Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Australian Standard for Principals reflection

Reflection
My understanding of the Australian Standard for Principals, as compared to the Standard for Teachers is that it is not a regulated nor a compliance framework. Principal registration is not based on meeting standards identified within the Principal Professional Standards. Principals are expected to meet standards identified within the Standard for Teachers to maintain teacher registration. An essential criteria with Northern Territorian Principal Job Descriptions is have teacher registration. Whilst, the Australian Standard for Principals doesn't have a compliance mandate, the strength of the standard is the explicit and descriptive understandings/expectations gained through (what I call) a common language statement of expectations. The Australian Standard for Principals ensures a common understanding of what is expected across Australia. The benefit of a common understanding is that it explicitly describes 'standard based expectations'. It is the tabled clarity and aim to gain consistency across multiple government jurisdictions and non-government educational organizations that enables it to be an essential document. In essence, it becomes the platform of a school business plan. The document enables a scaffold of activities to assist in the improvement service. This includes
  • would-be principals to understand the expectations of the position, and empowers would-be principals to seek preparation pathways,
  • Departments of Education and Universities to fabricate quality based course and courseware,
  • support principals to proactively enrich their understanding of practice through contextual reflection, to broaden their scope of service and advance their leadership capacity, and 
  • enable Departments of Education to provision quality based performance management processes.
The essential aspect I am drawn to is that the document aligns schools to the needs of 21st century students. There is no doubt that the learning needs of today's children are significantly different to when principals were students. It is future focussed and as manual jobs are automated focuses on innovation and creativity. This is an important element of the statement as it reminds principals that leading a school requires more than the day-to-day management. It requires raising of achievement, responding to societal change and assisting students to have the skills to participate within future society as active, confident and creative individuals. 



Every Australian community is now connected to the global world. It is important that Principals connect their schools to Global learning to ensure students will develop the skills to participate in the Global Digital Economy. If a school remains dominately focussed on insular local needs there is an issue that students will graduate with a gap of knowledge. In many remote Australian schools this gap is significant. 

The Australian Standard for Principals implicitly identifies planning as an essential standard. To enable leadership across all levels of school strong project and programming management skills are required. Leadership is not about the one and all encompassing leader. Distributed leadership cannot grow within a dictatorship, or an ad hoc laissez-faire environment - it needs the structures of purpose, targets and identifiable improvement measurements. 

Overall the Australian Standard for Principals document has multiple levels of detail that overviews;
  • a Model of Professional Practice,
  • places learning at the centre of strategy,
  • decision making based on data and professional reflection,
  • building trust through coaching and mentorship, and
  • engaging with cultural expectations.
I am interested in transformational organisation. The Australian Standard for Principals describes a key transformational responsibility - ensuring that the school is maintaining currency with present needs and is working towards future needs. Essentially the principal requires a vision that supports improvement and innovation to strategically and logistically implement and manage change. 

My questions after reading the Australian Standard for Principals are;
  1. Do principals have the capacities to move from an industrial based and efficiency driven production model to an opportunistic and adaptable innovative model?
  2. Do principals aim to maintain a biological living organism or a process driven instruction and behavior factory.