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Value-added leadership

Value-added leadership

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Published by Benjamin Stewart
This essay takes an emergent perspective to two educational philosophies: essentialism and existentialism. Learning is considered both an epistemological and ontological process that is best driven by value-added leadership and moral reasoning. Leadership that promotes freedom, trust, justice, compassion, connectedness, and peace, for example, demonstrates that besides having knowledge and skills in order to be productive members of society, it is also important to develop a good disposition. Aligning curriculum, assessment, and instruction that merges both core subjects and values better address not only what students should know but what they are to become.
This essay takes an emergent perspective to two educational philosophies: essentialism and existentialism. Learning is considered both an epistemological and ontological process that is best driven by value-added leadership and moral reasoning. Leadership that promotes freedom, trust, justice, compassion, connectedness, and peace, for example, demonstrates that besides having knowledge and skills in order to be productive members of society, it is also important to develop a good disposition. Aligning curriculum, assessment, and instruction that merges both core subjects and values better address not only what students should know but what they are to become.

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Published by: Benjamin Stewart on Feb 08, 2009
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05/10/2014

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Value-added leadership 1AbstractThis essay takes an emergent perspective to two educational philosophies: essentialism andexistentialism. Learning is considered both an epistemological and ontological process that isbest driven by value-added leadership and moral reasoning. Leadership that promotes freedom,trust, justice, compassion, connectedness, and peace, for example, demonstrates that besideshaving knowledge and skills in order to be productive members of society, it is also important todevelop a good disposition. Aligning curriculum, assessment, and instruction that merges bothcore subjects and values better address not only what students should know but what they are tobecome.
 
Value-added leadership 2Value-added leadership as moral reasoningAssuming a progressive educational philosophy, students learn best when their cognitive(i.e., academic), social, and emotional needs are taken into consideration. Although commonphrases such as
teaching the whole child 
and
no child left behind 
are left open to a certain degreeof interpretation, the need for teaching in a more moralistic and equitable way remain anessential part of the learning process. Likewise, teacher development includes a moral facet thatcompliments other facets that include
cognitive
,
conceptual
,
ego
,
levels of consciousness
, and
teacher concerns
” (Glickman, Gordon, Ross
-Gordon, 2007, p. 67), whichcollectively address a humanistic need to personal and professional development by providingthe social capital necessary to pursue this end. Thus, learning not only takes on anepistemological perspective but also an ontological one as well; therefore, leadership that takesinto account both what teachers are to learn and what they are to become reaches out to the entirefaculty in a way that is more just and appropriate for building a community of practice.The essence of judging moral behavior is determining what is good or bad (
The Free Dictionary
…, 2009).
But what is good or bad for one person could be interpreted differently foranother person, especially when people come from different cultures and share different beliefswithin the same social group or context. For example, when given a certain amount of freedomto exercise a degree of choice in a teaching technique, some teachers may feel motivated to trynew things while others may feel lost if they are used to having authoritative leaders dictateteaching practices to them. In other words, the value of freedom in one case is seen as something
“good” because it leads to having a choice, but is can also be seen as something “bad” because it
can be interpreted as failing to provide direction to faculty.
 
Value-added leadership 3In addition to the moral behavior judgment, establishing values is also a relatedconcept that contributes to an ontological view of education. Sergiovanni (2005) puts forth the
notion of “value
-
added leadership” that “calls attention to that which is int
rinsically importantand desirable, as in ´What values do we believe should guide our actions?´ ´What values defineus, give us a sense of significance, and provide the norms that anchor our lives in a culture of 
meaning?´” (p. x). Leadership as a quest f 
or values directs faculty towards a collective group of values that a school is to abide by. As teachers reflect and share on their own values, certainmoral behaviors then become expected. Thus, the spaces and structures for formalizing valuesdevelop in a top-down fashion, but the values themselves are reached through consensus on thepart of each of the teachers. Gordon (2001) suggests the following moral principles that drive
“the good school”: “compassion, wholeness, connectedness, inclusion, justic
e, peace, freedom,
trust, empowerment, and community” (as cited in Glickman, Gordon, and Ross
-Gordon, 2007,pp. 452-455). As these are more than likely to be some examples of what teachers reach as aconsensus; the next stage is to convert these principles into collective commitments or actionsthat are expected to demonstrate said moral principles.Leadership becomes crucial when moral principles merge with core subjects (i.e.,reading, writing, and arithmetic), and teachers and administrators have different views onprioritizing. From a philosophical standpoint, an essentialist versus existentialist approach toeducation can cause a level of conflict unless there is clear direction and expectations are madeclear. Moreover, with the push for standardized testing established by the No Child Left BehindLaw, many schools are forced to a more epistemological view of learning that ignores the valueset required for students to be productive and responsible citizens. Value-added leadership findsways to
merge “soft skills” with the “hard skills” throughout curriculum, assessment, and

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