Phil Quirke & Steve Allison


All too often in educational management we see quality teaching struggle against administrative and paperwork constraints. This paper looks at a management policy that keeps the teaching and learning processes at the core of the institution. We believe that students and learning are at the heart of everything we do in ELT, and therefore teachers, those closest to both students and learning must be the engine of educational management.

DREAM Management is a series of principles which keep teaching and learning at the heart of education. This short paper is based on Phil's ten years of experience in ELT management and the mentoring discussions the two of us have had over the last year. It reflects the beliefs we attempt to live and work by in our day-to-day management life.

Delegate and Develop
Recruit and Respect
Enhance and Enjoy
Appraise and Attend
Motivate and Mimic

We DELEGATE responsibility to staff so that they can do their job. This means avoiding a top-down approach, involving teachers in every aspect of the institution's work and allowing them to take responsibility for the areas they are interested in, for example through Action Learning & Research Groups.
We DEVELOP staff by promoting research and reflective working practices.
We RECRUIT staff that fit our team's ethos and approach.
We RESPECT staff as professionals by allowing them to do the job we have recruited them for. This refers to how we, as managers, appreciate the professional standing of our employees and rely fully on their input in their areas of expertise.
We ENHANCE staff skills based on their annual appraisals based on a portfolio system that allows teachers to drive their development.
We ENJOY working with those around us and show it. This is the central letter of DREAM and the central theme of DREAM management. It emphasises the belief that a happy staff creates the environment that is most conducive to effective learning for our students.
We APPRAISE staff, not evaluate them. This focuses on the development of our staff. Don't criticize every move, but appraise through constructive and formative approaches.
We ATTEND to the details which affect the day-to-day jobs of the teachers.
We MOTIVATE staff by supporting them in every way we can. We motivate by not asking teachers to do something that we are not prepared to do, which I call mimic for the purposes of this acronym.
We MIMIC staff by never asking them to do something we wouldn't do ourselves and demonstrating that continually. Educational managers should teach alongside their faculty, provide cover as they expect their teachers to cover and be available at the same hours that they expect teachers to be on-site. This provides the key to DREAM management.

In effect the philosophy reads most coherently when we read it as follows:
DEVELOP and back to ENHANCE so we can continue the cycle again.

If we follow these management principles, we should give ourselves more time to lead effectively. By taking Covey's Time Management Matrix (Seven Habits by S.Covey: pg. 151), we can graphically demonstrate how this works:

More Management
Less Management





Quadrant I








Quadrant II
Proactive Leadership








l K K K K

Less Leadership Quadrant III


Quadrant IV


As a management / leadership matrix model, there has to be (by definition) room in which the management aspects have the capacity to take place. Following Covey's lead we wish to create more opportunties for leadership, Quadrant II. We do this by making our Management practices more effective and reducing the time spent on management issues in Quadrants I, III and IV.

This, then, should leave us time to spend on the leadership issues that Covey suggests are so essential to good leadership and which allow us, for example, to define the ethos and approach discussed under Recruit. In time we would like to see Quadrant II developed under a DREAM Leadership heading which could match Covey's 7 Habits:
HABIT 1: Be Proactive
HABIT 2: Set a Personal Mission Statement (Begin with the end in mind)
HABIT 3: Prioritise by Using your Organiser Effectively (Put First Things First)
HABIT 4: Think Win / Win
HABIT 5: Active (Emphatic) Listening (Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood)
HABIT 6: Synergise - Value the Differences
HABIT 7: Professional & Personal Development - Learn, Commit, Do (Sharpen the Saw)

At the recent TESOLArabia Conference 2004 during a presentation on DREAM Management, one teacher offered that the principles only apply to managers and suggested the following five principles for the role of teachers within a DREAM Management framework:

Discuss and communicate openly
Reflect on your classroom practice and job
Enjoy alongside your colleagues
Activate your ideas through Action Learning and Research
Move with the times and towards your management by being proactive

This simple acronym provides us with a powerful set of principles, and this paper will be continued over the coming months with practical examples of how they work through links to the key words above. It is a tried and tested formula that works.