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“Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution” Critical Essay

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The article is called “Empowering EFL Teachers through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution”; it was written by Sayyed Rashid Shah and published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science in 2014.

The author focuses on perceptions of professional empowerment of EFL teachers and the effectiveness of leadership style practiced at a Saudi Arabian university (Shah, 2014). The article is written in a form of a small-scale critical study and concludes that the top-down hierarchy of the university creates a possibility for oppression and disempowerment, and that is why the leadership at this facility is to be distributed.

Such approach is deemed to allow more responsibility and autonomy to the EFL teachers and their active involvement in the decision-making process (Shah, 2014). The author embraces a critical perspective and followed it throughout the study, and this makes the study rather one-sided.

Critique

Introduction and Research Questions

The introduction of the article is a substantial section divided into several paragraphs based on the main arguments of the author such as the need for highly qualified EFL teachers in the Middle East today, the need for leadership in the educational facilities and its type, and the power balance (Shah, 2014). Each claim is supported by a reference to a study in that area to denote its validity. The message the author has included in the article is explained clearly.

The objective of the study is outlined at the end of the introduction section. The last paragraph is the roadmap of the paper for a reader’s better comprehension. The research questions are presented separately and numbered to make the purpose of the paper clear. The questions focus on the teachers’ perception of the current empowerment and the practices that help or prevent empowerment. The questions also target the teacher’s impressions of leadership style employed at the university, and the style they would prefer to it.

Overall, the introduction provides all necessary information about leadership in the Saudi Arabian university and makes it very comprehensible by breaking it down into distinct points. The author makes connections between the leadership needs and the culture of the Saudi Arabian society. The comprehensiveness and clear outlay are the strengths of the introduction, and so is its reliance on the prior research.

Context of the Study

The context of the study explains how the specific features of Saudi Arabian culture impact the possibility of research at the university and the overall ideas and perceptions concerning leadership. The section also focuses on the organizational structure of the university and the composition of its team of EFL teachers where most representatives are expatriate workers (Shah, 2014).

The description of the management and hierarchy of the university makes it clear that the teachers are extremely limited in their actions and require more autonomy. The author incorporates the opinions of other scholars expressed in their studies in the context to support the argument concerning the need for a new type of leadership at the university.

The study is very significant for the field of education in Saudi Arabia where the need for EFL teachers is high and the number of practitioners requiring autonomy and respect grows by the year. All the evidence cited is trustworthy and comes from scholarly articles published within the last 15 years. Having established the perspective that the leadership practiced at the university currently is unsuitable for the teachers, the author needs to explore the other kinds of leadership that are available as alternatives.

Literature Review

The literature review section is focused on various leadership theories and approaches in the field of education and their provision of empowerment to the teachers. The review begins with the exploration of leadership theories applicable in education and concentrates on those that allow distributed leadership demonstrating a comparison of the older and newer views of leadership (Shah, 2014). The review includes multiple ideas taken from the other studies, some of which were published in 1997 and 1996.

Even though such sources can be considered as rather old, the ideas the author borrowed from them are relevant to the contemporary situation. Basically, every sentence in the review presents reference. That way, the information there can be regarded as reliable and valid.

The section does not review one source after another separately but provides a synthesis of multiple studies, which strengthens the position of the author. This approach makes the literature review resemble a smaller research. Further, the author required the points of view of the actual practitioners in order to confirm the theory. That is why the study had to incorporate the participants who are professionally involved in teaching.

Methodology

At the very beginning of the methodology section, the author informs the reader that the critical approach is the basis of the research. Shah (2014) employs the theory and the points of view of professionals to uncover the existing leadership problems at Saudi Arabian university and to bring attention to the marginalized practitioners in need of more control over their performance and decisions.

As this qualitative study attempts to analyze the individuals’ perceptions, it relies on open-ended semi-structured interview technique as data collection instrument (Shah, 2014). The author explains the approach to sampling and how the confidentiality was preserved. The small size of the sample represents a weakness of the study as it is harder to relate the results to the opinion of the overall population of the expat teachers in Saudi Arabia.

Findings and Conclusion

This section is divided into five subsections based on the themes the author identified in the responses. The study finds that according to the opinions of teachers, the provision of empowerment is the most important leadership skill (Shah, 2014). The interviews showed that teachers perceive the current leadership at the university as oppressive and lacking appreciation, collaboration, and trust. The discussion is supported by the quotes from the interviews with the participants.

The study can be easily duplicated by another researcher and at a different university. Another weakness of the study is that the author follows only one perspective, while the opposing point of view is not presented. That way, the reader may suspect that the researcher is biased. The author believes that the flawed leadership can be addressed if the teachers begin to speak up against it and demand new policies and attitudes, but that would require more similar studies targeting leadership issues of the educational facilities.

The conclusion emphasizes the author’s attempt to empower the teachers to fight for their autonomy and facilitate the organizational changes. The main weakness of the study is presented by its small sample size since not many practitioners would agree to speak against their employers, especially when the leadership issues are dictated by the culture of the society.

Conclusion

The critical perspective of the study limits the author’s research to just one point of view. The opinions of the expatriate practitioners were explored for the purpose to reveal the flaws of the leadership at Saudi Arabian university. No opposing perspectives were demonstrated or discussed.

The overall study is rather clear, the methodology, data collection, and analysis are explained thoroughly and supported with evidence from other recent studies. The main strength of the study is its significance for Saudi Arabian EFL education that is in need for immediate changes in leadership.

Reference

Shah, S. R. (2014). Empowering EFL teachers through distributed leadership: A critical perspective on leadership practices in an educational institution. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5(10), 9-25.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 17). “Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/empowering-efl-teachers-through-distributed-leadership-a-critical-perspective-on-leadership-practices-in-an-educational-institution-article/

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"Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution." IvyPanda, 17 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/empowering-efl-teachers-through-distributed-leadership-a-critical-perspective-on-leadership-practices-in-an-educational-institution-article/.

1. IvyPanda. "Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/empowering-efl-teachers-through-distributed-leadership-a-critical-perspective-on-leadership-practices-in-an-educational-institution-article/.


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IvyPanda. "Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/empowering-efl-teachers-through-distributed-leadership-a-critical-perspective-on-leadership-practices-in-an-educational-institution-article/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/empowering-efl-teachers-through-distributed-leadership-a-critical-perspective-on-leadership-practices-in-an-educational-institution-article/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) '“Empowering EFL Teachers Through Distributed Leadership: A Critical Perspective on Leadership Practices in an Educational Institution”'. 17 July.

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