Change Leadership for Differentiated Education Environment

Change Leadership for Differentiated Education Environment

Change Leadership for Differentiated Education Environment

Action research methodology can provide valuable assessment information regarding the outcome of your research. The major purpose of this assignment is to begin to identify significant themes that are becoming evident in the implementation of your action research project and your data collection. The key is to begin to discover trends in your data without making premature decisions; however minor adjustments can be made next week. Action research provides correlative and data driven information that can be used to make positive changes in the teaching and learning environment (Buczynski & Hansen, 2014); Mills, 2014). Additionally, thinking about the key stakeholders and their role in your research is important as well. In summary, this assignment is a preliminary interpretation of the various data obtained thus far. Without committing to initial assumptions, you are to begin to identify the key patterns that are emerging.

To prepare for this assignment, view the Silva (2011) video, Action Research @ a Glance (for written transcript, click here). Next, construct your written assignment to meet the content and written communication expectations stated below.

Content Expectations

  • Video Reflection (2 Points): In at least one paragraph, reflect on the knowledge you gained or that was reinforced for you by watching the Silva (2011) video.
  • Research Question (2 Points): Analyze to what extent your research question(s) is still answerable or worth answering and how you might defend that your research question(s) is/are worth answering.
  • Data Collection (3 Points): Justify whether your data collection techniques will provide the kind of data you need to address your questions and whether you are effectively filtering out data that you do not need.

Written Communication Expectations

  • Page Requirement (.5 points): Two pages, not including title and references pages.
  • APA Formatting (.5 points): Use APA formatting consistently throughout the assignment.
  • Syntax and Mechanics (.5 points): Display meticulous comprehension and organization of syntax and mechanics, such as spelling and grammar.
  • Source Requirement (.5 points): Include at least two scholarly sources providing compelling evidence to support ideas. All sources on the references page need to be used and cited correctly within the body of the assignment.

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Overview

Activity Due Date Format Grading Percent
Leadership Conference Poster Session Day 3
(1st Post)
Discussion 7
Ongoing Analysis and Reflection Day 7 Assignment 9

For help with the Course Calendar, review the overview video in 

Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  1. Explain research goals and roles of stakeholders involved in action research innovation/intervention.
  2. Associate effective schools with effective leaders.

Introduction

During Week Two, you began the implementation of your proposed intervention in the field. In Week Three, you think about how your personal leadership characteristics and motivation plays a role in your work and in the change process. Part of that thought process involves a short assessment of your own leadership traits to better understand your own strengths. From that assessment, you share with peers and the instructor and identify themes in leadership and motivation through the creation and presentation of a digital poster. Additionally, in Week Three, you begin an early analysis of your data collected during your first week of your intervention by looking for initial themes and patterns. As indicated below, this week we focus on the third phase of the Action Research cycle, Data Collection and Initial Data Analysis:

  1. Research Proposal
  2. Implementation and Data Collection
  3. Data Collection and Initial Data Analysis
  4. Data Collection and Apply Changes
  5. Data Analysis and Interpretation
  6. Share Process and Results
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EDU675: CHANGE LEADERSHIP FOR THE DIFFERENTIATED EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT

Instructor Guidance

Week 3

Introduction

Connecting your personalized leadership strengths and motivation with your skills as a leader is an important part of Week Three’s activities.

action research 3
Figure 3: EDU675 Action Research Cycle, Week Three Focus 
People know effective leadership when they see it. It’s sometimes hard to identify exactly what that characteristic in a leader, however, knowing your own gifts is essential to learning and growing. Becoming a more effective leader is within your ability.

Be sure to look ahead to Week Six so you are aware of the upcoming Formal Presentation of Findings that is required. Having a good idea of the expectations will be beneficial. This week you engage in meaningful discussions and creative activities that continue to prepare you as a leader while continuing your work on the action research intervention.

Also, continue to access the Ask Your Instructor area if you are unclear about any of the requirements for your class. Be sure the upcoming weeks and assignments have been reviewed so to be well prepared ahead of time. This includes the final project for this course, which can be located in Week Six.

Before moving on to the next section of your work, familiarize yourself with the learning outcomes for the week. As a student, it is important to know what the outcomes and expectations are for your hard work. These learning outcomes are also listed with their alignment to each assessment for the week on the Week Three Unit page.

 


Week Three Overview

In Week two you began implementing the intervention phase of your action research. Part of that process includes the collection of data to answer your research questions. This week, the concept of developing your leadership in creative ways is explored.

 


Week Three Elaboration

Change Agent

A change agent is a leader who inspires others to make changes in the organization by defining, supporting and having the courage to do what is best for the particular setting. In order to successfully accomplish a change initiative the leader must respect one another’s ideas, value diversity and perfecting individual skills that others offer the organization in order to build the momentum for change.

Fundamentally, the process of conducting action research is about the change process. We must intentionally learn about own areas of strength and weakness in order to continually improve our skills. Moreover, by cultivating these skills and engaging in systematic and intentional improvements, we can become leaders who will have an impact on our classroom, school site, or other organization.

As humans, we tend to be creatures of habit and because of this we can be resistant to change. As with other types of school improvement or organizational change efforts, staff who attempt to make effective use of action research or any other type of approaches will encounter barriers to change. The leader must have the skills to work through potential conflicts in order to continue to build the organization and make consistent improvements. Part of the role of an effective leader in any organization is to successfully work through these issues, however, there are times when change initiatives fail. As leaders we must be aware of these potential pitfalls.

