How does the role of the school principal differ in various industrial nations around the world?

The Dim Bulb

The Occasional Musings of an Educator

by Michael Keany

#24 - March 12, 2023

The brain is capable of performing 10 quadrillion (that’s 10 to the 16th) “calculations,” or synaptic events, per second using only about 15 watts of power. At this rate, a computer as powerful as the human brain would require 1 gigawatt of power. Maybe a dim bulb isn't really as dim as it seems.

The photo at the left is the  Livermore Centennial bulb, the world's longest-burning electric bulb

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How does the role of the school principal differ in various industrial nations around the world? 

The role of the school principal can vary greatly depending on the country and its education system. In some countries, such as the United States, the principal is seen as a key leader responsible for the overall management and administration of the school. In other countries, such as Japan, the principal is seen as a teacher and mentor who plays a key role in guiding and supporting the instructional staff.

In the United States, school principals are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including overseeing the school budget, managing staff, evaluating teachers, and maintaining school facilities. They are also responsible for setting academic standards and ensuring that students receive a quality education. According to a report by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the role of the principal in the United States has become increasingly complex in recent years, with many principals struggling to balance administrative duties with instructional leadership.

In Japan, on the other hand, the role of the principal is more focused on instructional leadership and mentorship. According to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japanese school principals are often former teachers who continue to teach classes while also serving as mentors to their colleagues. They are responsible for helping teachers develop their skills and expertise, and for fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

In Finland, another example, the role of the principal is focused on creating a positive and supportive school culture. According to a report by the European Commission, Finnish school principals are seen as "pedagogical leaders" who work closely with teachers to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment. They are responsible for setting the tone for the school, fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, and supporting teachers in their professional development.

Overall, the role of the school principal can vary greatly depending on the country and its education system. While principals in some countries are seen primarily as administrators, in others they are seen as mentors and instructional leaders.

References:

National Association of Secondary School Principals. (2016). A Vision for School Leadership in 21st Century Schools. Retrieved from https://www.nassp.org/policy-advocacy-center/nassp-position-stateme....

OECD. (2018). Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/education/Teachers-and-School-Leaders-as-Lifel....

European Commission. (2016). Finland - Education and Training. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/education/system/files/2016-education-training....

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