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  • Antonia M. Caling

Classroom Teachers as Transformational Leaders

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

While leadership in the school is mostly and directly attributed to the school heads, teachers are the leaders in their classrooms and may lead about a colleague, a parent, a guardian, or students. The success of students, the school, and the school heads is directly related to the leadership abilities of their teachers; therefore, leadership is deemed necessary, but what type of leadership style is needed in the 21st-century education?

Transformational leadership stemmed from the book of James M. Burns, entitled “Leadership,” wherein it is defined as a process where leaders and followers work together to advance motivation and morale. With this definition, teachers, being the leaders in the classrooms, are able to meet their learners' initial needs as they remain sensitive to their higher purposes and aspirations.

As school organizations, during this pandemic, face a different level of accountability for school performances and students’ achievements, classroom leadership is a critical component in meeting the expected learning outcomes of students' performance.

Although the department of education has capacitated teachers in preparation for the changes in the delivery of quality education, there is this concern over whether school teachers have the managerial skills, leadership approaches, and methodologies needed to guarantee effective operational performances of students and the school. Thus, various organizations promoting professional development have been providing transformational leadership training and seminars to equip school heads, administrators, and teachers in adapting to changes brought about by the present-day situation. This transformational leadership, according to Matthew Anderson, is proven to enhance performance in educational settings.

Certain behaviors of a transformational leader can be observed in a teacher’s daily interactions with his or her superiors, co-teachers, parents, guardians, and students.

Bernard Brass has classified them in the following: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation.

Idealized influence displays a charismatic personality that influences others to want to become more like the leader, willing to take risks, adhering to a set of core values and ethical principles. For example, upholding the Kalinga cultural values of Paniyaw, Ngilin, and Ba-in. It is through being a positive role model that the teacher builds trust with his or her colleagues, parents, guardians, or students; in turn, the partners of the teachers in teaching the learners develop confidence in their teacher-leader.

Inspirational motivation entails leaders communicating high-performance expectations in an encouraging and enthusiastic fashion. It is like having a Table of Specification (TOS), being able to tell details of actions to be taken in fulfilling goals that have been laid out. With this, one must have good communicative skills to be able to convey the plan precisely, with conviction and authority, but at the same time showing optimism, enthusiasm, and positivity.

Individualized consideration involves leaders coaching, mentoring, and providing feedback in a manner consistent with each individual's needs such as home visitations to non-readers and struggling readers, co-teachers that need mentorship or assistance with their research or innovation, parents that need help with their children’s modules, among others. In this behavior of a transformational leader, empathy is the eye-opener for one to be able to keenly determine the need of a learner, co-teacher, or parents.

Intellectual stimulation stirs up the minds of the learners by involving them in decision-making activities to bring about their creativity in providing solutions and at the same time tolerating their mistakes. With co-teachers, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) may be applied to brainstorming activities with teachers’ concerns and problems and come up with solutions or consensus on matters that involve the performances of the school and students’ achievements.

To sum it up, a classroom-teacher-transformational leader is a visionary who remains resilient in this time of the pandemic, adheres to a set of core values, shows optimism, enthusiasm, and positivity, and continues to influence others that create change in those who follow. It is then highly recommended that our teachers in the City and the whole province of Kalinga be trained as transformational leaders to be more effective in leading their learners and other stakeholders within their scope of responsibility.


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