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Vision and the work life of educational leaders

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thesis
posted on 2023-05-26, 22:33 authored by Edmunds, William John
In discussions of school leadership the term vision appears consistently. Before Blumberg and Greenfield's (1979) research on effective principals and Peters and Waterman's (1982) research on excellent organisations, few discussions of leadership included the term. Now the notions of vision and leadership are closely associated. An ASCD (1985) videotape, The Effective Principal, lists having a vision as one of the five essential features of effective school leaders. Robert Cole, in his editorial in the September 1985 issue of The Kappan, defines leadership as \articulating a vision\". Beare Caldwell and Millikan (1989) consider that outstanding leaders have a vision for their organisations. This is one of a number of generalisations which have emerged from their studies. The concept that leaders are guided by a vision of a preferred future is widely accepted. When groups of educators have been asked to name visionary leaders the responses have come quickly: Martin Luther King Ghandi Joan of Arc John F. Kennedy Mother Theresa Hitler. The vision of educational leaders however and the visionary leadership of great political figures differ. Effective principals or superintendents are not expected to take on the stature of a Ghandhi or a Martin Luther King. What then does vision mean in the worklife of educators? Do all school leaders have vision? If they do how does their vision emerge? What impact if any does a vision have on the career of a school administrator? This research project has been undertaken in order to provide answers to these questions. Data were gathered by interviewing 12 educators from the Tasmanian Education Department's Head Office Curriculum Services The Southern Regional Office and Primary Schools in the Southern Region. The focus is on the vision and worklife of leaders whose expertise is in the area of primary education.The group represents a variety of roles types of school and gender. All interviews except one were conducted at the work place of the interviewee. From an analysis of the field notes and transcripts gathered from the interviews connections were drawn between the visions of these 12 educational leaders and their work lives. The synthesis of the writer falls into three categories: the nature of their visions how they actualise their visions and the relationship between the leader's visions and their careers. This research parallels a study conducted by Linda Tinelli Sheive and Marian Beauchamp Schoenheit in the State of New York which was reported in the Yearbook of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development ASCA1987. Apart from providing answers to the questions previously identified the aim of this study is to provide educators with a greater understanding of the nature of vision. It is imperative that in these times of rapid change educators have a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the Education Department and its schools. Such knowledge assists leaders plan for change and enhances their confidence in facing the future."

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Copyright 1990 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)--University of Tasmania, 1990

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