А. B. Akhmetzhanov, bachelor,
ORCID 0000-0002-5621-1582, e-mail: email@example.com,
A. R. Sabitova, master,
ORCID 0000-0002-8332-6473, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
G. Sadvakassova, bachelor,
ORCID 0000-0002-8895-1446, e-mail: email@example.com,
O. Plyushko, bachelor,
ORCID 0000-0001-9085-8016, e-mail: Plushko_o@kt.nis.edu.kz,
The branch «Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools of Physics & Mathematics in Kokshetau city»
of Autonomous Educational Organization «Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools»,
F. K. Ilyassova, specialist,
ORCID 0000-0002-8046-3886, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nazarbayev Intellectual school of Astana,
Monday morning. Vice principals came to their weekly meeting with the principal. Only 2 months have passed since Mrs. Moonlight was appointed as a vice principal to South West International Secondary school in one of the central cities of a country in Central Asia. Mrs. Moonlight believed that she had already blended in with the staff. She was focused on her draft of the new school timetable that she wanted to present to her colleagues. It was always hard to take initiatives for her. She was left uneasy about the fact that her weekly work would not be properly received.
Background (about the school)
South West International Secondary school was opened September 1, 1996. It became the third consecutive International school that was run on the initiative of the Head of the State. International school consists of four floors, fourteen blocks and is designed for 800 pupils with current 780 students studying in it. The type of the school is a full day school. In the educational institution there are 84 study rooms, three extended laboratories on Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Classrooms and laboratories equipped with training equipment and furniture from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. For children who come from other cities a dormitory with 200 beds is provided. There are two sport gyms, fitness room, a football field, jogging track, tennis courts and a pool is under construction at this moment. To carry out cultural and leisure facilities there is an assembly hall with 420 seats. There is an extensive library, a modern media library, and an information center. Also, there is a dining room for 400 seats. The competitive selection of teachers for South West International School in Novacity was held and more than 300 teachers from not only Novacity but also teachers from Canada, Korea, Philippines and Australia took part.
Mrs. Moonlight has been working at this school for almost a month.. Having analyzed the reports from the curators about the students’ involvement into the supplementary education, Mrs. Moonlight realized that the percentage is quite low, only constituting 20 % of all students. The majority of the students did not have time to participate in extracurricular activities as their academic lessons finish at 4.30 pm. Some students had to withdraw from their clubs which they used to attend at primary school. Being assigned as a VP for Pastoral Care she did want to bring changes into this particular field by improving the students’ involvement to give them a chance to develop holistically. Her job entailed providing strong leadership for all aspects of pastoral care at the school, including but not exclusively behavior and safety, safeguarding, tutorial provision and attendance. She came up with the conclusion that the school timetable could be altered a bit, and time allocated for break between some of the lessons could be reduced. Then, she worked out a new version of the timetable, where small breaks were 5-minute breaks, and longer ones – 20 minutes. So, she managed to squeeze the timetable so that the lessons are over at 3.15. This left 1 hour and 45 minutes for students during supplementary education.
When the final version of the timetable was ready, Mrs. Moonlight informed all the VPs that she had a question to discuss and wanted to meet with them. That day in the afternoon the Principal called a meeting where Mrs. Moonlight was given a time to propose her initiative. Interestingly, that everyone accepted the plan and liked the idea, especially the School Principal and he gave her carte-blanche to run things as she saw them and also asked VP for Academic affairs to show assistance in it.
Two steps forward
Mrs. Moonlight was eager to launch the initiative at the very beginning of the second term, therefore, the day before the students returned from their autumn holidays, she had organized a meeting with the head curator to discuss the most suitable time for the meeting with the Middle and High students cohorts. She expected the head curator, who leads 14 homeroom teachers to help her concerning the issue of gathering all the students in the Assembly Hall. The head curator was a bit confused about the purpose of the meeting and being technologically aware, suggested to simply use online chat application to let the students know that significant alteration would occur regarding the school timetable, “The students and the curators are so much overloaded..,” she insisted, “in the era of High Tech it would be more reasonable to inform them by means of social net.”
