Leadership is one of the aspects that lead to the development of effective learning institutions. For this reason, this paper concentrates on leadership aspects in urban locations, it will explore the various contextual and cultural themes that are primarily related to urban leadership, and particularly in schools. The school that the paper will concentrate on is The Lycée Français de New York. The paper’s title relates to the urban school context featured in the paper, and also includes the characteristics of children found in the institution, such as the percentage of kids considered ethnic minorities, including those that do not speak English as their first language. In essence, it can be derived that classes are increasingly becoming multicultural. In essence, The Lycée Français de New York teaches French is a count dominated by English speakers. As such, there is bound to be challenging for teachers. Traditionally, students who are taught in a multicultural classroom are at a deficit primarily because they must learn the art of navigating unfamiliar people, the language differences, and their cultures. In the case of The Lycée Français de New York, the teachers, who are predominantly English, the teachers have the responsibility of leading the students through an unfamiliar territory characterized of diverse pupils towards the achievement.
The Lycée Français de New York, having been founded in October 1935 provides a perfect avenue of highlighting leadership problems that have been encountered in the past to the present about multi-cultures and diversity encompassed in urban schools. It is supported and encouraged by American and French nationals, thus supporting the essence of diversity in urban schools. Even so, the school was originally an American private institution; it took the name as a tribute to an educational system that unanimously recognized is known for quality and discipline, as well as highlighting its personality and originality of the French culture compared to the American context. At the start of the school, it had 24 students, but by the 1970s, that population of pupils had grown to over 1000, as well as receiving a wide expansion of the facilities, including the buildings and facilities. Since 1935 over 35,000 students have registered at the Lycée Français de New York (LFNY) and it is one of the mot diverse institutions in New York. For instance, it is estimated that the school has over 150 nationalities throughout the history of the institution. For this reason, it is the perfect example of an urban institution with diversity and has had tremendous changes since its inception.
However, the main objective of this paper is describing the characteristics and features of The Lycée Français de New York, including the past and current changes. The paper will also explore the nature of the challenges and opportunities of leadership in the school, the ways in which the school leadership responds to the challenges, as well as the relevance and notion of the leadership of place. Also, the paper will also relate these aspects to personal and professional practice, as well as highlight their relation with leadership theories, conceptual issues and to policy and practice. Finally, it will also reflect the implications of the explorations for scholarship, as well as ameliorate the comprehension of leadership. Also, within these aspects, I will draw and reflect on crucial literature, specifically for urban leadership.
By exploring and developing my understanding of the ways in which leadership is bound in context and culture, I am aspiring to improve the core offer of all stakeholders involved in a multicultural context, as well as those that deal with urban education. I will also be able to develop as well as improve my leadership and to subsequently ensure that it is refined and becomes more culturally sensitive. Also, it will improve the society through the creation of a more respectful, tolerant, and caring personnel through the creation of curriculum that considers each of these aspects that are discussed in the paper. Also, it will also raise academic standards as well as the various rates of progression in students and widen the life options of pupils that study in a multicultural context.
It should be noted that urban schools, such as The Lycée Français de New York, are in most instances organic and are in fact changing organizations, especially in the 21st century. For this reason, it is vital to comprehend and adopt relevant and appropriate responses to the culture and context of a global teacher, as well as the professional work of individuals in the globe. It is also important to consider that how urban leaders develop the skills required for correctly responding and analyzing to the changing dynamics of school institutions, as well as the community in general, lies in successfully leading urban schools, given the multi-culturist dimension they exhibit. According to Riley (2009), urban leaders should have the capability of focussing on understanding the context of the school community so that they begin conceptualizing the challenges that students face while learning at a diverse institution, as well as what problems they face in their everyday lives. In essence, once they comprehend these challenges, professionals in the education field will be able to create a school environment that is better matched to the needs of students. One of the researchers that have contributed in this field is Brighouse and Fullick (2007), in their works of education in a global city, and incorporated aspects that are important for urban leaders. For instance, Brighouse (2008) asserts that to be a leader in urban schools, and in particular those serving kids from families that face various socio-economic challenges, they have to show aspects of character, as well as a range of qualities that include indomitable will, as well as showing a passion for success that can brook no denial. Even so, there has been researching that supports passion for being associated with leadership effectiveness, including Davies and Brighouse (2008), as well as Day (2004). For this reason, the question important about this context is what the unique competencies and skills required for leaders in an urban context to be passionate in successfully leading urban schools are?
Defining an urban school in the USA is quite easier compared to the UK because the society has no instances of social and economic deprivation, but is characterized by a huge diversity primarily due to the immigration policies adopted by the American Government (Urias, 2012). For this reason, the Lycée Français de New York is characterized by wide diversity, including faith, cultures, race, as well as the aspect of multilingualism and bilingualism. Even so, it is important to note that there is a problem with defining what an urban school is. For instance, Harris (2002) and Grace (2006) have recognized the problem, especially in their work. For example, Grace (2006) articulates that it is how urban school leaders respond, deal with the contradictions and diversity in their environment that measure, and define their work’s impact. On the other hand, Harris (2002) recognizes the difficulties that face scholars in defining urban schools due to variance in the complexities of societies, as well as the relations highlighted by societies dictated by multi-connected problems.
According to Alsubaie (2015) classrooms are increasingly becoming multicultural, and in consequence, this creates a new set of challenges for teachers, and thus, school leaders. Urban schools, with a high degree of diversity, is not exceptional. It should be noted that students coming into a multicultural classroom are usually placed at a deficit, primarily because they must first learn skills on how to navigate unfamiliar cultures, languages, and people. School leaders, as Alsubaie (2015) note, have an additional responsibility of leading students through an unfamiliar territory, and in most instances, the problem is exacerbated in the urban areas, as the school leaders have to ensure that the teachers have specialized learning practice, techniques, and education in order to accomplish effectively. It is noted that teachers and school leaders who subsequently unite classrooms with the various activities, both inside and outside the classroom have a better position of boosting student achievement, as well as ameliorating the negative effects that have ben observed in multicultural classrooms in the past, as well as bringing in the necessary positive changes.
Even so, it is important to note that leadership and power are closely interrelated and should be balanced for effective leadership. There has been significant research in the area highlighted by various researchers. In essence, there is a need to comprehend the role of power, as well as how it can be maintained and achieved. By understanding these aspects, leaders in an urban school context can effectively interact with any pedagogy regarding the subject of urban schooling and life, as well as set the necessary policies required in advancing effective pedagogical policies. It is paramount to note that the government develops the policies, passes the and also monitors them as related to urban schooling.
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