School-based professional learning
School-based professional learning plays essential role in delivering the principal leadership values and roles to the students and educators. However, in discussing these values, it is essential to understand what this education is and how its quality is judged.
‘These schools have instructional leader principals who place an emphasis on high-quality instruction, high standards, data-gathering, and most importantly, collaboration, problem-solving, and teamwork. Their leadership cultivates a context in which the varied needs of all students can be met and amplified to high levels of performance’ (Dennis & Nenus, 1985)
In school-based professional learning leadership is seen through the strong backgrounds, and these backgrounds should be found in language, communication, as well as the educator’s extensive training and desire to work in a team, which will ultimately lead them to their being established as school based leaders. Thus, a leader in the school-based professional learning is the person who is capable of creating and working in a team constantly referring to the basic values of communication and educational roles.
The role of the school based professional learning is not only in delivering the required ‘messages’ to the learning audience, providing their effective studies, but is on creating the context in which school based leadership will be developed and confirmed. This context should be developed in connection with the basic work challenges.
BUILDING SCHOOL CULTURE
Any successful leader in education area should view his establishment through the holistic approach. This is the first step towards creating educational culture. The strong definition of culture in school environment and leadership is absent in literature. The synonyms which can be found for this word can be ‘climate’ or ‘ethos’. The origin of this meaning has come to education from corporate environment, with the idea that the presence of this notion in education will give direction for the development of leadership environment in school based professional learning. The argument as for the notion of culture is still relevant in literature.
School culture and its creation is mainly correlated with the attitudes of teachers towards their work and obligations. The better teachers are motivated, the stronger leadership culture is. (Young, 2007) In order to create or change the culture, it is essential for the school leader to understand the implications for building such culture in the specific environment. It will lead to viewing the principal ‘pillars’ on which this culture should be built.
‘Likewise, school artifacts such as the routines, ceremonies, rituals, traditions, myths, or subtle difference in school language can provide clues for how to approach cultural change. School artifacts change over time. A principal may decide to shorten time between classes only later to find out that this time was important for teacher interaction and unity’ (Vancleever ; Menefee, 2006)
The role of school based leader in this culture building is making the whole staff and audience understand that this culture is essential for the specific institution. The leader should work towards the development of the shared vision among his staff, this is one of pillars in building educational culture.
I. EDUCATIONAL WORKPLACE CHALLENGES
Workplace challenges are often encountered by employees which can be either positive or negative and can be demanding and in some cases, may cause boredom. If an employee lacks interest in his work, it usually means there is no positive challenges facing them and if one is using all their talent that leadership requires, then most certainly their job will lack boredom and be essentially, challenging.
II. MAJOR CHALLENGES FOR THE EDUCATIONAL WORKPLACE
There are a number of challenges facing employees in educational workplaces; affecting teaching and non-teaching staff. These challenges are common in all
A. Educational workplaces.
Large educational workplaces have unique challenges, which require different solutions as compared to small institutions and among these challenges encountered at educational workplaces are:
c) Sexual Harassment
d) Bullying and Intimidation
e) Training and Development Needs
f) Performance of Appraisal Needs
g) Cultural Differences
h) Equipment and Materials for Research
j) Team Work
l) Teaching Schedules
m) Reward and Recognition
n) Trade Unions
o) Political Intentions
p) Riots and Strikes
HIV/AIDS affects teaching staff, non-teaching staff, students and the community at large and each workplace is a setting where there are many individuals with different moral standards and motives; therefore proper education about HIV/AIDS should always be distributed. Failure in distribution will adversely affect institutions so all workplaces should be readily capable of providing safety measures such as consistently providing condoms in restrooms. When a teaching employee is affected by HIV/AIDS, absenteeism creeps in and other teaching schedules are subsequently affected and not only does this affect teaching employees but it also affects other staff members, as well and the teaching scheduled must be altered.
