Women Leading Educational Change in the Arab World: The case of the TAMAM Project – forthcoming
In the twenty first century, women are increasingly attaining gender equality with men in education and in the workforce (The World Bank, 2019). However, these promising figures have not been paralleled with an equal access to positions in the higher echelons of the organizations specially in Arab countries (The World Bank, 2019). Historically, leadership has been considered as a role for men rather than women, as men are deemed to have characteristics necessary for successful leadership such as aggressiveness, forcefulness and objectivity that women lack (Brenner, Tomkiewicz & Schein, 1989). Surprisingly, in the midst of all those challenges that hinder women from attaining leadership positions and from being successful as leaders, a group of women succeeded in leading a school improvement project called TAMAM that aims at developing leadership capacity of members in schools in different countries in the Arab world (Karami-Akkary & Rizk 2011; Karami-Akkary et al., 2012; Karami-Akkary et al., 2013). Such a project that is led by women is worthy of examination since these women who were socialized to be subservient are not only defying an unfavorable environment for women’s leadership but are also empowering and building leadership capacity in others, be it women or men. Hence, it is of added value to investigate what led to the success of this group of women who, without holding any formal leadership position, managed to implement an initiative that was neither popular nor supported by an authority and that consisted of inspiring others to become leaders in their schools. Thus, this research study focuses on the success stories of the project Steering Team (PST) leading TAMAM, and aims at examining the challenges that this team made up of only women faced and the factors that enabled them to overcome these barriers. For the purpose of this study, the following questions will be addressed:
From the perspective of the TAMAM project Steering Team:
- How does TAMAM view and lead change?
- What triggered the PST members to perceive themselves as leaders of change?
- What were the enabling conditions that allowed the PST to lead change successfully?
- What were some strategies the PST members used to overcome the challenges they faced?
The study will employ the narrative inquiry methodology for its data collection and grounded theory for its data analysis. The participants in the study will comprise all the eleven members of the project Steering Team. Individual interviews as well as focus group interviews will be the sources of data. The expected findings of the study add to the scarce literature and empirical data on the success stories of women leading school improvement, and would add to the understanding of how leadership is affected by gender. Also, it can provide strategies for women who aim at being leaders or who are in leadership positions to overcome the challenges that they will face.
Building capacity for school-based improvement: A Resource Book for TAMAM coaches- Forthcoming
The “TAMAM Resource Book” presents the TAMAM Capacity Building Program and makes it available as a resource for coaches who support schools that adopt the TAMAM vision and engage in building their leadership capacity for sustainable school-based improvement. It can also serve as a resource for practitioners, researchers and policy makers who want to be introduced to the TAMAM capacity building model. The TAMAM Capacity Building Program aims at building leadership capacity for sustainable school-based improvement at all levels and comprises of a job-embedded learning experience through which a team of practitioners acquire a set of leadership Competencies to lead school-based improvement.
The Resource book aims at providing university and school level coaches with the theoretical foundations of the program, its rationalized outcomes, and a general framework of its job-embedded learning experiences. It provides practical guidelines for potential coaches on how to engage school teams in the TAMAM Capacity Building Program. It includes 11 chapters that give an overview of the program, its foundations, as well as the role of coaches in training educational practitioners and building their capacity to lead sustainable school-based improvement. Moreover, the resource book gives an overview of the targeted learning outcomes and the job-embedded learning experience that the school teams go through as well as the coaching process that the coaches follow in training these teams. This resource book also highlights the tools available for coaches to manage the knowledge generated through the on-going action research throughout the implementation of the Capacity Building Program.
The Impact of TAMAM Capacity Building Program on Student Learning – forthcoming
The PST is working to develop a comprehensive understanding of the influence of TAMAM experience on student learning from the perspective of lead teams in TAMAM schools. The PST recruited a researcher to support the PST in researching the impact of TAMAM Capacity Building Program on student learning. The researcher supported by the PST prepared a proposal which has a three-fold purpose: 1) Identifying the influence of TAMAM experience on student learning, 2) Establishing a link between TAMAM’s Capacity Building Program and student learning, 3) Optimizing the TAMAM approach to promote student learning towards fulfilling the TAMAM student profile.
The PST is supporting a member in the research team from Oman Ministry of Higher Education Research & Innovation
and a graduate student in Sultan Qaboos University, in preparing for his Master thesis about the role of TAMAM project in building the capacity of school administrators in TAMAM schools to carry out their roles from their perspective and those of teachers. The thesis will work on evaluating the impact of the TAMAM project on the school administrators who participated in phase one and two of TAMAM project in Oman. The findings of the thesis shall inform the PST of the nature of this impact and hence will be useful for the research related activities of the project.