26 SES 01 A, Social Capital, Agency and Learning Communities
Leaning on the seminal work of Thomas B. Greenfield, we argue that deliberations in ‘educational administration’ should capture the experience of ‘doing’ leadership as a practical activity in a complex organisation (Eacott, 2010); a need amplified further in the specific area of leadership preparation and development. This paper, therefore, argues for a particular fusion of theory, and research able to inform principal preparation and development processes that are grounded in the day-to-day realities of schools.For this purpose, the paper examines theories of organization that have prompted our understanding of schools as complex, social worlds and the practice of leadership that seems to be required in such environments. Specifically, we adopt three separate but interrelated lenses that have sharpened our understandings of organisational complexity, namely, social constructivism (Greenfield, 1986), micro-political theory (Ball, 187; Blase, 1991) and complexity theory (Morrison, 2002). These three foundational theories promote the view that schools are disorderly, complex, chaotic and unpredictable environments and these are the realities that school leaders need to contend with on a day-to-day basis. Contiguously, we also argue that reality is a function of personal interaction and perception. As such, it is a highly subjective phenomenon needing interpretation. This interpretive perspective further asserts that the subjective dimension is at the core of what leaders do in their decision-making, interrelating and communication. It follows, therefore, that meanings of events and phenomena should be investigated from the subjects’ perspectives. In sum, the paper argues that a combination of those organizational theories acknowledging schools as complex social worlds and an interpretive approach to researching the complexity of principals’ work is beneficial for informing processes of preparation and development for school leadership that are grounded in the day-to-day realities of schools. Accordingly, a major consideration of the paper consists of an exposition of a conceptual framework we have formulated from our research comprising five focal points. The framework can be used as a heuristic tool for exploring the realities of the principal’s world (as well as that of other school leaders) and connecting with the professional knowledge, skills and dispositions that are required to perform their work effectively in contemporary educational environments.
Ball, S. J. (1987). The Micro-Politics of the School. London: Methuen. Blase, J. (1991). The Micro Political Perspective. In J. Blase (Ed.). The Politics of Life in Schools. Power, Conflict, and Cooperation. (pp. 1-18). Newbury Park: Sage. Clarke, S. & Wildy, H. Preparing for principalship from the crucible of experience: Reflecting on theory, practice and research. Journal of Educational Administration and History.41 (1) 1-16. Eacott, S. (2010). Studying school leadership practice: A methodological discussion. Issues in Educational Research. 20 (3) 220-231. Greenfield, T. B. (1986). The decline and fall of science in educational administration. In A. Westoby, A. (1988). (Ed.). Culture and Power in Educational Organisations. (pp. 115-141). Open University Press: Milton Keynes. Harris, C. (2003). The naked participant; Balancing personal perspectives with the concept of ‘verstehen’ in interpretive inquiry. In R. B. Macmillan (Ed.). Questioning Leadership. The Greenfield Legacy. pp. 117-144. Winnnepeg: The Althouse Press. Morrison, K. (2002). School Leadership and Complexity Theory. London: Routledge Falmer.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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