Educational workplaces include many people from diverse races. Academic staff, students and non-academic staff may sometimes portray racism. A person’s or group’s bias attitude toward others due to their skin color and ethnic origin defines racism. Racism may also be defined as racial offenses, expressions or acts depicted by those who treat individuals differently because of the color of their skin or because of their ethnic background and for individuals who come from diverse cultures, racism may take the following forms:
a. Verbal or written derogatory name-calling, jokes, remarks, gossip, insults and other offensive languages against one’s race.
b. One may cause others to commit racist acts. For example, a teaching staff inciting students because of their race.
c. Continual unfair allocation of duties and responsibilities to a person of particular race.
d. Withholding information or excluding one from meetings, social places such as swimming pools, play fields and libraries and any other public area.
e. Watching racist movies, offering racial slurs and making offensive remarks.
d. Educational workplaces should display a proper code of ethics, regarding racism.
If not properly handled, racism may lead to the resignation of teaching staff and students discontinuing their learning process.
D. Intimidation and Bullying
Bullying and intimidation are offensive acts that humiliate and frighten individuals. In the educational workplace, bullying is common for staff members as well as students; Bullying may take place between students or between a student and someone in the workplace. Bullying and intimidation include the following;
a. Threats, shouts, outbursts or open aggression
b. Invasion of personal property and space
c. Unreasonable setting of objectives and deadlines or abrupt change of objective
d. Use of derogatory language, remarks, insults, jokes, gossip and slander.
e. Taking credit for someone else’s work and avoiding blame.
f. Excluding individual from information, unjustifiably
g. Twisting someone’s statements
h. Threatening to report or take action, unjustifiably
i. Monitoring an individual’s work, unjustifiably
j. Pestering, spying or following an individual
k. Attempting to cause others to commit bullying or intimidating acts
All educational workplaces should display proper guidelines on how to deal with the above challenges since the workplace if often filled with many people with diverse beliefs, cultures and motives. Lack of a clear policy may lead to unrest, strikes or separation.
E. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is common in most educational workplaces and can be defined as an act of sexual discrimination. Sexual harassment is defined as uncalled for sexual comments or activities in learning, teaching, administration working or social situations and may involve individuals from unequal status in the workplace. The following contains examples of sexual harassment:
a. Unwelcomed gestures or physical contact
b. Suggestive gestures and comments, emphasizing gender
c. Requests of sexual favors
d. Displaying pornographic, degrading or indecent photos
e. Exclusion of one’s gender from a group discussion or meeting
f. Offering rewards for sexual favors
These are serious challenges that requires using proper procedures for reporting, investigating and handling. The procedures adopted should have the following features or principles:
a. Display intention of good faith
b. Allow confidentiality
c. Show fairness to both parties
d. Allow representation if the matter is serious
Educational workplaces posses unique challenges and some may lead to stress.
Stress can be defined as difficulties experienced while coping with pressures and demands. Stress in the educational workplace may arise because of the following:
a. Unfair allocation of work or work one is not able to handle
b. Bullying and intimidation
c. Sexual harassment
d. Poor reward and recognition policies
e. Lack of proper working or research tools and materials
f. Large classes
A policy should be implemented that aims to:
a. Promote participation, consultation and communication
b. Provide sufficient materials and tools for work
c. Encourage team work
d. Identify reasons that cause stress
F. Training and development:
Training is the process of demonstrating knowledge and skills to another in how complete a particular task while development is the improvement and growth of an individual’s faculties, attitudes, insights and traits and should be taken seriously by all management level or management trainees. Training and development offers unique challenges to the staff and to the institution. For the institution’s management, training and development needs, should be a huge concern since the educational workplace should have employees who have the highest level of education with the best qualifications. Challenges faced by staff relating in training and development may include:
a. Staff feeling degraded if trained with those who are not qualified
b. A person nearing retirement may view training as a waste of time
c. The subjects chosen may not suit certain staff members
In order for training to be effective the following should be considered,
a. Level in education of staff
b. Promotional needs of the staff members
c. Age of the individuals being trained
d. Cost and benefit analysis of training
G. Performance Appraisal
Performance appraisal is the process of assessing performance of the employees of an organization with the objective of identifying their potential and weaknesses. Performance appraisal helps to maintain and enhance productivity and show progress in working toward a firm’s goal. If performance appraisals are not properly implemented, many problems or challenges to employees may occur. The challenges or problems that may follow are:
a. Conflict between a supervisor and appraisal interviewee
b. Too many forms
c. Unclear appraisal standards
d. Managers not being sufficiently prepared
e. Failure of obtaining feedback
To solve the above problems, proper performance appraisals should be set in place and should and follow the following steps:
a. Know what you expect, concerning tasks and responsibilities that need to be carried out and include key result areas and critical elements as well as performance standards, objectives and assignments.