Mrs. Moonlight realized the rationale of the idea, but she did not want a new policy regarding the school schedule to be imposed without face-to-face collaboration. “I am sure the students will have questions that need to be responded to immediately,” she reflected on her way to the office. In the office, she created a Power Point Presentation that included a couple of slides with the new timetable where she highlighted the aspects that had experienced considerable modification.
The next day the new timetable was launched and the school witnessed a kind of disorder. Thus, though it was lesson time you could still see students walking and even teachers hurrying to their classes. The same picture could be seen during the whole school day. “It takes time… Tomorrow it will be much better,” the VP stated strolling along the corridor.
In the afternoon after all the lessons, she entered the Meeting Hall, a few minutes before the start. The students were all inside. Mrs. Moonlight attracted the students’ attention.
“Good afternoon, students!” she started confidently, “the purpose of the meeting is to talk about the implementation of the new timetable.”
“What is going on? We did not have enough time for proper lunch today!” out of the blue, a boy cried out.
“Actually, I did not have time to go to the library before the History lesson, which I used to do before,” continued another boy. Shouts of disagreement and discontent could be heard from here and there. Bewildered by the negative reaction of the students, the VP hurried to explain and persuade the students that the radical timetable modification had been introduced for their sake. Currently, due to its latest version, the school finished at 3.15 p.m. and students were free to join various afterschool clubs and sport sections. Referring to a research conducted in this area by a number of scientists, the vice-principal expounded that participation in extracurricular activities on a regular basis was the best way to help them develop their individual personality, cut down on emotional stress, and enhance social or academic skills that could benefit students in the future career.
Later the same day, a joint meeting for the whole teaching staff was organized. Mrs. Moonlight considered it to be crucial to keep the teachers in the loop of the latest event. The meeting was quite short so as not to keep the teachers at the end of the working day. The VP for pastoral care announced that the new timetable had been agreed upon with the students. And that it was pushed by the necessity to provide students with opportunity to attend regular after school clubs and team sports, which would provide students with the facilities and time to promote health hobbies, improve life and social skills and even boost academic performance.
Mrs. Moonlight had a slight feeling of disappointment after the meetings with the teaching staff and students since she had expected them to be more enthusiastic concerning the new initiative. Nevertheless, she calmed herself down realizing that any innovation is always accepted with a certain degree of resistance.
One step back
After a month of new timetable implementation at school, the following significant results have been noticed. The percentage of students’ involvement in extracurricular activities has improved. Some students even had a chance to attend both in school clubs and centers of supplementary education in town. In addition, the students and teachers had more time to carry out small group or individual consultations which resulted in improved academic achievement. According to the school mission now the positive, enabling environment where the students could develop holistically had been created.
However, the principal started receiving the complaints about constant late arrivals of students and teachers to the classes.
Maks, 24 years old:
The new timetable is a catastrophe for a novice teachers like me. I mean that, novice teachers do not have their own classrooms, consequently after conducting a lesson I have to put in order classroom, wait for students to come out of the classroom, close the door, carry the keys to the security room, take another key, go to another block, turn on the computer and prepare to next lesson. You can ask me, so what is the problem? The problem is that working by a new timetable I have only 5 minutes to do all these mentioned above. I’m not a superhero who can fly.
Furthermore, more and more teachers were getting disappointed by the fact that they did not have time to have proper lunch and missed the time when they could talk about teaching issues over a cup of tea.
Pamela, 37 years old:
According to this new timetable, I have 2 days a week when I have 7 lessons in a row. For me to have lunch in between the lessons is impossible. 20 minutes is not enough to have a proper lunch, 10 minutes of which I will be standing in a queue until I am served.
Alfred, 43 years old:
All teachers are busy here, so we merely do not have time to communicate with each other. Previously, during lunch time we used to have professional conversations with teachers from our and other departments. Now, everything is different…
Also teachers were worried about students’ inability to rest between first and the second half of the day. As a result, students became less active at the lessons, especially after lunch time. Later, it became clear that something needs to be done, because the situation worsened every day.
