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Volume 4, Issue 2A

Sustainable Leadership: Impact of an Innovative Leadership Development Program for School Principals in Palestine
Special Issue
Since its establishment in 1994 following the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, Palestine’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education has undertaken the formidable task of developing a full-fledged educational system. From its beginnings, and with funding support from international and bilateral donors, a key pillar of the Ministry’s policymaking has been the ongoing professional development of school principals. In 2008, the Ministry launched the Palestinian Education Development Strategic Plan/2008-2012 (EDSP), a comprehensive reform package aimed at shoring up gaps in the educational system, with a particular emphasis on improving the quality of school leadership and instruction. USAID, in response to the EDSP, contracted AMIDEAST, a US-based nonprofit organization with a long history of cultural exchange and educational development in the MENA region, to pilot a teacher and principal professional development program, the Model Schools Network (MSN). The program began with 17 private schools in the West Bank and then expanded in 2009 to 40 public schools, and a year later added 12 private schools in Gaza. The program ended in 2012. The centerpiece of MSN’s leadership training was the Leadership Diploma Program, a 340-hour school-based professional development initiative comprised of monthly face-to-face sessions and learning circles, job-embedded assignments linked to authentic issues facing principals in their daily work, and reflective inquiry through action research. The program was framed by knowledge and competences grounded in principles of shared leadership and international standards aligned with research on effective schools. Now three years after the close-out of MSN, our study sought to find out whether MSN has had a sustainable impact on the attitudes and practices of principals as leaders of their school communities in general and as instructional leaders in particular. Results from a survey and in-depth interviews with former MSN principals offer promising evidence that the MSN model of shared leadership appears to have had a sustained impact on the attitudes and practices of principals in three key domains: technology and community building; results-based decision-making; and, instructional supervision.
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 37-42. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-6
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
12602 Views4997 Downloads2 Likes
Quality Assurance in Palestine’s Teacher Education Programs: Lessons for Faculty and Program Leadership
Special Issue
This study aims at assessing dimensions of quality in pre-service teacher education programs in Palestine from the perspective of a purposeful sample of teacher educators and student-teachers at three universities. To achieve this goal, in-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted. Results suggest that intended learning outcomes of the curriculum, the teaching and learning processes and practices, and the mechanisms for both supporting and assessing students’ progress and achievement did not reach levels of quality aimed at in the missions of the programs. The study offers recommendations for improvement in three areas of Palestine’s teacher education programs: the quality of instruction; the quality of learning opportunities for both student-teachers and the teacher educators who teach them; and, the quality of academic leadership from the administration.
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 30-36. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-5
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
8625 Views3968 Downloads
The Challenge of Classroom Leadership and Management Facing Newly Appointed Teachers
Special Issue
This study aims at exploring the problem of classroom management—as a facet of teacher leadership—facing newly appointed teachers in Palestine’s public schools. Its main purpose is to determine the relationship of attitudes and behaviors, as well as other study variables such as gender and academic qualification, to classroom management for newly appointed teachers. To achieve this, the researcher used a 14-item questionnaire distributed among a sample of 30 male and female teachers randomly selected from a cohort of 150 of newly appointed teachers in the West Bank governorate of Qabatia. The study was conducted during the first semester of the scholastic year 2014 – 2015. In collecting and analyzing the data necessary for the study, the researcher used different statistical procedures such as means, frequencies, and independent t-test. The findings indicate a low competency level of 53.7% in classroom management skills among newly appointed teachers. In the light of this finding, the study recommends the inclusion of class management theory and practice in the syllabus of the practicum courses for all courses in pre-service teacher education. Likewise, the study recommends that school principals, with support from district leadership, provide newly appointed teachers with structured, systematic induction and mentoring by experienced teachers who can model effective classroom leadership.
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 25-29. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-4
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
16850 Views7295 Downloads
Exploring Teachers’ Professional Identity in the Context of War Zone: A Case Study from Palestine
Special Issue
In many areas of the world there are violent political conflicts the consequences of which have an inevitable impact on the educational system. Palestine is one such country where the experience of violent political conflict, going back several decades, has had a devastating effect on the development and maintenance of a stable educational environment for children and their teachers. Up to now there have been few studies that have focused on the effects of living and working in a war zone on the professional identity of teachers. This paper aims to explore how the formation of Palestinian teachers’ professional identity was affected by their experiences during the violent conflict known as the Second Intifada (2000-2005) and its impact on the school social culture. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of political violence on the formation of the professional identity of Palestinian teachers, a qualitative multiple case-study approach was adopted which draws on sociocultural theories of identity formation. Data sources included observations inside schools and classrooms, field notes, a research diary, and both semi-structured group and individual interviews with teachers. The method of constant comparison used in Grounded Theory, plus the use of discourse analysis, provided the main approaches for the analysis and interpretation of the data. The findings suggest that Palestinian primary school teachers negotiate multiple conflicting identities through their everyday exposure to violent conflict and its impact on the schools’ social culture. This tension emerges as a result of the historical and cultural meanings that teachers use in constructing professional identity in the unstable and unsettling conditions that exist in their country. In addition, the data indicate that the proximity of a school’s geographical location in relation to violent conflict also influenced the degree of tension inherent in teachers’ professional identity. The study makes significant theoretical, practical and methodical contributions to the study of the formation of teachers’ professional identity in countries affected by violent political conflict.
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 15-24. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-3
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
11440 Views5578 Downloads1 Likes
Enabling Teachers to Lead Change in One School in Palestine: A Case Study
Special Issue
This article examines the interim outcomes of a year-long intervention that aims to develop teacher leadership as a means to professional development and school improvement within the educational and socio-cultural context of Palestine in one private school in the Ramallah area. Teachers Leading Change (TLC), the name of the program, draws on a non-positional approach to teacher leadership in which all teachers regardless of delegated role are supported to lead educational change and teaching innovation through situated learning and leadership activities. The investigation is part of an ongoing doctoral study that employs a participatory, action-based research design entailing periodic cycles of deliberation on program activity outcomes and ways for improvement. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation, document analysis, and a reflective journal. The evidence thus far indicates that teachers have responded positively to the program’s structured support, relevance to workplace realities, opportunities for classroom improvement, increased collaboration and enhanced teacher agency. Challenges have included time limitations and difficulty conceptualising process-led professional development. The provisional conclusion to be drawn from this study is that a non-positional approach to teacher leadership has positive implications for educational reform at the professional, organizational and system levels. For education in Palestine its significance emanates from the capacity to help shift reform from internationally sponsored initiatives infused with foreign agendas to locally-driven, inquiry-based development efforts that foster nationally effective policies.
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 4-14. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-2
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
10810 Views6301 Downloads3 Likes
Introductory Essay: Global Perspectives on Educational Leadership in the Middle East and North Africa, The View from Palestine
Special Issue
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2016, 4(2A), 1-3. DOI: 10.12691/education-4-2A-1
Pub. Date: March 10, 2016
8100 Views3675 Downloads2 Likes