christodoulou 1 andreas christodoulou dr gregory hedger edl 607 site based leadership 7th may 2011 who am i as a leader having experienced a wide range of leadership styles over the years spanning a range of businesses and industries i believe that i am predisposed to a psychodynamic leadership style with deeply rooted autocratic tendencies i will endeavor to explain this apparent contradiction by describing the leadership experiences that paved my way to the present as a the first born son of a young immigrant mediterranean family in london i grew up immersed in a tight and formal family setting with revered grandparents at its core i tended to get my own way over my siblings but learnt the art of war and cooperation with elder cousins my grandfather got the last wise say in any major disputes my father a strong role model and owner of a vastly reputable factory producing high quality garments for leading national retail outlets settled disputes abruptly if on the rare occasion my grandfather s wisdom failed the factory was the hub around which our energy and family life revolved and the bedrock of my intimate introduction to organizational leadership and culture within which i took on more responsibility with minor protest until i left home for university.
christodoulou 2 this reflection is critical if i am to understand who i am as a leader as stech points out leaders are more effective when they have insight into their own psychological makeup emotional responses and habitual patterns of behavior i was not to experience or develop a strong leadership style that made sense to me again until i concluded navigating the quagmire of a formal education system with varying degrees of gross disobedience this attitude to authority is part way explained by stech s claim that a highly authoritarian parent may induce either a very submissive or resistant attitude in the child he further states that in adulthood the style of the parent may resurface and be replicated change and definable leadership reemerged at the foundation of the steep problem based learning is the work environments that exposed me to the self disciplined autocratic leadership style essential not only to drive but also survive the challenging task of implementing reliable technological solutions and services of high integrity that ensured the efficiency and uninterrupted core businesses functionality in banking publishing logistics manufacture and broadcasting organizations this predominantly unvarying high pressured and time critical environment led to a dominant autocratic leadership style stogdill [1974 believes effective leaders draw on a repertoire of styles governed by the context of the situation having taken part in technological changes through significant paradigm shift in newspaper production in the late 80 s decommissioning legacy systems through y-2k implementing automation and new media systems in broadcasting and witnessing the wholesale relocation of
christodoulou 3 the textile industry to eastern europe all of which led to job losses in one way or another i decided on a temporary career contingency of my own here my previous experiences enabled me to take on leadership roles in an educational setting where learning was once again the work as head of department in my two previous international schools i recognized education to be an ethically sound industry rich with a purpose that in some senses superseded those of previous careers an ambition to make a change was ignited and a desire to play an important role in preparing students for an uncertain future where technology would play a chief role was an obvious area i felt my contribution would best fit my own experience continues to drive my desire to bridge the gap between real world and formal education as a matter of urgency a problem based learning environment through curriculum development in technology classes was swiftly implemented i felt it was essential to bridge that gap in order to enhance learning and prepare students for the future projects replaced traditional sage on stage approaches where related practical and theoretical elements blended within tangible scenarios that students could relate to and visualize as having purpose e-portfolios or my unimaginative term personal learning website was one such project that incorporated national curriculum web authoring modules within a real context that gave responsibility to the student to raise the profile of their own work to a wider audience innovation was not always met with open arms nor was it immediately championed by school leaders much to my astonishment improving the learning culture in this way proved to be an
christodoulou 4 uphill struggle where educational excellence seemed to play second fiddle to quick bucks a peaceful life or where inappropriate or unclear vision existed perseverance persuasion creative insistence a supporting pln professional learning network and modeling essentially led to diminished resistance and increased buy-in improvements in igcse results generated the necessary momentum required to refine enhance and moderate project based learning activities as a unified departmental activity that allowed me to better understand the arabic culture and the business culture in which a school can exist to service other core priorities it was evident that an autocratic style of leadership alone was no longer effective or desirable in an educational context in an international school setting i better understood now that my impatience resulted in vastly different responses from followers that in turn depended on their personality characteristics my general attitude and cultural imperialism attempted to promote my culture over another i took time to learn appreciate and embrace the new cultures in which i was learning to lead my pln was not only a tool that provided leadership strategies for circumnavigating problems in an unfamiliar culture but also gave rise to other opportunities to bridge gaps and extend pln to include a network of educators at schools in the region facing similar issues my pln also led to my appointment as mun director for both my previous international schools this enabled me to invoke yet another realistic context in which technology ubiquitously enhanced the learning of students whilst at the same time exposing students to the huge learning benefits the mun program provides in a culturally sensitive manner i am delighted to say that both schools continue to run a thriving mun club that now attends international conferences outside of qatar as well as qmun.
christodoulou 5 i started at qatar foundation as a part time teacher on a near full timetable while coordinating the website content and audience for the doha debates another near full time job that required wicks at both ends of the candle this experience not only helped visibly promote free speech in qatar to the rest of the world but also extended my pln globally since being at qatar academy full time leadership opportunities to advance in the organizational chart has been limited so i have had to find opportunities to exercise leadership in other ways for example this year i volunteered to take on the literacy responsibility for the department after spending time with stephen graham on his last visit i initiated development on the written design cycle template to enable our students to succeed in both innovation and literacy aspects of design work this work has continued and it was satisfying to find recently how impressed stephen was with the development of it in only a few months this will lead to students producing project work of a higher quality and having the knowledge to replicate it in other problem based learning situations such as the myp personal project and the ib dp itgs project a win win situation that promotes a positive learning culture that empowers student ownership for their learning this effort has made me realize the benefit of differentiation even more for this reason i am attending summer training with ttc in london to learn more about implementing differentiation strategies and the learning brain from research to classroom practice in my first year in the technology department it was evident that we needed standardization of project requirements such as expectations leveling of grades and common deadlines across each
christodoulou 6 of the technology strands i played an integral part in identifying this broken system and contributed to its resolution through my suny action research i have begun to build bridges through capacity building with students we have developed a culture of trust that promotes good digital citizenship i have collaborated with other international schools in the region and exciting developments are occurring with emerging technology providers we have an outstanding order with finance for 3d virtual reality kit this came to fruition through the capacity building efforts with my students on the emerging technology project my pln network and a visit to singapore that i had organized to meet with eon since then a demonstration has been conducted in doha and collaborations with a singaporean polytechnic are in the pipeline how then do i define myself as a leader at qatar academy i consider myself an exemplary myp and dp teacher i believe i am visionary and have followers in both the it department and the wider education community through a significant pln i facilitate change through looking at the curriculum in a big picture view and strive to raise standards to achieve our school mission i give real world meaning and skill development through challenging problem based learning models that facilitates increased ownership of learning outcomes to the student through transparency and choice my goals as a leader are to develop transparency further through assessment for learning enhance real world meaning through outside collaborations and empower students by stressing the significant concepts around which curriculum is designed as a framework on which to build
christodoulou 7 appreciably better problem based projects that incorporate the students own interests and ideas with an greater desire for sharing their learning ideas and solutions with a wider community in a manner that is beneficial to themselves and society.
christodoulou 8 bibliography christensen clayton m michael b horn and curtis w johnson disrupting class how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns new york mcgraw-hill 2008 print fullan michael the six secrets of change what the best leaders do to help their organizations survive and thrive san francisco jossey-bass 2008 print northouse peter guy leadership theory and practice thousand oaks sage publications 2007 print quinn robert e deep change discovering the leader within san francisco ca jossey-bass 1996 print spillane james richard halverson and john diamond towards a theory of leadership practice a distributed perspective journal of curriculum studies 36.1 2004 3-34 print tomlinson john cultural imperialism a critical introduction london continuum 2002 print.