Educators and the Law: implications for the professional development of school administrators and teachers

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [DUT Library]On: 06 October 2014, At: 18:56Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Journal of In-Service EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:</p><p>Educators and the Law: implications forthe professional development of schooladministrators and teachersDoug Stewart a &amp; Paul McCann ba Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane, Australiab Catholic Education Office , Brisbane, AustraliaPublished online: 19 Dec 2006.</p><p>To cite this article: Doug Stewart &amp; Paul McCann (1999) Educators and the Law: implications for theprofessional development of school administrators and teachers, Journal of In-Service Education, 25:1,135-150, DOI: 10.1080/13674589900200074</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, ouragents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to theaccuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the viewsof or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied uponand should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francisshall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses,damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantialor systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access anduse can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Educators and the Law: implications for the professional development of schooladministrators and teachers</p><p>DOUG STEWARTQueensland University of Technology, Brisbane, AustraliaPAUL McCANNCatholic Education Office, Brisbane, Australia</p><p>ABSTRACT In recent years school administrators and classroompractitioners have had to provide an increasing range of specialistservices to their school communities. Such services require sophisticatedknowledge, understanding and skills; all being provided against abackdrop of heightened accountability being demanded of professionalsgenerally. In this regard, recent research shows that school communitiesexpect their administrators and teachers to be experts in all mattersaffecting the school from the moment of their first appointment. Themanagement of the many legal matters that impact on school policies andpractices, is one area where educators are expected to have, from theoutset, specialist knowledge and skills. It is questionable, however,whether from their pre-or in-service education and training, thateducators are professionally equipped to manage the increasing range oflegal matters facing schools. This article examines the implications for theprofessional development of educators that arise out of the growingimpact that the law has on school policies and practices.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>In recent years school administrators have had to adjust to newparadigms of leadership and management, and classroom practitionershave had to adjust to an increasingly changing curriculum and pedagogy.This transformation has been driven by a rapidly changing world andsociety while shifts in government policies resulting in devolution ofdecision-making and administration bring many management andleadership practices closer to the local level. A major consequence ofthese changes has been the requirement for school administrators and</p><p>EDUCATORS AND THE LAW</p><p>135</p><p>Journal of In-service Education, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1999</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>DU</p><p>T L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ry] </p><p>at 1</p><p>8:56</p><p> 06 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>teachers to increase their knowledge, skills and understandings across anever-increasing range of specialist concerns. As Couzens &amp; Couzens (1995,pp. 11-12) have so aptly commented:</p><p>Survival in an increasingly complex, changing and globalenvironment, sets us on a never ending learning curve as weconfront new situations and problems and simply have to handlethem well to remain viable.</p><p>Moreover, these developments have occurred against a backdrop ofincreasing accountability being demanded of those in the professionsincluding those in education. In this regard government intervention ineducation has become apparent, with demands being placed on the schoolsystem to respond more directly to a changing economy and economicstructure, and the need for growth and competitiveness. This interventionhas been experienced in the secondary school for some time, andparticularly in the primary school with such issues as cyclic testing andbench marking (McGraw, 1995). At times, this changing environment, withits range of conflicting expectations, has placed additional stress onschool administrators. There is, for example, the paradox of providing aholistic education geared to the needs and abilities, as well as the care andconcern of the individual child or student while, at the same time, strivingto meet the demands of a perceived narrow conceptualisation of theeducation process (ODonoghue et al, 1994).</p><p>A further consequence of societal change is the necessity foreducators (i.e. the school administrator and classroom practitioner) toprovide an increasing range of services requiring specialist knowledge.This is evident, for example, in the management of those aspects of thelegal system which impact on school policies and practices. In this regard,there has been, during the past decade or so, considerable growth inStatute and Administrative Law, as well as the Common Law and equityissues associated with such matters as childrens rights, that impact onschools.</p><p>This article explores a number of these concerns and concludes thatin order to meet the demands created by having to manage those areas oflaw that impact on school policies and procedures, school leaders andteachers need to engage more positively in preventive legal riskmanagement. It is argued that to implement such policies, schoolprincipals not only require a sound knowledge of theories associated withleadership and change they also need a knowledge of the law they areexpected to manage. Moreover, in view of the rapid and constant nature ofthe changes affecting schools, it is posited that the knowledge needed byadministrators and classroom practitioners necessitates a new emphasisbeing accorded professional training at both pre- and in-service stages.The article begins with an overview of leadership theories then moves to abrief discussion of professional development, and concludes with aconsideration of present and emergent areas of law influencing schools.</p><p>DOUG STEWART &amp; PAUL MCCANN</p><p>136</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>DU</p><p>T L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ry] </p><p>at 1</p><p>8:56</p><p> 06 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>Changes in Perspectives of Leadership</p><p>Early theories of leadership centred around the model of scientificmanagement propounded by Taylor (1911). Since the early part of thepresent century, considerable attention has been devoted to identifyingthe traits of Great Man who were perceived as model leaders. Suchstudies, however, gave way in the late 1960s and 1970s to a focus onvarious styles of leadership. These theories sought to determine whetherleaders were person or task oriented (Fiedler et al, 1977).