Educational Leadership and Learning: Practice, Policy and Research

Educational Leadership and Learning: Practice, Policy and Research

Educational Leadership and Learning: Practice, Policy and Research

Educational Leadership and Learning: Practice, Policy and Research

Synopsis

"While focusing particularly on schools and colleges, this book evaluates issues increasingly central to leadership in a variety of professional educational settings, for example, school improvement, innovation, teamwork, organizational culture, professional development, motivation and the nature of leadership. In identifying key concepts, it scrutinizes possible management strategies within a changing policy context that is increasingly focused around standards, accountability and reputation. The book utilizes research evidence to illuminate the practices, challenges and problems facing educationists and endeavours to overcome the perceived gap between practice and research to create an integrated approach to leadership and management development: one which both supports and stimulates managers' professional development aspirations." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Leaders team by leading and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles.
As weather shapes mountains, so problems make leaders.

(Bennis 1989: 37)

Exploring the context

A group of retired headteachers (all male and all of whom had taken up their first headship some two decades ago) were reminiscing ahout their appointments. One recalled that he had been appointed after touring the school, being given copies of two previous governors' reports, and 'sitting in on a very polite forty-minute interview'. Another recalled sitting in the secretary's office (which served as both waiting room and candidates' reception), only to hear her say on the phone to County Hall, 'yes … he's arrived and I think he's just what we are looking for', while a third recalled the interview panel asking him if he 'knew much about girls' (this being a mixed school) and 'could he cope with them?' Clearly some things have changed over the past twenty years!

While such 'traditional' practices undoubtedly remain in certain areas, the marketization of education over the past decade has ensured that candidates for senior education posts now often face very different challenges. Nowadays, aspiring organizational leaders need to demonstrate the professional competences deemed necessary to lead and manage complex organizations in a qunsi-market educational environment (Le Grand and Bartlett 1993), as well as articulate a clear philosophy as educational professionals. More problematically perhaps, they need to convince their appointing panel that they can reconcile the concepts of 'professionalism' and 'managerialism' — by integrating or at least harmonizing a 'leading professional' focus with the 'chief executive' role (Hughes 1972, 1988; Ribbins 1995). Overlying all of this, they need to show how they can 'live their rhetoric' during increasingly rigorous and sophisticated selection procedures.

England, among other industrialized Western countries, is in the midst of 'a phase of deep transition' (Ranson 1994), where incrementalism and the predictable gradualism of change — what Galbraith (1992) has described as 'the culture of contentment' — has been replaced by 'discontinuous change' (Handy 1989). The notion that Western society is moving into a postmodern age has become increasingly influential in the growing international literature on public service management in general (see, for example, Osborne . . .

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