
Application of students meeting in the school the Sukma Bangsa School Lhokseumawe is often conducted by teachers. For example celebrate the school annual agenda. In this case, the teacher implementing shared leadership in every activity. Bligh, Pearce, and Kohles (2006) affirmed, “Shared leadership thus offers a concept of leadership practice as a team-level phenomenon where behaviors are enacted by multiple individuals rather than solely by those at the top or by those in formal leadership roles”. As a leader, teacher gives the trust to the students as much as possible in dealing with school activity such as open house event. It is an activity in order to promote the school to the community through various races attended by students –of kindergarten, primary and lower secondary from the outside. In this case the event committee handed over to the students. And the results are disappointing, the event successfully implemented. The examples above are transformational leadership practices conducted by the teacher.
Some of the problems we often face in the classroom are problem of difficulties in learning, dealing with students, and parents divorcing. It is not indirect affect students’ psychology, as a leader, we should be keen to understand the problems of students. To help students who have difficulty learning, teachers should be able to provide appropriate solutions. There are some points that all teachers should do to help the problems students learn includes:
- Teachers must understand the character of students
Proximity teacher and the student are required to understand the student's character, are like children lazy or naughty, hyperactivity, taciturn loner and judgments etc., before teachers use special methods to address them.
- The learning method that suits with the character of students.
After knowing the character of students, teachers will be easier to apply the learning method that can solve the problem of students who learn slowly.
- Choose the right seat.
As a teacher and a leader must be a lot of ways and ideas were brilliant in overcoming the problem of students, as an example of the simplest and most probably do is pick out the students proper seating. The seating position is right in making the students could be more obvious in hearing the teacher's explanation, and preferably children experiencing learning problems of students assigned seating close to the teacher.
- Consultation with parents.
Making parents as partners in school activities is one of the most effective ways. Given this relationship the teacher will easily convey information related to problems that occurred in their child (student).
On the other hand, their children with the condition fast learning often we have encountered in the classroom as well. Students with the fast learning condition is that students who fast to receive, understand and master the lessons given by the teacher in class, so they get achievement in all subjects. The factors that influence students in fast learning is possessed intelligence level exceeds his friends more. Not only children are slow learners requiring special treatment, but the students were fast in learning also need guidance. In addressing the students fast learning condition is a teacher should hold distribution efforts, adaptation and adjustment. However, based on our experience in teaching, we provide flexibility to students to choose what knowledge or skills they want to explore further without harming their friends and themselves.
As a teacher who leads the class, we should have the ability to guide and nurture the students in order to appreciate the difference. I have thirty students in my class. One of them is from a Chinese ethnic, three of them are Javanese, one student from Bali and the rest are Acehnese. We have always stressed that we are not just a classmate, but we are a family that had to love, honor, respect, help each other, and maintain compactness. We emphasis on good moral values to make student life and get along in harmony. Also, maintain solidarity in achieving the learning objectives together.
In the era of globalization and competition in realizing life, mastery of information technology has a very important role. By mastering Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), we will be able to survive and compete in the global life. With increasing world population increases, globalization goes so fast and cannot be avoided. The change of this present life that was once an industrial era turned into the information era, which is heavily influenced by the advance of globalization and the information that makes computers, the internet is growing rapidly. Therefore, in facing global challenges, human resources in all sectors should be improved so as to run the system of information and communication technology effectively. One of them is in the education sector that should be mastered by the teacher as a leader for their students.
In preparing for global competition, as a teacher should begin from the school. Teachers should have good skills in mastering and understanding the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Therefore, a teacher is able to set up e-learning in implementation in the class. Based Suparman (2001) identifies three main concepts of technology in education, are: (1) Using a variety of learning resources including various types of media, equipment, people, techniques, methods, and learning strategies; (2) The emphasis and focus on learning more touching and more meaningful for the individual and private matter for people who are learning; and (3) Using a systems approach to problem solving (human learning).
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