Mrs. Moonlight did not expect that changes in scheduling might cause such problems. She hoped that the teachers would adapt themselves to the new schedule, and the students would appreciate this innovation. Being a practitioner with certain years of experience, she came up with an idea to organize a staff meeting and to find out teachers’ opinions related to the new timetable issues. Mrs. Moonlight decided to take up this action later, as it was only the beginning of the school year.
The week did not promise bad news until one day a parent of one of the students came to the school. Mrs. Moonlight was organizing a list of students who would attend the international talent festival. The urgent meeting of the administration interrupted her work.
All the vice principals, the principal himself, the parent and one of the teachers sat in the office.
Parent: I am outraged by the fact that one of your teachers is continuously being late for the lessons. What is it? Is this an example of high-quality international education? I had to take urgent measures, since such an attitude to her own work has a negative impact on the performance of my child!
The principal tried to calm the parent down, but it was all in vain. And in the end he said:
I apologize for such a sad coincidence and I assure you that I will take all necessary measures to change this situation. Be sure the quality of your child's education will no longer suffer. We will question the further extension of the contract with this teacher.
The parent left the room. Mrs. Moonlight was sitting with her head down.
“Any suggestions?” the Principal’s voice broke the silence...
In this case Mrs. Moonlight makes a step forward in the implementation of the new timetable in order to create enabling conditions for students to participate in extracurricular activities aiming at their holistic development promotion. When Mrs. Moonlight believes that the new timetable positively influences students’ performance, she meets negative reaction from both teaching staff and students’ parents. In order to fully study out the obstacles that Mrs. Moonlight encountered, have the students figure out primary and secondary problems and prompt to make think collaboratively in finding a solution, students should examine the case in three steps:
Step 1: Watch a short video and try to predict what the case study will be about.
Step 2: Read the case study.
Step 3: Find alternative solutions to the problems.
Step 1: Watch a short video and try to predict what the case study will be about.
To begin, in small groups students watch a short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAHw_GbOhHw. They try to predict what the case study is about and to provide strong arguments to support their points of view. Also students give a name to their small groups.
Step 2: Read the case study.
Next, students read the case study in small groups (20 min). Having read the provided material, the students are expected to identify and write primary and secondary problems on the given flipcharts.
NOTE. The students are expected to recognize the problems which are not limited to the ones stated in the table.
- Lack of effective collaboration
- Poor leadership skills of the Principal (Laisser-faire leadership style)
- Taken actions are not research-based
- lateness of students and teachers for the lessons
- Complaints of parents which negatively affect the culture of communication among school stakeholders.
- Dissatisfaction with the timetable (teachers, students and parents) etc.
You are free to utilize the application “Spin the Wheel” http://wheeldecide.com to determine the order of groups’ presentations. Then, refer back to the watched video and discuss whether their predictions related to the content of the case study reflected the issues rose in it.
Step 3: Find alternative solutions to the problems.
Finally, students come up with one or two possible solutions to the problems identified. Draw the students’ attention to the ending of the case study. The students are expected to act out the final scene of the case and suggest possible solution through the role play.
The following questions might be used to guide group discussion:
- How would you define the collaborative relationships in South West International Secondary school?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of Mrs. Moonlight’s approach in launching the initiative?
- How would the things go if the culture of professional collaboration were highly developed at South West International Secondary school?
1. Carter, K. (1999). What is a case? What is not a case. Who learns what from cases and how, 165-175;
2. “Don’t lose your time!” [Video file] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAHw_GbOhHw ;
3. Mangin, M. M. (2010). Building relationships step by step: One teacher leader’s journey. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 13(2), 13-20;
4. Myran, S., & Sutherland, I. (2016). Problem Posing in Leadership Education: Using Case Study to Foster More Effective Problem Solving. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 19(4), 57-71;
5. Ryan, D. F., & Katz, S. J. (2007). Just thinking, reflecting, and acting in schools: A case of social justice leadership. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 10(2), 46-65;
“Spin the Wheel” (2018) [online software] Available from http://wheeldecide.com
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