b. Observe job performance
c. Compare performance expectations and results
d. Develop a plan to improve performance results
e. Use progress or development interviews to motivate employees
f. Carry out development plans and evaluate results
After the above steps are followed, the performance appraisal program should offer the following objectives:
a. Optimizing strategic plans of the organization
b. Measuring one’s performance for purposes of compensation and employee development, promotion and disciplinary action
c. Incentives for one’s involvement
d. Staff planning, equipment acquisition and costing motivation
Motivation means drive that pushes individuals forward in finding satisfaction in the job they are working at and putting forth more effort and energy in the job they are working at. Motivation varies in nature and intensity from individual to individual and usually depends on individual needs. An educational workplace may demonstrate their expectations from the staff who are members and who may have the same salary, same level in employment and motivational needs, but these expectations may be wrong. This will pose a challenge to the employee who is not motivated by the benefits that are offered. The manager will know when an employee is motivated and will be seen when there is:
a. High performance
b. Energy, enthusiasm and determination
c. Willingness to accept responsibility or accommodation to change
d. Cooperation in overcoming problems
Motivation for institutional employees should offer a rewards and recognition policy. In order for to see optimized results the following should be set in place for individuals.
a. Setting clear standards
b. Recognition and reminders of what’s important and what the firm values is important and everyone should be aware of the standards, goals, principles and values.
c. Set Examples
d. Create a good atmosphere for work, celebrate team accomplishments, recognize
individual contributions, and creates confidence and support. A leader should get
personally involved in the recognition initiative.
e. Pay Attention. Leaders should pay attention and understand the significance of people’s actions and expect only the best. A leader should expect the people he is leading to produce their best work in order to achieve their full potential
f. Share stories. The stories told by leaders should always offer a message of encouragement
g. Celebrate together
Celebrating together as a group creates trust and strengthens relationships in the work place.
For rewards and recognition to have special meaning for staff members, awards should offer the following.
a. Use of persons name
b. Specific dedication for person to know why he being recognized
c. Public display of all awards
e. Timely Manner
If motivation is properly handled, employees will always be happy and the organization will retain their staff for longer time periods.
H. Equipment and Books
Educational workplaces require books and equipment such as computers, laboratory equipments, and agricultural equipments for all staff and students. If equipment is not adequate, the staff may be strained and this may cause unnecessary delays in lectures and work. Some workplaces may lack current books because of proper funding and this may pose a major challenge to the staff.
I. Cultural Differences
Educational workplaces often are filled with people from different cultures. Cultural beliefs influence human behaviors to a great extent and as cultures differ it often makes it difficult to design an environment that is conducive to performance and satisfaction. An example would be a colleague who believes that women should not expose their faces. This cultural diversity will often make it difficult for women to associate with individuals who may find difficulty in relating to them.
Cultural differences influences the following in educational workplaces
a. Mode of dressing
b. Food served; some people eat snakes and frogs while to others don’t
c. Associations in the institution
d. Language used
e. Team work
In any workplace, teamwork poses challenges to many people. This is because of attitudes, values beliefs and behavior. Some individuals may have bad attitude which may affect the goal being sought after by the team, thus affecting other group members. Others may exhibit behaviors that one may not wish to associate with. In order to find compatibility, educational workplaces should have working teamwork members who encourage all individuals to associate with others without consideration of their culture. Team work may result in positive consequences for competing teams and these instances may follow:
a. Team members becoming more close and displaying greater loyalty from its members and some members who are close in rank may bury some of their internal differences.
b. Team climate changes from informal, casual, playful and work and task oriented members as well, while concerns for member’s psychological needs decline while concern for task accomplishment is increased.
c. Leadership patterns tend to change from more democratic toward more autocratic while the team becomes more willing to tolerate autocratic leadership
Each team becomes more structured and organized
Each team demands more loyalty and conformity from its members in order to be able to present a “solid front”
What happens between competing team?
1. Each team begins to see the other teams as the enemy, rather than merely a neutral object.
2. Each team begins to experience distortions of perception and tends to perceive only the best outcomes while denying weakness and allows competing teams to perceive only negative assumptions of the other team members while denying their strengths, as each team is likely to develop a negative stereotype of the other such as saying, “They don’t play fair like we do.”