Lotich (2011) presents six reasons that change can fail:

  1. Leadership Support
    It is critical that any change initiative is supported at the highest level of the organization. If management isn’t completely engaged in the effort, employees will notice and not take it seriously.
  2. Allocated Resources
    Most change initiatives require a certain level of resources. Whether it is budget for new equipment, a person to lead the charge, or time allocated to training employees – resources need to be allocated and assigned to the effort.
  3. Planning and Implementation
    Detail in the planning of any project is important but when planning an organizational change it is critical. Thinking through and strategizing for every aspect of the change can minimize issues during implementation.
  4. Communication and Buy-in
    Organizations struggle with change initiates when they fail to get the employees involved and bought into the change. Employee buy-in can always be attributed to a solid vision for a change and consistent communication throughout the process.
  5. Priority
    Unfortunately, organizations can have issues of the retention of ideas a consistent development and application of them. A good idea gets a lot of attention when it first is being discussed but it is easy to lose focus once the rubber meets the road. Losing priority status can quickly kill a change initiative.
  6. Adjustment Period
    Sometimes organizations don’t give a change initiative enough time to take root before the effort fades or becomes stagnant. Learning new processes and changing them to organizational norms takes time.

Regardless of whether an internal or external change agent is chosen, the most critical aspect of change initiatives is the organization’s ability to drive the change through clear vision, support, focus and communication (Carter, Ulrich, & Goldsmith, 2005).

This information should be informative in ways to handle change so that we can avoid having these issues. As true architects of change, we must rise above and prevent these issues from occurring. Mills (2014) states, “Both individual and collective efforts are critical to successful change, and every person has the potential to be a change agent” (p. 173).

Chapter two of our text, Buczynski and Hansen present different types of leadership skills and the various behaviors that are needed to be an effective leader. One important concept that will be explored in Week Three is the concept of motivation in leadership.

Motivation comes from within. Leaders have the ability to inspire others to work hard and become motivated through our strengths in communication, charisma, and leadership styles. Effective schools and other organizations must have motivated leaders so that the change can be continuous and relevant to the needs of the group. Bringing out the personal potential in yourself and in others can have a great influence on the organization.

Sharing your Skills

In Week Three you will be given the opportunity to create a digital presentation that incorporates the findings from your motivation assessment. Knowing what inspires you to lead is one part of understanding your ability to lead others within any organization. Contemporary tools will be used to present your results, which is valuable practice for your work in the field.

Effectively preparing and presenting a visually appealing and informative presentation is an important skill to have as a teacher, teacher-leader, or administrator. Whether you plan to present at a staff meeting, at a conference, or to a group of parents, having this ability allows you to more effectively communicate with your colleagues and various stakeholders.

Sharing your skills can also be applied to the findings of the research which is directly correlated to those stakeholders or others involved in the research. The activities in this course are designed to prepare you for these exact types of professional responsibilities and possible presentations.

Key Themes in Your Research

It’s been said that trying to make sense of the data that is collected during any research endeavor can be the most challenging part of the process (Mills, 2014). Critical to this process is looking for trends and themes that are beginning to emerge as you continue in your second week of collecting data. Analysis is the heart of making sense of your experience with action research. The answers to your research question always begin with your data.

The intent of examining the data at this early stage of your intervention is to capture your initial thinking and tentative ideas about the data. Look for the themes, patterns, and relationships that are emerging across your data. Look for similarities and differences in different sets of data and see what the data are demonstrating. Are your research questions on their way to being answered?

The very nature of action research promotes positive effects or change. Data analysis leads to that change. Action research is an ongoing process, but again, it’s important to stop, reflect, and adjust. Data driven decision-making is an ongoing process of informing choices (Buczynski and Hansen, 2014) that are made in planning and implementing instructional strategies. The action research cycle can be a powerful tool in this process. Anderson, Herr, and Nihlen further support this process by suggesting, “it is very important to recognize that at various intervals you must stop gathering data and reflect on what you have thus far” (as cited in Mills, 2014, p. 131).

Review this example of a completed action research report. This document is an excellent example of the scholarly writing that will be required in the final assessment in EDU675. Also, pay particular attention to the section on data collection and analysis. This example will demonstrate how to document your analysis and how to commit to paper what you have learned about your designated research question. Planning ahead now will help you prepare for the continuation of your data collection, analysis, and the development of your final project.

 


Week Three Assessment Summary

This week there are two discussions and one assignment. Review the guidance below and be sure to review the full instructions for each assessment on the Week Three Unit page in your online courseroom.

Discussion 1: Leadership Conference Poster Session

You have the chance to imagine you have been selected from a large pool of highly qualified applicants to present a digital representation of your leadership strengths and the ways these skills will be represented in your action research study. You will create a one page digital poster relating to your own leadership and motivational strengths. After reviewing the digital poster of your peers, you will be providing constructive feedback using your critical thinking skills to extend the learning. Be creative and have fun with this assignment and as always, review the assignment rubric so you are well aware of the highest expectations.

Assignment 1: Initial and Ongoing Analysis and Reflection

This assignment calls for you to begin to examine your data collected thus far and to begin to make initial assumptions about the findings. You will seek to identify key patterns that are beginning to emerge and will explain this in a written assignment. Consider sharing your thoughts as a discussion in the Ashford Café in order to extend your ideas. Please review the assignment rubric prior to submitting your paper to ensure that you are meeting the highest criteria set forth in the rubric.

 


References

Buczynski, S., & Hansen, C. B. (2014). The change leader in education: Roles and strategies in the differentiated environment. Bridgepoint Education.

Carter, L., Ulrich, D., & Goldsmith, M. (2005). Best practices in leadership development and organization change: How the best companies ensure meaningful change and sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Lotich, P. (2011). What is a change agent – Define change agent. Retrieved from http://thethrivingsmallbusiness.com/what-is-a-chan…

Mills, G. E. (2014). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Preview YouTube video Action Research @ a Glance

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