Leadership in the education context is not only essential in moulding students behaviour but also in improving academic performance. Due to these facts, the past 15 years have been shaped by consistent school reforms with the aim of improving students performance. These reforms have majorly centred on the implementation of appropriate leadership skills to attain organisational goals and excellence. In the educational context, leadership is defined as the ability to have a clear vision. Clear vision encompasses the ability to take into account the achievement of the desired educational state in the long term while creating new programs to enhance learning and a better understanding of concepts by students. To achieve these long-term goals, an appropriate leadership model should be implemented. In this context, transformational leadership fits perfectly due to its orientation to long-term vision. The model focuses on the development of the person hence transformation into leaders and moral agents. Literature related to the review of leadership outcomes in schools acknowledges transformational leadership to be highly productive due to its ability to change the organisation culture to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, this research will explore various theoretical perspectives that outline the benefits of establishing transformational leadership in the school to improve performance. Literature related to the topic will be examined to offer insight on the topic.
Context and Rationale
Teachers are the link between students good and bad academic performance. Therefore, they play a great role in the educational context regarding improving students performance. However, attaining good performance is not a simple task. It requires implementation of various programs and building of good relationships between teachers and their students. A good teacher-student relationship founded on the right leadership skills is a good strategy to improve students academic performance. Transformational leadership provides a useful framework to establish these kinds of relationships. This is because it is anchored on the appropriate leader-follower relationship context whereby the functions of the leader is to motivate and inspire followers making it suitable in an educational context. In the past few years, UAE international schools have been experiencing a downward trend in the performance of boys. Various factors such as lack of motivation and the willingness to attain academic excellence have been attributed to the cause factors of the low performance. Unlike girls who are highly motivated to achieve good performance, boys lack the drive to work towards attaining good grades. This can be attributed to the fact that boys find it difficult to establish a good relationship with their teachers that can foster academic performance. Therefore, to reverse this trend, various international UAE schools need to uphold sound and efficient leadership concepts. This study will determine the feasibility of transformational leadership upheld my most UAE institutions in positively influencing academic performance for boys. The main inspiration for considering this study is the limited research available on the topic considering that it is still an emerging issue. Moreover, the study is motivated by the fact that the findings established will go a long way in designing appropriate recommendations and policy development to improve boys academic performance to level that of the girls in the UAE international schools.
The desires to attain good academic achievements and the need to professionalise teaching have been indicated as the main pointers for schools to move towards transformational forms of leadership from instructional leadership that was mainly advocated in the past years. An attempt to understand the role of transformational leadership in an organisation reveals that the theory is good due to its orientation to long-term vision and the focus it gives to the development of its followers (Burns, 1978). However, observing current literature related to transformational leadership outcomes on the performance of educational institutions reveals considerable variation in the conceptualization of this model. Some researchers side with Burns claims that transformational leadership is centred on a leader-follower relationship while others work to modify these claims. For instance, Leithwood (1994) modified Bass theory (Bass, 1985) by developing a model that offers three broad concepts of leadership practices. Each of this concept has various dimensions. The concepts include setting directions which encompass building on a shared vision, creating high-performance expectations, and developing an agreement on the goals and priorities to work for, and developing people through the provision of individualised support, offering intellectual stimulation through constant training, modelling important values and practices. Another concept is redesigning the organisation through establishing a collaborative culture, building relationships, and encouraging shared decision-making. Leithwood, (1994) was able to develop the Nature of School Leadership Survey (NSLS), which formed the foundation to establish how each of these concepts was being used in the school settings. Based on Leithwoods ideology, transformational leadership can hence be defined as a process that aids in defining cultural identity, using symbolic language to reinforce the cultural identity, and ensuring that a school is adjusting to the changing circumstances within its environment. Moreover, many more researches on the role of transformational leadership in schools have established that for proper implementation there is the need to attach social and interpersonal potential and demonstrate great knowledge on educational matters. Moreover, more emphasis has been put on the need to model significant goals and behaviours while ensuring that the school cultivates good values and beliefs in students so as to develop a unique identity within the society framework.
Research on transformational leadership in the school context has mainly concentrated on establishing how leaders behaviours contribute to the organisations desired outcomes such as improvement of performance. These studies have generated knowledge which has proved critical in improving school leader effect on various institutions' goals. The wide array of empirical research has established a close relationship between implementation of transformational leadership and improvement of academic performance and building of relationships between teachers and students and among the teachers themselves. The improved performance has been attributed to the fact that transformational leadership style cultivates a culture that promotes a conducive environment to attain success. Moreover, the research has established that a relationship exists between transformational leadership concepts and the ability to achieve change particularly in attitude among teachers and students. Therefore, this research will focus on authentic transformational leadership as a basis for discussion.
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