Hostility toward the other team increases while interaction and communication with the other team decreases, thus it becomes easier to maintain negative stereotypes and more difficult to correct perceptual distortions. If the teams are forced into interaction, for example, or if they are forced to listen to representatives pleading their own and the other’s causes, in reference to some task that each team, they are likely to listen more closely to their own representative and not to listen to the representative of the another’s team member, except to find fault with his presentation, in other words, team members tend to listen only for that which supports their own position and stereotype.
What happens to the winner?
a. Winners retains their confidence and may become even more cohesive
b. Winner tends to release more tension and become more casual and playful.
c. Winner lean towards higher intra-groups and display more cooperation and concern for other member’s needs.
d. Winners can become complacent and feel that winning has confirmed a positive stereotype and as the negative stereotypes of the “enemy” team, there is little basis for reevaluating perceptions or reexamining team operations, in order to learn how to improve them.
What happens to the loser?
1. If the situation permits some ambiguity in the decision (if judges have rendered it as a close game), there is a strong tendency for the loser to deny or distort the reality of losing and instead, the loser will find psychological escapes such as (the judges were biased) or (the judges did not really explain the rules of the game, clearly) or possibly they may think (if luck had not been against us at the one key point, we would have won,” and so on.
2. If loss is accepted, the losing team tends to splinter and as unresolved conflicts come to surface, fights may breaks out.
3. A losing team member is more tense and may be ready to work harder and may be desperate to find someone or something to blame their loss on. They may blame the team leader, the judges who decided against them or even the rules or the game. (The “lean and hungry” state).
4. A losing member may look for inter-group cooperation, have little concern for other team member’s needs or huge concern for recouping, by working harder.
5. A losing team member often learn a lot about themselves while working as a team, because positive and negative stereotypes of the other team are upset by their own loss, forcing a reevaluation of perceptions as a consequence and a losing member is more likely to reorganize their ideas and accept their loss more realistically.
In a workplace, funding a project that is viewed as personal is not easy. For example, funding research by one lecturer may be very difficult, although the outcome may benefit the institution and again, some projects may be very expensive and even the institution may not have the capacity to fund the project, therefore they may need external funding. Workplace funds may also be misused by staff members.
K. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
This becomes a challenge to both administrative and teaching staff. Recruitment and selection should always aim at being fair, reasonable and consistent; however some may view it as a challenge if their needs are not met. For example, some individuals may argue about gender equality, even when there are a small number of a certain gender have applied. In order to maintain efficient and successful educational workplace for the staff, there should be recruiting on merit and suitability without considering sex, race, disability, marital status, belief, age, color, religion, ethnic, sexual orientation or national origin or any other factor which is justifiable. In order to attain a well equipped staff, the personnel department will be faced with the following challenges:
a. Establishing the need for recruitment
b. A proper human resource planning policy should be in place to establish
new vacancies and old vacancies when required. This will be completed by examining the current structure and work distribution.
c. The selection process
d. Proper process should be used in selecting workers for an institution and
should always be fair.
e. Retention of staff.
Retaining recruited staff in an organization can be very challenging if proper remuneration and motivational procedure is not used.
L. LEADERSHIP FOR SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL REFORM
The teacher or leader is vital for successful school reform. Let us analyze the traditional leadership.
Leadership is defined as the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of organizations of which there are members. Leadership impacts the effectiveness of costs, revenue generation, services, satisfaction, earnings, market value, motivation, engagement and sustainability. Leadership is also ability of an individual to set example and lead from the front.
A. Types of Leadership
One can categorize leadership as actual or potential. Actual Leadership is the guidance or direction which provides satisfaction for members under their guidance. This type of leadership can be through occupation of an office or be used in a position of authority and may include the president of a country, the chairman of a society of a group or a leader of any group. Even some managers who may not have good qualities of a leader may find themselves in leadership positions.
