Educative Leadership: A Practical Theory for New Administrators and Managers

Educative Leadership: A Practical Theory for New Administrators and Managers

Educative Leadership: A Practical Theory for New Administrators and Managers

Educative Leadership: A Practical Theory for New Administrators and Managers

Synopsis

This work aims to respond to the international problem defined by the US National Commission of Excellence in Educational Administration, that the field of educational administration lacks "good definition", and reports on a collaborative process which produced a practical theory on the subject.

Excerpt

P.A. Duignan and R.J.S. Macpherson

It was not by accident that the first of the eight major recommendations of the National Commission for Excellence in Educational Administration (1987) in the United States of America was that educational leadership should be redefined. As the Commission evaluated the quality of educational leadership in the USA, it became particularly troubled by the absence of conceptual clarity throughout the field of what constituted 'good' educational leadership. And while the Commission courageously offered remedial strategies-a National Policy Board, the remodelling and dramatic rationalisation of preparatory programs, the equalisation of selection outcomes, the establishment of grounded and recurrent education for administrators, and new 'licensure programs' for neophytes-it ended its work by again posing the basic question: what is 'good' or 'excellent' educational leadership?

The Educative Leadership Project (ELP) was mounted in 1986 by the editors and three state education systems in Australia to attend to this very question. Hence, while the ELP processes and findings outlined in this chapter must be understood in terms of their Australian context, and therefore used elsewhere with caution, they offer an approach whereby different yet sociopolitically specific answers to the Commission's basic question could be generated.

It must also be understood that the ELP strategy and findings reflect a research design based on a set of assumptions held by the co-directors of the project (the co-authors of this chapter). The first assumption was that the wisest approach to leadership in education should be educative in intent and outcome. Another was that theory-building about educative leadership should come after new syntheses of experience, research and theory on major dilemmas of leadership had been generated afresh and tested through in-service activities and analysis by postgraduate students.

A third precept was that the most trustworthy base for theory-building about educative leadership was the refined collective wisdom of specialist theorists and exemplary practitioners. A fourth precept was that if the practical and theoretical products of the ELP were to be valued and applied widely the project would require substantial support from education systems and should

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