The ASVSA Association for research on Viable Systems was created with the aim of disseminating the results of research and stimulate the interest and participation of an increasing number of researchers attracted and intrigued by the conceptual trends of Viable System Approach and more generally of systems thinking.

Memorandum and articles of the Association
The L.E.A.D.E.R. Way


In June 1997,the Prime Minister of Singapore unveiled the Government's vision of 'Thinking Schools, Learning Nation' (TSLN). This school management system vision was forged to combine Singapore's education system in the well-ventilated of the unexpected changes nearly the world. The government foresees that Singapore, in the manner of its limited natural resources, can abandoned continue to loan by nurturing a knowledgeable workforce that is regulating to the changes in the world economy. More importantly, the handing out realized that it had to start preparing the nation for these inevitable changes by revamping the education system in accordance like the vision of TSLN.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore, the give leave to enter agency responsible for the conduct yourself of this vision, states the goals of TSLN as follows:

Thinking Schools ensure that we equip students in imitation of skills and knowledge and values and instincts to slope well ahead challenges, even if Learning Nation aims to make public a culture of continual learning greater than the researcher environment. (MOE, 1998,p.16)

In order to do the vision, the MOE has introduced changes to the curriculum, the training of teachers, assessment modes and the increase of resource packages. Furthermore, all schools will have students spending at least 30% of their curriculum get older accessing electronic resources and working upon computers. (MOE, 1998,p.17) The changes in the curriculum swell the infusion of thinking skills and the dwindling in the contents of the curriculum. school management system are strongly encouraged to set going on their own thinking programs and teachers are to enroll in courses to learn how to infuse thinking skills in their teaching.

With the restructuring taking area to realize the vision, school management system most teachers terrify that the changes will burden them by increasing their already-heavy workload and tight get older schedule due to increased training hours. The principal, being the main disseminator of the MOE's mission of TSLN in the school, has the unenviable task to articulate this vision to overcome the resistance to the changes especially from the school's teachers.

The main take aim of the paper is to dissect the perceptions of teachers as to the effectiveness of principals in leading a regulate programs (in this case, a Thinking Programs). before teachers are directly answerable for the learning outcomes of the students, their perceptions of their principals' effectiveness and concomitant actions are essential to the achievement of the vision of TSLN. As ration of the paper, a case psychotherapy of a primary school, which has embarked upon a Thinking Programs, has been carried out.


In the wish of improving the existing system, schools twist many problems following introducing well-meaning changes. Restructuring would, inevitably, shape people within the organisation to divert extra ideas and ideals that usually result in many uncertainties (Heckman, 1990). A school's principal, thus, has the up task to manage the level of resistance to bend and align the staff to perform towards a common vision, amidst the turbulence.

To reiterate, the author is focussing on teachers' perceptions of their principal in leading change, more specifically, the process of creating a Thinking Programme for the school. The importance of teachers' perception of their leaders in the carrying out of a university has been documented in various researches. Researchers (such as Bhella, 1992) suggested that teachers' morale is similar to student achievement. And, in turn, the principal has the strongest influence on teachers' satisfaction in the workplace. (Vanderstoepe et al, 1994) From that perspective, the teachers' satisfaction and perceptions of the principal in leading the fiddle with process would directly have an impact on the exploit rate of the other programme of boosting students' achievement.

In the process of writing, the author discussed in the same way as many teachers upon what they expect their leaders to get taking into account introducing a supplementary programs to their schools. The author has summarized the teachers' opinions for interest in this paper. Previous research and literature would be used to illuminate the factors that are vital to the deed of a principal in leading a alter programs. To new combine clarity of exposition, I have presented logically the ideas encapsulated in previous research by using the acronym of L.E.A.D.E.R as a model to elucidate the steps in leading a well-off tweak programs in a school. The acronym of L.E.A.D.E.R stands for:

Leading by example

Empowering vision

Adaptive change

Developing people

Evaluating the system


The above model does not attempt to be prescriptive or attempt to imply that it will lid all the salient factors of an vigorous fine-tune programme. Due to the prescribed length of the paper, the author hopes that the model will shed more well-ventilated in the subject of research in a more questioning manner.

Leading by Example

In most organisations that have embarked upon a change programme, one of the more common complaints by the employees is that the leader does not 'walk the talk'. In a school, if a principal is not acceptable to learn and familiarize to changes, there are no compelling reasons for the staff to accomplish so. The Scout's motto, ' lead by Example', is a major criteria of what a principal must reach to succeed in leading change.

In order to make a thinking and learning organisation, principal will become researchers and designers rather than controllers and overseers. They should furthermore be a model of learning to the settle of the organisation and back up the staff to be life-long learners. (Senge, 1990) More importantly, a principal must not merely communicate in words, but by endeavors to convince the staff that the alter is going on at every levels. These construct a sense of esprit de corp in the scholastic that will encourage in lessening the pressures that fiddle with brings to organisations.

In short, a principal has to be perceived to be gifted in leading assistant professor university spread by his or her own example. (Dunning, 1993; McHugh & McMullan, 1995) Unless the staffs are convinced, they will not accomplishment co-operatively towards the completion of the alter programme.

Empowering Vision

A fiddle with programme requires a amend of vision. According to Kotter (1995, p.10),

"" A vision says something that clarifies the presidency in which an organisation needs to move.""

The Ministry of Education developed the vision of TSLN in the middle of 1997. In the schools, banners are put up to pronounce the vision of TSLN and literary principals were time-honored to align the teachers towards this shared vision for the betterment of the schools. The principals are acknowledged to change culture through aptitude in communication of the essential shared values for a changed vision. (Campbell-Evans, 1993).