Potential Leadership is the ability or capacity to lead and possess leadership abilities. This type of leadership is not accrued from the position one is occupying but from his natural qualities. People follow this type of leader because of their ideas or position in society. An example of a potential leader is Bill Gates. Leadership can have an aspect of being formal or informal. There are several types of entities that may provide leadership in terms of actual or potential:
1 A person in position or office of authority such as a chairman or prime minister.
2 A person in position or office associated with expertise, skill or experience such as a facilitator.
3 A group or person in the vanguard of some movement, as in fashion or trendsetters.
4 A product that influences other products.
Leadership can come from an individual or a collection of group leaders, while other instances of leadership offer mild leading skills, such as inspirational leaders.
a. Qualities of Good Leadership:
Most scholars have listed the following as qualities of good leadership:-
1 Guiding others through example. A leader guides his members by offering themselves as an example of doing what he is telling others to do. Good qualities are normally exhibited by church leaders, school teachers and some ministers or state officials.
2 Having specific skills in the subject he is leading others to follow. This type of quality is normally demonstrated in leadership of professionals. Examples are lead engineers and those who manage road construction and surgeons.
3 Result oriented. Leadership should always be result oriented. No person will lead a group knowing it will end with bad results.
4 With a clear vision, purpose, goals and commitment. A leader should know where he is leading his people to and what they are supposed to achieve at the end of the day. When a leader knows where he is going, he commits his time and his group to achieving their goals.
5 Ability to encourage others through delegation. A leader should have the ability to share his responsibilities with the others in the group. The head teacher of the school should be able to share responsibilities with his fellow teachers.
6 Ability to have self-knowledge. A school teacher who is the head of a school should have faith in himself and faith in the school curriculum.
7 Listening and understanding others. In order for school leadership to succeed, the head teacher should be able to listen to his fellow teachers, pupils, parents and the community at large. He should be capable of understanding other people’s problems.
8 Ability to choose winners and losers. The head of a school should have the ability to choose losers and winners without fear. This will enable the school to have the best results.
b. Leadership Styles:
Outstanding leaders have the following styles of leadership:
1 Vision: – Outstanding leaders articulate the ideology of vision in his leadership styles and should have a moral right to lead. He should also strive to achieve the vision he teaches.
2 Self sacrifice: – Leaders should have a strong conviction of what they regard as correct. They should complete their work regardless of fear of the end result. An example of this type of leadership is Nelson Mandela.
3 Determination, persistence and confidence: – Leaders should have faith in themselves, persistence to the goals they want to achieve and the leader of the school should always strive to achieve high goals for their school, displaying confidence without ceasing to perform his duties.
4 Image building: – Leaders should have good image and be trustworthy, competent and credible to the people he is leading. A school leader should set a good example for the school and should not be a person of poor reputation. This leader should represent the school to the outside world, offering them a good image.
5 External representation: – The leader should have the ability to proudly represent his members to the outside world.
From the role of a traditional leader, teaching leaders should be defined as the leaders who assists people and help them to understand themselves and their world and to overcome the oppressive conditions that characterize work patterns and social relationships.
Educational leaders assist in cultural transformations which aids in social injustice and disadvantages and they further assist in creating reliable citizens and unlike traditional leaders, economical and political correctness, corporatism does not affect him. For a school to be run effectively, school leadership should not practice manipulation of politics but have responsibilities that are shared by the entire community.
c. The Role of facilitators
The Project Facilitator
In the project of leadership for successful school reform, we had a parallel leader who can also be called a transformational leader. The leader for the project was project facilitator and the role of project facilitator in school reform is to:
Initiate the project. In initiating the project, the facilitator who records or appoints a person is responsible for recording the project details as it proceeds and the history project were required to be recorded. The project facilitator also must manage the project and take on the role as a manager of any firm play. Among other roles that was played out include were:
· Administrate throughout the project
· Lead throughout the project.
· Manage the proper usage of projects funds.
· Control the project. throughout.
· Management of change
The project involves teaching school staff about the importance of the project to avoid scenarios of resistance to change, in school administration, thus acting as an agent of change. The project required critical analysis of survey data and the facilitator analyzed and interpreted data and authorized all recording.
The project facilitator further arranged seminars and forums so that teachers could share experiences.
Another role for the project facilitator was to act as an adventurer while he discovers new activities for his team members. Throughout the project, he discovers successful events and leads the team toward success. He also avoids failure and opts for a more successful path.
In the project, a number of actions failed but as a facilitator the leader finally leads his team to discover what they can do in order for their acts to be successful.
