Head teachers or HoDs are can be powerful influencers of the culture, ethos and organisation of their schools. Without their support, the enthusiasm of teachers may not be so forthcoming in terms of the processes of change. According to Grace (1995), it is important that educational leaders are involved in the practice of reflective and critical thinking about the culture and organisation of the school.
The process of change comes at times with attributes such as low morale, dissatisfaction and reduced commitment. As the HoD, it is important that the effects on individuals within the school are taken into consideration. When it comes to using technology, reactions might vary from fear of being unable to use technology in front of students to questioning the value of computers to help students to learn (Kennewell, Parkinson & Tanner, 2000). A strong and cohesive conviction of teachers is needed to help teachers feel in control and have ownership. In a recent study (ITCD project as cited in Kennewell et al., 2000), the effective personal use of ICT by Head teachers and co-ordinators and the demonstration of important professional practices in relation to the students’ use of ICT in classroom were found to significant factors in the success of developing ICT capable students.
It is imperative therefore, that HoDs remain positive about integrating ICT and not relinquish this responsibility to other Head teachers.
Another way that HoDs can create a positive influence in the school is by having an interest in developing ICT in the curriculum. Collaboratively working with the ICT co-ordinator to ensure that policies are being implemented efficiently has been indicated in research to have a satisfactory result.
The collaboration of teachers in an ICT committee or advisory panel can truly lead to the promotion of an ICT culture at a school. Such groups can influence teaching strategies throughout the school and are in good position to monitor the use of ICT.
To conclude, as a Head teacher or HoD your role is vital if any positive change towards ICT at your school is to occur. It is important that you let your intentions be clear to all those involved in the process on a daily basis.
Here are some questions that may need to be considered (Kennewell et al, 2000):
- How much attention does the head teacher give to the use of ICT in subject areas on a daily basis and how does she/he comment on what is observed?
- What financial resources are given to ICT and to what extent does the head teacher go out in search of additional funding?
- To what extent is the head teacher a role model in the use of ICT?
- How does the head teacher support staff development in ICT?
- Does the head teacher take into account a person’s ICT capability when selecting and promoting staff?