Looking for the greener side of the grass

Written by Habiba Bano

Continued from page 1

This is not about one day ruiningrepparttar life of a person. It's aboutrepparttar 109268 saturation inrepparttar 109269 field of medicine. All parents want their sons and daughters to be successful in life, this should berepparttar 109270 main goal of all students. Not to simply become a doctor, as is drilled into some children’s minds. Good doctors are needed but are also well in supply. A student should carefully consider what he himself wants to do, and not what others want from him. There are 11000 students who successfully complete pre-med each year, and there are 600 available seats. Each year approximately 10500 students have their hopes dashed. 21000 parents are crushed. Statistics are important to convey a point, andrepparttar 109271 numbers in this case are just too hard to be rolled over. Ofrepparttar 109272 10500 students, approximately 5000 students find alternate courses to join and move onto stage three and four. But forrepparttar 109273 rest ofrepparttar 109274 hopeful pre-med students, who might have fared much better selecting another course to do back when they were 15, its game over.



Written by Dr. Alvin Chan

Continued from page 1

A good leader, therefore, must be capable of regulatingrepparttar distress by sequencing and pacingrepparttar 109267 work required ofrepparttar 109268 change process. Unfortunately, this is notrepparttar 109269 case in most change programme. Most leaders start new initiatives without stopping other activities or they start too many initiatives atrepparttar 109270 same time. They overwhelm and disorientrepparttar 109271 very people who need to take responsibility forrepparttar 109272 work. (Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.180)

Developing People

The people who are directly involved in a change programme have to be suitably trained to meetrepparttar 109273 challenges. A good principal would ensure thatrepparttar 109274 staff’s potential is developed for many reasons. Firstly, ifrepparttar 109275 staffs are not trained well to undertakerepparttar 109276 new responsibilities ofrepparttar 109277 initiative,repparttar 109278 programme will not be a success. Secondly, a principal who develops and empowersrepparttar 109279 staff inrepparttar 109280 concerned change programme will be more able to convince them to commit to it. By doing so, a principal can demonstrate leadership by sharing leadership withrepparttar 109281 staff inrepparttar 109282 school. Through empowering others,repparttar 109283 principal can also elevate his/her status and power. (Blasé, 1987)

A principal can also developrepparttar 109284 staff potential by opening up channels of communication withinrepparttar 109285 school. Setting up committees and encouraging peer learning could do this. External agencies with expertise inrepparttar 109286 areas of change can also be consulted to help smoothenrepparttar 109287 process of change.

A principal who is a people developer would benefit as “ solutions to adaptive challenges reside not inrepparttar 109288 executive suite but inrepparttar 109289 collective intelligence of employees at all levels.”(Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.173) Thus, by doing so,repparttar 109290 principal would have increasedrepparttar 109291 level of success ofrepparttar 109292 new initiative and alsorepparttar 109293 hearts of his/her followers.

Evaluatingrepparttar 109294 System

The principal must constantly monitorrepparttar 109295 process of a new school initiative. The initial enthusiasm that has been built uprepparttar 109296 principal may wane due torepparttar 109297 lack of a good evaluation system .An effective evaluation system would allowrepparttar 109298 principal to seerepparttar 109299 flaws and to refinerepparttar 109300 programme due to changing circumstances. A good evaluation system for a thinking programme would consist of classroom observations onrepparttar 109301 teaching ofrepparttar 109302 thinking tools and feedback from those who are involved inrepparttar 109303 change process. This includesrepparttar 109304 teachers, pupils and their parents. This is important as constant feedback allowsrepparttar 109305 principal to refinerepparttar 109306 programme due to changing circumstances. (Hargreaves, 1995)

To further enhancerepparttar 109307 evaluative aspect ofrepparttar 109308 programme,repparttar 109309 principal could brainstorm withrepparttar 109310 staff onrepparttar 109311 criteria of what are considered to be desired outcomes ofrepparttar 109312 new initiatives. To be more specific, an effective change leader would spell out what arerepparttar 109313 short and long-term desired results ofrepparttar 109314 programme and baserepparttar 109315 evaluations on such targets. The evaluative process must be realistic and fair by including appropriate time frames for achieving them. This would calm downrepparttar 109316 fears ofrepparttar 109317 teachers and to ensure that they would not resort to cosmetic measures inrepparttar 109318 process of change.

