My educational leadership philosophy is framed according to two broad areas namely the purpose and role of the school and education vis-à-vis the needs and inherent nature of the child, and the role of the leader.
It is largely inspired by the values and conceptual frameworks of the Learner-Centred and Social Reconstruction curriculum ideologies, positioned within the context of an educational landscape that is largely pointed towards Social Efficiency (Schiro, 2013). It mirrors the Singapore Curriculum Philosophy (MOE, 2017) and draws from the philosophies of Dewey, Eisner and other educational and leadership theorists.
The School and the Child
I believe that:
Every child deserves a good education, one that is committed to his or her holistic development and characterised by learning that prepares them for a meaningful and purposeful life guided by strong ethics. The school must therefore provide holistic education that develops students in all aspects of their being, with a focus on their character and personal mastery.
Every child wants to and can learn. The school must therefore provide a culture and ecosystem that inspires, nurtures a thirst for and sustains learning, within and outside the confines of the school.
Every child is an individual, whose stories, personalities, aspirations and journeys are unique and their own. The school must therefore provide a curriculum and learning experiences that are both coherent yet customisable, and committed to helping the children deepen their knowledge and understanding of themselves vis-à-vis the world.
Every child deserves a caring and safe learning environment. The school must therefore be a place where positive teacher-student and peer relationships are inculcated so that there is a culture of care and respect. It is a place where children experience success, foster confidence, and embrace mistakes and failure as opportunities for learning and growth.
Every child wants to and can bring value to others. The school must therefore nurture the children’s social faculties so that they learn to appreciate and embrace diversity and a sense of community and belonging, without compromising their individuality.
Every child is a thinker. The school must therefore provide a curriculum that cultivates, challenges and celebrates the various facets and levels of thinking, towards a higher order of thinking and being.
I believe that:
A leader must be committed to the development of people. His actions must be guided by a genuine desire to see others succeed, whatever their definition of success may be. He always seeks to empower and enable others, regardless of their starting position.
A leader must seek to illuminate purpose, thought and practice. He strives to elevate his organisation to an enlightened and altruistic view, anchored by strong ethics. He leads by example, setting high standards for himself and others.
A leader must be able to concretise the abstract and abstract the concrete, and skilfully navigate the pathways that connect vision and reality. He brings clarity through his words and actions.
A leader must have an acute awareness and understanding of his ontology. Leadership comes from within, and a lack of clarity can only precede uncertainty.
A leader recognises and respects that people’s lives exist beyond work. He values their time, effort and personal lives, and develops a work culture and ethic that supports a high quality of life for all.
An educational leader is like light.
It is an abstract, untouchable entity but also the very thing that sustains life and for the majority of us, the reason we are able to perceive reality. In many ways, that is how I would describe a great leader, someone whose influence lies in ways that are intangible but very much felt.
As an educational leader, I see myself as a source of light, an illuminator, in the following ways:
An illuminator of thought, pointing my people towards an enlightened view of education;
An illuminator of hearts, helping them gain clarity on their purpose and role as educators;
An illuminator of practice, sparking ideas by role-modelling good teaching practices and throwing light on what and how a curriculum can and should be; and
An illuminator of (work) life, highlighting moments of joy and giving a ray of hope during times of perceived ‘darkness’.