Every institution needs to have a clear idea of what end result it should aim to work towards. In case of a school, this is even more critical, since education is a normative activity. This means it is important that the actors need to have a vision, towards which the school (and support institutions) needs to work towards
Many times, the vision of the institution are perhaps only the vision of the leader and not of others in the team. Such visions are ineffective, since they do not elicit the commitment of the team.
This is often the case where hierarchy is very strong, the vision may be pushed 'top-down' in which the role of the teachers is only to 'implement' what is already decided by others as the vision. Israel Scheffler discusses how the teacher is often seen as a 'minor technician' whose job is only to implement what others have already designed.
In case of education, it is very important that every teacher has a sense of her/his personal vision and merely borrowing or implementing the vision of another person, however capable or great that person may be, is not of much use. Education is often seen as 'the practice of freedom' or the practice or learning of democracy and these require that each and every teacher needs to reflect deeply on his/her own ideas and ideals with regard to education and the school.
Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline has 'shared visioning as the third discipline. Individuals need to develop their own individual visions and the dialectic amongst these visions can help evolve a shared vision, in which each person has a personal deep connection.
Peoples' propensity to change
It is naïve to believe all will subscribe at a point in time, in any situation, there would be 1. Pioneers, 2. Early adopters 4. Late adopters (want to wait and watch) and 5. Do not adopt
For shared vision to emerge, it needs to meet the needs of a critical mass of people. This depends on "d" (degree of dissatisfaction) and "v" (vision) "fs" (first steps) -
Kai Ming Cheng in his article on School Vision' discusses visions of a few school head masters he has met, and analyses these visions.
He feels that it is essential that every school HM must have a vision of what the school can be.
Criticism of 'school visioning
Michael Fullan is critical of school visioning and feels it can be a distraction. He argues that shared vision needs to be seen more as an outcome than as a prior requirement for school improvement.