Philosophy of EFL management
- a personal view
by Piotr Jednaszewski
If we perceive every educational institution as a unique individual organism, then it would be impossible to distract every element of that organism and analyse it separately, for example, in terms of management, psychology, multiplied intelligence and many other different factors which in fact influence the overall existence of the whole teaching system – organism.
There are no good schools without good teachers, teachers with so-called charisma as well as the academic knowledge, and what is more, good teachers could not work if students did not know about their existence. Also teachers can become better or worse, depending on many psycho-sociological aspects which they have to face in their everyday professional life.
Here comes the question which has always been buzzing in my head: what makes a good EFL manager?
Before becoming an EFL manager every manager has to possess some qualities which make him the manager. Those qualities can be associated with education, personal charisma, family background or any other factors which made the considered individual a manager. ‘While running some social services like the office providing birth or marriage certificate, it seems there is no need for PR services or strong marketing policies. The clients are always welcome and there is no doubt that the market demand shall drastically drop ruining the social service comprehended as the company. Sarcastically and on the contrary, especially the EFL Institution much depends on the market demand and the clients satisfaction is expressed by their loyalty to the chosen institution, which could not be said in the first business example. Teachers who are considered as the ones with charisma and strong educational background, having hordes of their loyal students on the courses and friends of those students and so on, might not always be able to become EFL managers. This transformation process requires those skills which go beyond class tutorials and are strictly connected with the position held and the responsibilities. In 15 EFL institutions including:
University of St Andrews ELT
Norwich Institution for Language Education
Sells College London
YMCA College Poland
and others the directors of EFL departments came from a teaching background. All of them proved to be excellent managers despite their previous outstanding teaching career. Here I would like to mention Yunus Raiss, head of Sels College London. When I studied at his college in 1992 I observed that he was not only excellent in dealing with us students as a former teacher but there was an atmosphere of teacher trust and understanding towards him. There was no manager among those ELT directors who would finish management or economics as his first studies and then become a director of the language institution. This however does not determine the situation that managers with other background than EFL would not be suitable for becoming the EFL directors. Therefore, I would like to focus on teachers who are to become the managers or already are. The situation can be illustrated by the transformation wheel where the teachers are transformed into the managers or teaching skills and class management abilities are transformed into management skills.
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