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Vision and the work life of educational leaders

Edmunds, William John 1989 , 'Vision and the work life of educational leaders', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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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,

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.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Edmunds, William John
Keywords: Educators, School principals, Education
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)--University of Tasmania, 1990

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