A 2008 report by Avney Rosha, the Israeli National Institute of School Leadership, to the Ministry of Education (MOE), outlined and redefined the principal’s role as a pedagogical leader. Among the expected outcomes from school principals at the start of their career is the professional development of the school staff.
This paper will introduce a model of in-service professional development applied in the Israeli Education system: The Pedagogical Flexibility in Teachers’ Professional Development. This model has been applied and administered in Israeli schools by school principals recently.
In addition, this paper will illuminate the two state reforms operating in the Israeli education system, which constitute one of the contexts in which principals work. It will be argued that among the plethora tasks school principals are in charge of, this task is less prioritised.
Furthermore, it will be argued that implementing the model in the contexts in which Israeli schools operate, the education reforms and school practices limit the principal’s potential to maximise the benefits of this model, despite its significance to promote school outcomes.
We live in an era of turbulence, constant change and uncertainty about the future. Education systems rethink and recalculate their strategies, introducing large-scale reforms aiming at meeting the state’s future needs. In this global context a revised model of teachers’ PD, the pedagogical flexibility in teachers’ PD, was introduced to the Israeli education system. The model adheres to the “new paradigm” researchers have been calling for, yet the implementation of the model has not proved to yield the expected outcomes. School principals who are in charge of administering the model do not seem to attend to it fully for a variety of reasons discussed in this article.
It is concluded that conditions have not matured yet for Israeli school principals to prioritise PD over all other multifaceted tasks and challenges they face. The Ministry of Education (MOE) that declares increased autonomy to schools and demands measurable outcomes regardless of school’s contexts, delivers a clear message to school principals about what really counts. This clear gap between declared ideology and actual practice is the complex reality in which school principals in Israel have to function, hindering the principal from initiating change and from responding to the school’s local needs. The MOE is accountable for developing and empowering the educational leadership in the country.
The establishment of Avney Rosha, the national centre for school leadership, in 2007, is a milestone in the right direction of growing a new generation of school leadership in Israel.