The project facilitator further acts as an activist by nature. He must be capable of initiating plans and advising the school staff of its decisions, delivered by the school project facilitators. He ensures that the school process has adopted the project aims and that their school becomes successful.
The project facilitator ensures that the project has been sustained by ensuring the final success of the project. He also monitors the progress of the project and discovers what new ideas can be added in carrying out successful practices in schools.
d. The traditional facilitator:
Facilitators are project leaders and their leadership is normally centralized around specific ideas and they are the major decision makers in the project management. Facilitators leaders in innovation also focus on the system as they help in nurturing new leaders, and they maintain communication between the funding organization in the project and the project management. I can draw the following distinction between leadership and facilitation.
1 Facilitators administer while world leaders innovate.
2 Facilitators ask “How and when” while leaders ask “
What and why.”
3 Facilitators do things right while leaders do the right thing
4 Facilitators rely on control while leaders rely on trust.
5 Facilitators maintain while leaders lead
6 Facilitators focus on the system while leaders focus on the people
Critical Evaluation of Conceptualization
Critical evaluation of conceptualization is good and has the following advantages:
· Hold the same advantages as authoritative leadership of a traditional leader but holds some respect of qualitative leadership.
· The concept shows that schools can be transformed with proper school reforms.
· The teacher leader is also viewed as a professional as their counterpart in industrial counterparts.
· It shows that the teacher leader is leading in transforming the society and continually demonstrates that there is a correlation between social injustice and politics.
· It further shows that education is a field like any other field and it requires a proper model that is responsive to societies changes.
Critical evaluation is the process that involves completing historical, empirical, public and social work by using theories of justice that requires serious commitment, persistency, courage, conscience and conviction in order to restructure a social system. Evaluation involves inescapable ethics of public and special responsibilities that extend beyond democracy and other social systems. It should serve the interests of stakeholders, sponsors and the community at large. Critical evaluation in educational system began in the early 80’s, in America while moral aspects were evaluated. Critical evaluation, political evaluation, social evaluation, and science evaluation are utilized. While evaluating the education system, in America, social justice and education were considered by an evaluator who evaluates and grades the system.
M. LIMITATIONS OF CRITICAL EVALUATIONS
Critical evaluation is a social evaluation and one can not forget to evaluate social, political, economic and cultural interest. In order for one to understand public education, the social culture and political relationship must be evaluated. In order to realize proper reformed public education, fighting social injustice in educational system is not necessary. Some of the children are at a disadvantage because of their race, skin color their origin. We must first examine the historical nature of the problems in the education and the community system.
A number of assumptions have been made by most scalars regarding the consequences of critical evaluation in the education system. There is also a reluctance to comfort the issue of power, democracy, in equality, ethics, politics and pragmatics in educational research, evaluation, and social science.
The limitations of critical evaluations:
1. May serve the interest of a particular set of social and political values.
2. May be carried out with biasness.
3. If not properly carried out, may not be accepted by the American public.
4. Normally demonstrate an interest of some theoretic
N. SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND DISTRIBUTION OF EDUCATION.
In distribution of social services, social justice is necessary. In the eyes of the public people may view any political system by the manner they distribute social services and goods. Education is one of the social services that any government distributes to their people and the policy employed is very important. Any inequality in the distribution of its goods may bring public disapproval. Social justice in one of most important values of society and is necessary when carrying out critical evaluation on education reform. In order to fight this injustice, an open and purposeful discourse about social justice in educational reform is necessary. Through using public intellectuals, such as social scientists, educational researchers, evaluators and practitioners. While fighting social injustice in the educational system, the moral complexity and political nature will not be forgotten.
The challenges for the future should be diplomatic while using political solutions in analyzing public and private schooling. Political honesty should be another key factor in fighting social injustice in the educational system.
O. POLITICAL FACTOR AND EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
In evaluating the educational system, political theories are very important when analyzing the social injustice in the educational system. The value of social justice is affected by policies which are made by politicians. Therefore, political theory in critical evaluation can be defined as the implicit and explicit social and professional ethics of evaluation, and the moral and political consequences of these ethics. At one time, a task force was formed to analyze the political factor in educational system and it was found that all educational disciplines were affected by human conditions, especially those conditions of inequalities in public institutions.
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