Distributed Leadership for School Improvement: Pakistani Cases Studies
This paper aims to identify the leadership practices of head teachers of successful schools at secondary level in the Pakistani context. The primary aim of this study was to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of current leadership practices in schools through literature review and evidence obtained by case studies. To identify successful leadership practices of school heads in Pakistan the following core research questions were formulated which are addressed in this study:
What type of leadership practices are employed by the heads of successful schools?
Is there any similarity among leadership practices of heads of these schools?
Do these leadership practices vary across different schools?
Estimated teachers in secondary schools were 53,520 (Government of Pakistan, 2005). Data were collected from each school using a multiple methods research design including review of related literature, documents demonstrating school achievements and student attainment, and in-depth semi-structured interviews with a variety of people including the head teacher, teachers, parents and students. This included semi-structured interviews with head teachers, teachers, parents and students. The head teachers, teachers and parents were interviewed individually but students were interviewed in groups. The evidence demonstrated that these successful head teachers led both the cognitive and the affective lives of the school, combining political (building alliances) and educational leadership (professional development and teaching improvement) with symbolic leadership principles (presence, inspiration) and distributed leadership practice (empowering others to lead). All the head teachers in this study had deliberately chosen a leadership approach designed to move the school forward, one that gave others the responsibility to lead and to undertake leadership tasks. In all eight schools the research found that distributed approaches to leadership prevailed and directly influenced approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. Within the study the heads saw the agency of staff and students as central to achieving the school’s purpose. The heads used a number of strategies for distributing leadership. These included involving others in decision-making, allocating important tasks to teachers and rotating leadership responsibilities within the school. A link can be made between distributed leadership and school improvement in all case studies.
Keywords: Instructional Leadership, Distributed Leadership, School Improvement, Successful Schools
Dr. Azhar Mumtaz Saadi
Vice Principal, Federal Directorate of Education, Ministry of Education Pakistan
Deputy District Education Officer, Punjab Education, Ministry of Education Pakistan
Naseer Ahmad Salfi
Elementary Teacher, Education Department Pakistan, Ministry of Education Pakistan