Chapter one through three of What Great Principles do differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most by Whitaker (2012) touch on the principles of: (1) Why Look at Great. (2) Its the people, not programs. (3) A Good Teacher Can Succeed in Any Environment. The following reflections highlight the most important points I learned.
Chapter 1: Why Look at Great!
To be a good principal who is a real agent of change there is need to borrow a leaf from good principles. Also, adapt to change without taking your eye off the price. In essence, as a principle borrows a leaf from effective principles, they should be doing so without losing sight of the important things. They have to learn how to create a school for 21st learning.
Chapter 2: Its People not Programs.
The degree of excellence of a school is measured by the quality of its teachers. Principles are, therefore, left with two options: to either hire new efficient one or improve the present ones. Efficient teachers build relationships and encourage students to give their best in education. Similarly, effective principles build relationships and utilize input from the most efficient teachers in the decision making of decisions that support the well-being of students.
Chapter 3: A Good Teacher Can Succeed in Any Environment.
An effective teacher draws inspiration from himself and little from the environment. They make the best of every opportunity they have. The also employ assertive discipline as a strategy in correctional punishment for the purpose of positive reinforcement. They reward-punishment or encouragement and it all depends on how the student uses it.
Chapter four through six of what great principles do differently: eighteen things that matter most by Whitaker (2012) touches on the principles of: (4) who is the variable?, (5) Treat Everyone with Respect Every day, all the Time, (6) Be the filter. The following reflections highlight the most important points I learned.
In chapter four: Who Is the Variable?
I have learned that teachers play a pivotal role in the success of their students and that a good teacher takes responsibility in the performance of their students without intimidating them. I have also come to notice that instead of giving respect, students will tend to show lack of it towards such teachers. Furthermore, this chapter gave me the lesson that if the success of students is anything to come by, then the teacher's attitude towards students must be checked and corrected in good time. Further, in the text, the writer applied this standard to principals and I noticed that a good principal takes responsibility for the climate in the school.
In chapter 5: Treat Everyone with Respect Every day, all the Time.
A read at this chapter struck me with the realization that one of the most important things in the school setup is the mutual respect everyone has for the other, the teachers respecting the students and the students reciprocating. It also played out to me that when principals show respect for the staff members of the school, the climate of the school is improved considerably.
In chapter 6: The Principle Is the Filter.
This chapter made me realizes that it is the simple things that matter. In essence, a simple thing like a principle sharing the latest news with staff members or just asking them how their day was can boost the emotional energy level of the teachers and in turn the principle achieves in squashing the negative energy among some teachers. Again, I learned that any action of the principle that opposes the goals to create positive energy among teachers and students is counterproductive.
Chapter seven through nine of what great principles do differently: eighteen things that matter most by Whitaker (2012) touches on the principles of (7) Teach the Teachers, (8) Hire great teachers (6) Standardized testing. The following reflections highlight the most important points I learned.
Chapter 7: Teach the Teachers.
Among the most imperative roles of the principal is to help their staff boost their skills in delivering instructions and rapport with students. For general school improvement, finding an effectual way of helping teachers improve is imperative for the betterment of the school. Often, it is assumed that teachers are already giving their best and that they would do even better if they knew what the right thing to be done. The book proposes that teachers need to observe each other in action as a solution, to make changes in terms of the handling of some classes by some teachers. Such changes will impact positively in building relationships among the staff.
Chapter 8: hire great teachers.
There is a need for the principle to set their standards high. Instead of looking for applicants, they should consider educational leaders who would blend perfectly with the current staff. The author inspires principles to be on the lookout for teachers who are talented and not just trained ones.
Chapter 9: standardized testing
Standardized tests are really not only for public schools but a good number of their private counterparts too. The principle can motivate the staff to work in unison for the benefit of the students their feeling about the test notwithstanding.
Whitaker, B., Whitaker, T., Zoul, J, & Whitaker, T. (2012). What Great Principles do Differently, Eighteen Things that Matter most, 2nd edition. Moorabbin, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow Education.
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