</p><p>In more recent times, however, leadership has been examined from atransformational perspective (Hallinger, 1992). This perspective, which iscommonly associated with the work of Burns (1978), has been taken upmore recently by a number of researchers (see, for example, Leithwood &amp;Jantzi, 1990; Leithwood &amp; Steinbach, 1993), It is interesting to note, too,that Sergiovanni (l990, 1992), Senge (1994), and Duignan &amp; Bhindi (1997)have expanded on this perspective of leadership by adding ethical andmoral dimensions to its interpretation. Such perspectives have beensummarised by McCann (1996) as follows:x The leader is a person of vision, and one who can communicate that</p><p>vision to others involved in the organisation. Through dialogue thevision is transformed into a shared understanding of the purpose andmission of the organisation by the stakeholders involved. It is a visionwhich is in harmony with the beliefs, values, cultural and symbolicaspects underpinning the organisation, as well as the cultural normsand community standards which the leader serves.</p><p>x The idea of density of leadership is important in this perspective whichespouses collegiality as opposed to congeniality, where persons mayinteract and operate from a norm base out of kilter with theorganisation and which may operate to its detriment. The perspectivealso posits a belief in shared responsibility, collaboration, consultation,discernment and shared decision making. It is in essence a perspectivewhere the gifts and abilities of all are nurtured and respected.Importantly, the leader is not seen as an authoritative figure and poweris based on acquired status that which evolves from the process ofworking with others in the organisation as it strives to achieve its goals.It is not based on an ascribed status that which relates to title andposition within the hierarchical structure of an organisation. Thus,power is seen as power with, power to and not power over.</p><p>x Employees places within the organisation are based on a covenantalarrangement where the rights of all are respected, and where sharedcommitment overrides a supervisory model based on psychologicalrewards, bureaucratic regulation and legal reprisals.</p><p>x Leadership is bound up with the notion of organisations being learningcommunities, where the professional and personal development of</p><p>EDUCATORS AND THE LAW</p><p>137</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>DU</p><p>T L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ry] </p><p>at 1</p><p>8:56</p><p> 06 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>those in the organisation are carefully planned to foster theorganisations ability to meet its purpose, and where learning is seen asa life long process (Davis, 1996; MacNeill, 1996).</p><p>This perspective of leadership has a number of implications for theprofessional development of those involved in the processes of education.The first of these concerns the personal and professional development ofschool and system administrators. The perspective, as outlined here, willchallenge many to examine carefully the principles, beliefs and values onwhich their personal philosophy of education and leadership is based. Formany this will require a transformation. Covey (1989), and Kuczmarski &amp;Kuczmarski (1995) see this development as an inside out transformationwith the consequent creation of an interdependent leader; one verydifferent to the popularly perceived strong leader. This leader will alsoneed to be in open communication with others to gain a shared vision.One might legitimately ask whose vision or paradigm of the world, or whatvision and paradigm of the world is the driving force behind sharedvision? Some argue, (e.g. Angus, 1989) that leaders are themselves theproduct of a social structure of society that is inequitable and that they, inturn, perpetuate that inequitable structure by maintaining that vision andparadigm of the world. While this may be true to some extent, there areother forces operating in society which challenge the status quoparticularly in relation to individual rights.</p><p>Noted researcher and commentator, Hugh Mackay (1997) maintainsthat in order to withstand the vast changes that are occurring incontemporary Australia, three main coping mechanisms have emergedThe first is one of strict regulation, in which we restructure our sense ofsecurity by codifying everything and imposing ever more rules andregulations. He sees the second coping mechanism as an increasinglyintense escapism and concludes that the third and the only healthycoping mechanism is the return to the instincts of the herd. In this latterprocess, the inherent worth of each and every individual is given duerecognition and acceptance.</p><p>Such a philosophy is central to the concept of professionaldevelopment within contemporary learning organisations where theleader is no longer perceived as the only person in the organisation whopossesses all the wisdom and knowledge. In this regard it is instructive toheed the comments of Chaleff (1995) who maintains that followers in anorganisation need not be weak or passive, but that they permit leaders toexist and give them strength. Chaleff (1995) also notes that while leadershave ultimate authority and responsibility most people in an organisationare leaders at some stage. It is noted, furthermore, that in an informationage an entirely different relationship between leaders and followers isneeded, and that in relation to employment a new social contract is beingforged. This contract is one in which work is no longer guaranteed; onewhere paternalism or the perception that leaders and organisations willtake care of us is gone. Chaleff argues that the new social contract willneed to be based on followers in an organisation being sufficiently</p><p>DOUG STEWART &amp; PAUL MCCANN</p><p>138</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>DU</p><p>T L</p><p>ibra</p><p>ry] </p><p>at 1</p><p>8:56</p><p> 06 </p><p>Oct</p><p>ober</p><p> 201</p><p>4 </p></li><li><p>courageous so as to: (i) assume responsibility which will enable them tocreate opportunities to fulfil their potential and to maximise their value tothe organisation. They initiate value-based action to improve theorganisations external activities and its internal processes; (ii) serve insuch ways that will relieve leaders of their burdens and complement theirstrengths; (iii) challenge the actions of leaders and the organisation; and(iv) participate in the transformation processes needed to bring aboutchanges in an organisation.</p><p>It is evident from Chaleffs arguments that structures aimed atdeveloping learning communities need to be put in place so as to provideopportunities at all levels within organisations to gather and shareinformation, understandings and knowledge. Such organisations arelearning organisations which have been described by Senge (1994) in adeceptively simple statement, as organisations that are continuallyexpanding their capacity to create their future. In a definition whicheducators will closely identify with, the Karpin Report (1995) notes that alearning organisation facilitates the learning of all its members andcontinually transforms itself. Regardless of definition, Holly &amp; Southwor...</p></li></ul>