Motivating Teaching Staff and Students
One of the primary responsibilities of education leaders is to ensure students’ success, in both academic and non-academic perspectives. However, achieving impressive school performance is not an easy task as it requires collaborative inputs from the school administration, teachers, students, and the entire community. According to Edmunds and Bauserman (2006), motivating the school’s staffs and students is a crucial step in ensuring improved school performance. For instance, highly motivated teachers are likely to improve instructions and teaching techniques for improved performance. They also collaborate with the leaders in generating students’ motivation, which is critical for the overall performance of the school. Therefore, it is paramount for educational leaders to establish techniques for improving teaching staffs and students’ motivation for better performance in schools.
Case Analysis: “School Improvement through Better Grading Practices”
The idea of students and staff’s motivation relates to the Tucker High School case scenario. Apparently, the Tucker High School is recording declined academic performance and increased incidences of behavioral problems. The school appoints a new principal, the 36-year-old Jordan Johnson. The new principal believes that creating opportunities for students to experience academic success will reduce their behavioral issues. Thus, he recommends a minimum grading system so as to boost students’ academic performance. However, the staff members are skeptical about the minimum grading approach as a way of addressing behavioral issues. According to the teachers, the principal does not demonstrate how the proposed minimum grading system would improve the school’s situation. He fails to substantiate his claims that fostering academic success would solve the behavioral issues.
In my opinion, the principal had a good idea but presented it wrongly. The Superintendent Watson may have erred in hiring an inexperienced principal. However, she was right in allowing the principal to propose his strategy since it provided an opportunity for the school to try a new program as the earlier efforts had already failed. On the other hand, the teachers’ skepticisms were justifiable. Perhaps Principal Johnson’s lack of experience contributed to his poor presentation of a new agenda in the school. If I were the principal, I would have adequately researched on the effectiveness of the minimum grading system before the proposal. I would present factual statistics of the schools where the system is working. I would also send some staffs to benchmark in these schools so as to enable them understand how the approach is implemented.
Low Test Scores in Early Stages May Reduce Students’ Motivation
One of the factors that are likely to reduce students’ motivation, as held by the Principal Johnson in the case scenario above, is the low test score, especially in the early stages of students (Kowalski, 2001). Over the years, education scholars have debated the impacts of test on students. Tests are meant to measure how well students are learning as well as the extent to which teachers are teaching. According to some scholars, tests motivate students to study hard in preparation for the test. Often, the society tends to reward students who score highly on school tests, thus, magnifying the need to study hard so as to score highly. However, learning capability differs among students, and some tend to score poorly than others. Students who regularly score poorly are rarely recognized and are not rewarded by the school system. As a result of regular low scores, a student may be demotivated and may find no need to study hard in the future.
Regular low scores, especially in students’ early life, may influence their perception towards themselves and their ability in academics. For instance, a child may believe that they are incapable of succeeding in academics and often considers themselves as failures. Thus, they develop a negative attitude towards academic challenges and are likely to give up on education. As Owen elaborates, perceptions and attitudes are some of the internal capacities that the influences the intrinsic aspect of motivation (2011). Thus, negative perception and attitude that develops at an early stage of a student’s life is likely to results to a long-term demotivation in academic matters. For this reason, it is apparent that low test scores in early stages may reduce a student’s motivation. Therefore, teachers should initiate strategies of motivating students, despite the potential demotivation that may result from low scores.
Procedures through which Teachers can Motivate Students
Motivating students is one of the most important, yet very difficult, aspects of teaching. The teacher’s role includes not just teaching, but also motivating the learners to learn. There are various ways in which teachers may motivate students to be active learners. First, teachers should create rapport with their students, ensuring constant communication between them. Constant communication allows the students to open up and express their expectations, strengths, and weakness. Thus, it enables the teacher to understand his/ her student better, which is essential in helping them achieve intrinsic motivation (Edmunds & Bauserman, 2006).
Secondly, teachers should regularly switch their teaching strategies so as to eradicate monotony among the learners. Sticking to a single teaching method is not only tedious to the learners, but also uninteresting to the teacher (Edmunds, & Bauserman, 2006). Incorporating different teaching methods will also take into consideration the individual needs of every student since different students have varying likes and abilities. For instance, a text may be read out, acted as a play or recited as a poem. A student who does not enjoy plane reading may be very active in poem reciting or play acting. Thus, a teacher should regularly switch teaching techniques to accommodate all the learners.
Although students are taught a group in the classroom, teachers should consider motivating students at an individual level. For instance, teachers should adopt a reward program that considers each student rather than the top performers only. Students should be rewarded for any improvement attained, even if the student is not the top performer. Teachers should always encourage each student to exceed their personal best and achieve their optimum potential. A reward system that considers each student’s personal goals motivates the entire class, both the top and low performers.
Procedures through which Educational Leaders can Motivate Staff
According to Edmunds and Bauserman (2006), teachers determine the overall performance of a school by teaching and motivating students to learn. Aside from the teachers, there are various non-teaching staff members, who interact with the students in schools. These staff members include the laboratory technician, kitchen attendant, and cleaners, among others. Irrespective of their varying roles, the support staff officials also contribute to the students’ performance, and thus, are part of the school community (Sergiovanni, 2000). Poorly motivated teachers and support staff perform poorly in their duties, resulting in poor school performance. Therefore, education leaders should also implement strategies of motivating the teachers and the school’s support staffs. Motivating the staff enhance their efficiency in discharging the teaching and non-teaching roles, thus, augmenting the students’ overall performance.
One of the procedures that educational leaders can implement to motivate staff is investing in their professional and social development. As a result of regular studies and research, the teaching profession is constantly growing as scholars establish modern teaching method. Providing an opportunity for the teachers to update themselves with the upcoming development may enhance their commitment to the teaching career (Sergiovanni, 2006). These opportunities include attending teacher’s seminar and workshops, furthering education, as well as pursuing short-term support courses such as guidance and counseling. Similarly, the school community’s support staff should also be offered opportunities to improve their professional qualifications so as to increase their love for their respective jobs.
Additionally, educational leaders should provide a conducive working environment for the teachers and support staffs. Favorable working environs involve availing the necessary tools and machinery required to discharge their duties. It also includes providing space for the staff to work without undue follow-up, intimidations, or coercion. As Owen (2011) implies, responsible leadership allows staff to work without undue pressures. A satisfactory working environment is a major motivating factor for every individual, be it in a school setting or any other working station.
Edmunds, K. M., & Bauserman, K. L. (2006). What teachers can learn about reading motivation through conversations with children. The Reading Teacher, 59(5), 414-424.
Kowalski, T. J. (2001). Case studies on educational administration. Allyn & Bacon/Longman Publishing, a Pearson Education Company, 1760 Gould Street, Needham Heights, MA 02494. Retrieved from http://www. abacon. com.
Owens, R. (2011). Organizational behavior in education: Instructional leadership and school reform(11th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Sergiovanni, T. (2000). The lifeworld of leadership: Creating culture, community, and personal meaning in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sergiovanni, T. J. (2006). Leadership and excellence in schooling. Educational leadership, 41(5), 4-13. Retrieved from http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/11217_Serg___Article_1.pdf