TI-AIE: Perspective on leadership: building a shared vision for your school

What this unit is about

This unit is about developing and implementing a vision for your school. Sunil Batra (2011) reflects that in India, ‘schools rarely visualise or articulate their own vision’.

This view is probably based on the fact that in the past, schools have been controlled by the District Education Office. A clear aspiration of the Right to Education Act (RtE) 2009 is that schools should become more autonomous, taking responsibility for their own continuous improvement and being responsive to the local community. The establishment of school management committees (SMCs) and the requirement that all schools should have a ‘school development plan’ (SDP) in place are intended to support this aspiration.

Batra goes on to suggest that ‘not having a vision, a goal or an aim to work for with a moral purpose of development for a people or a community is tantamount to working in a void’.

The power of vision is seen in this story: a stonemason was shaping a keystone to place at the apex of a doorway to a temple and was asked by a visitor, ‘What are you doing?’ The reply was immediate and unexpected: ‘I am helping to build a temple to the glory of God.’ The stonemason did not describe his actions, the choice of stone, his skills or any issues – instead he described the purpose, and the passion that drove him and his community to realise their vision for a splendid temple. The vision gave him the energy, pride and commitment to engage as a team member in creating something of quality. The challenge of striving for something that may always be just out of reach is what leads communities to achieve far more than would otherwise be the case.

As a school leader, it is your responsibility to create a vision for your school. That vision needs to be shaped to fit the school’s particular context, as well as the needs and aspirations of both the school and the wider community. Its design should reflect the school’s cultural identity and the attributes of its students and their families.

In this unit you will consider what makes a good vision statement, how to involve stakeholders in the creation and realisation of the vision and how the vision translates into action.

Learning Diary

During your work on this unit you will be asked to make notes in your Learning Diary, a book or folder where you collect together your thoughts and plans in one place. Perhaps you have already started one.

You may be working through this unit alone, but you will learn much more if you are able to discuss your learning with another school leader. This could be a colleague with whom you already collaborate, or someone with whom you can build a new relationship. It could be done in an organised way or on a more informal basis. The notes you make in your Learning Diary will be useful for these kinds of meetings, while also mapping your longer-term learning and development.

What school leaders will learn in this unit