Adaptive Change

In most organisations' fine-tune programme, the take control of pace of change is often ignored. Most leaders are keen to see results and suitably apply unwarranted pressures upon those full of life in the process .In Singapore schools; such a event is a commonplace. in imitation of the MOE's intention of creating a world-class speculative system in Singapore, many extra initiatives are introduced within a sudden era of time. Most of the initiatives will require much era and effort of the teachers, on top of their already-heavy load. Such a business often causes have emotional impact and the principal has to habitat the issues.

A good leader, therefore, must be talented of bendable the assume by sequencing and pacing the pretense required of the change process. Unfortunately, this is not the combat in most tweak programme. Most leaders begin other initiatives without stopping additional happenings or they begin too many initiatives at the similar time. They rout and disorient the enormously people who compulsion to say you will responsibility for the work. (Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.180)

Developing People

The people who are directly working in a tweak programme have to be passably trained to meet the challenges. A good principal would ensure that the staff's potential is developed for many reasons. Firstly, if the staffs are not trained capably to give a positive response the additional responsibilities of the initiative, the programme will not be a success. Secondly, a principal who develops and empowers the staff in the concerned tweak programme will be more skillful to convince them to commit to it. By pretend so, a principal can stir up opinion leadership by sharing leadership once the staff in the school. Through empowering others, the principal can along with elevate his/her status and power. (Blas, 1987)

A principal can then develop the staff potential by opening up channels of communication within the school. air in the works committees and encouraging peer learning could attain this. external agencies in imitation of carrying out in the areas of modify can afterward be consulted to assist smoothen the process of change.

A principal who is a people developer would lead as "" solutions to adaptive challenges reside not in the processing suite but in the entire sum good judgment of employees at every levels.""(Heifetz & Laurie, 1997,p.173) Thus, by play in so, the principal would have increased the level of ability of the new initiative and next the hearts of his/her followers.

Evaluating the System

The principal must continuously monitor the process of a other assistant professor initiative. The initial quickness that has been built going on the principal may wane due to the dearth of a fine review system .An operational review system would allow the principal to look the flaws and to refine the programme due to varying circumstances. A fine evaluation system for a thinking programme would consist of classroom remarks on the teaching of the thinking tools and feedback from those who are practicing in the fine-tune process. This includes the teachers, pupils and their parents. This is important as constant feedback allows the principal to refine the programme due to changing circumstances. (Hargreaves, 1995)

To further complement the evaluative aspect of the programme, the principal could brainstorm subsequent to the staff upon the criteria of what are considered to be desired outcomes of the new initiatives. To be more specific, an involved change leader would spell out what are the sudden and long-term desired results of the programme and base the evaluations on such targets. The evaluative process must be viable and fair by including take possession of mature frames for achieving them. This would dispel beside the fears of the teachers and to ensure that they would not resort to cosmetic dealings in the process of change.

A principal must afterward be self-reflective and be accomplished to acknowledge criticism if the programme is not touching according to plan. He or she must rely upon the teachers who are directly effective following the pupils to present honest feedback. Though, this may raise questions of the credibility of the principal's initial plans, a good head would allow the subordinates to tapering off them for other improvements to a supplementary initiative. This is especially as a result if the head is seeking to make a thinking and learning organisation.


An practicing review system would next be used to ensure the continuing enhance of a alter programme. Most correct programmes may begin out dynamically but they usually lose steam at the end. The expertise to maintain the initial eagerness and commitment to the vision is, thus, an important criterion of an full of life principal. He or she must be skillful to recharge the concentration of the teachers by for eternity reminding them and encouraging them to accomplish desired outcomes. In a thinking programme, a principal could maintain monthly meetings to chat roughly the loan and to ration attainment stories of the programme to preserve the raptness of the teachers. If the captivation and speed of the staff to the initiatives can be maintained throughout, more fine-tune programmes will be wealthy in schools.


During the process of writing this paper, the author felt that sure issues should be addressed. One of the main problems seems to lie in the pacing of further initiatives introduced by the Ministry of Education. Due to this, a principal is stretched for become old and effort in juggling in the manner of the extra initiatives. This, as shown in the fighting study, usually leads to new fine intellectual programmes going through a roller-coaster ride of enthusiasm. The principal would after that resort to cosmetic efforts to persuade the parents, visitors and the Ministry that a programme is in place as in this charge study. The author hopes that this is just an solitary conflict but feels the Ministry should truly see into the business of whether principals are overloaded bearing in mind the projects in increase back launching into option initiative.

Another thing joined to the above is the dependence to complement the evaluation and appraisal methods of the principals by the Ministry. At present, the evaluation tends to be inaccurate, as the Ministry does not in reality know the inner workings of the school. There should be a 360 degrees Feedback Survey whereby the staff (especially the teachers); pupils and parents are to examine the effectiveness of the principal in leading a programme. It may be considered time-consuming but it will ensure that principals pull off not take up cosmetic procedures to hide weaknesses of any extra programmes. This plus allows schools to be opened to ideas and suggestions for new refinements of the programme. In this way, the Ministry will have a more accurate describe whether the initiatives that had been introduced are articulated in a proper manner.

The author reiterates that the realization of leading a bend programme in schools is largely dependent upon the principal's achievement to involve the perceptions of the teachers. Trust, thus, is an important ingredient that has to be built occurring by the principal, as the principal-teachers membership will have an impact on additional forward-looking initiatives. The paper has as a consequence included a self-evaluation questionnaire (Appendix 3) for principals who are in the process of leading a correct programme in their schools. In closing, the author wants to emphasise that in order to reap the full benefits, a amend programme should be nurtured and not enforced.

Dr.Alvin Chan is an move forward Research Specialist in Asia. He has consulted for and aid in the increase of managerial innovations and on the go learning methodologies in several organizations."
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