A principal must also be self-reflective and be able to take criticism ifrepparttar 109319 programme is not moving according to plan. He or she must rely onrepparttar 109320 teachers who are directly involved withrepparttar 109321 pupils to give honest feedback. Though, this may raise questions ofrepparttar 109322 credibility ofrepparttar 109323 principal’s initial plans, a good head would allowrepparttar 109324 subordinates to point them for further improvements to a new initiative. This is especially so ifrepparttar 109325 head is seeking to create a thinking and learning organisation.


An effective evaluation system would also be used to ensurerepparttar 109326 continuing momentum of a change programme. Most change programmes may start out enthusiastically but they usually lose steam atrepparttar 109327 end. The ability to maintainrepparttar 109328 initial enthusiasm and commitment torepparttar 109329 vision is, thus, an important criterion of an effective principal. He or she must be able to rechargerepparttar 109330 interest ofrepparttar 109331 teachers by constantly reminding them and encouraging them to achieve desired outcomes. In a thinking programme, a principal could hold monthly meetings to talk aboutrepparttar 109332 progress and to share success stories ofrepparttar 109333 programme to maintainrepparttar 109334 interest ofrepparttar 109335 teachers. Ifrepparttar 109336 interest and enthusiasm ofrepparttar 109337 staff torepparttar 109338 initiatives can be maintained throughout, more change programmes will be successful in schools.


Duringrepparttar 109339 process of writing this paper,repparttar 109340 author felt that certain issues should be addressed. One ofrepparttar 109341 main problems seems to lie inrepparttar 109342 pacing of new initiatives introduced byrepparttar 109343 Ministry of Education. Due to this, a principal is stretched for time and effort in juggling withrepparttar 109344 new initiatives. This, as shown inrepparttar 109345 case study, usually leads to other good school programmes going through a roller-coaster ride of enthusiasm. The principal would then resort to cosmetic efforts to convincerepparttar 109346 parents, visitors andrepparttar 109347 Ministry that a programme is in place as in this case study. The author hopes that this is just an isolated case but feelsrepparttar 109348 Ministry should really look intorepparttar 109349 issue of whether principals are overloaded withrepparttar 109350 projects in progress before launching into another initiative.

Another issue connected torepparttar 109351 above isrepparttar 109352 need to improverepparttar 109353 evaluation and appraisal methods ofrepparttar 109354 principals byrepparttar 109355 Ministry. At present,repparttar 109356 evaluation tends to be inaccurate, asrepparttar 109357 Ministry does not really knowrepparttar 109358 inner workings ofrepparttar 109359 school. There should be a 360 degrees Feedback Survey wherebyrepparttar 109360 staff (especiallyrepparttar 109361 teachers); pupils and parents are to evaluaterepparttar 109362 effectiveness ofrepparttar 109363 principal in leading a programme. It may be considered time-consuming but it will ensure that principals do not adopt cosmetic measures to hide weaknesses of any new programmes. This also allows schools to be opened to ideas and suggestions for further refinements ofrepparttar 109364 programme. In this way,repparttar 109365 Ministry will have a more accurate picture whetherrepparttar 109366 initiatives that had been introduced are articulated in a proper manner.

The author reiterates thatrepparttar 109367 success of leading a change programme in schools is largely dependent onrepparttar 109368 principal’s ability to influencerepparttar 109369 perceptions ofrepparttar 109370 teachers. Trust, thus, is an important ingredient that has to be built up byrepparttar 109371 principal, asrepparttar 109372 principal-teachers relationship will have an impact on other future initiatives. The paper has also included a self-evaluation questionnaire (Appendix 3) for principals who are inrepparttar 109373 process of leading a change programme in their schools. In closing,repparttar 109374 author wants to emphasise that in order to reaprepparttar 109375 full benefits, a change programme should be nurtured and not enforced.

Dr.Alvin Chan is an Innovation Research Specialist in Asia. Currently, Dr. Chan is the Senior Research Consultant at First Quatermain Centre of Collaborative Innovation (www.firstquatermain.com).Please email Dr.Chan at bizguru88@hotmail.com.

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