26 SES 14 A, Leadership Distribution in Collaboration and Performance
The idea of distributed leadership or involving many people in leadership activities is heatedly discussed by scholars. One of the advocates of distributed leadership Harris (2008) describes it as restructuring school leadership and giving more leadership to teachers. However, Spillane et al. (2011) argue that distributed leadership is a framework for analysing leadership, in order to see how leadership practice is stretched over multiple leaders. Much research has been conducted into distributed leadership; however, major studies have mainly been carried out within such countries as the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada (Heikka et al., 2013).
What does distributed leadership practice look like in Kazakhstan? Do teachers and senior leaders believe into the potential of leadership distribution? This paper shares findings of a case study that explored distributed leadership in Kazakhstan.
‘Bolashak’ secondary school was chosen as a case for the research. The school serves the Aktobe province, and is situated in the city of Aktobe, Kazakhstan. The design capacity of the school now is around 400 students, and it caters for students aged 10-17 years. The school employs around 52 teachers, is run by a female principal and 3 deputy heads. ‘Bolashak’ is a high performing school which received national recognition for its academic excellence. It is acknowledged in the city as one of the best schools, and has recently achieved ‘The best school-innovator’ award. In 2010 the school was included in the encyclopaedia of ‘Best people in Kazakhstan’
The purpose of the study was to find out teachers` understanding of distributed leadership and reveal what distribution looks like in practice in the school
The rationale for interest in this topic and case is twofold. First, as ‘Bolashak’ School has been outstanding for the last decade, people wonder about the secrets of such high performance. Second, the absence of any studies on distributed leadership in Kazakhstani schools presses us to explore realms and potentials of distributed leadership practice in Kazakhstan, and the ‘Bolashak’ School is a typical example of a state secondary school.
This research aims to explore the nature of distributed leadership practiced by the teachers and senior leaders` in ‘Bolashak’ School and to find out teachers and senior leaders` understanding of distributed leadership and reveal what distribution looks like in practice in the school. The aim is also to consider how these findings affirm or contradict previous conceptualisations of distributed leadership in international context.
The research attempted to answer the following questions:
• How is distributed leadership perceived by teachers and senior leaders?
• How is distributed leadership practiced and what patterns of distribution can be traced in this school?
In the analysis, the researcher drew upon concepts from previous research. These concepts involved arrangements and aspects of leadership distribution as suggested by Spillane (2006), MacBeath`s (2009) model of leadership distribution, Harris`s (cited by Leithwood et al., 2009b) decisional and consultative distribution , and other concepts. It may be concluded that some of the findings affirm those of previous scholars, whereas some of them contradict previous findings. This paper calls for further research into the degree of coordination between multiple leaders in distributed leadership in Kazakhstani schools, employing one more method-observation or shadowing
Anderson, S., Moore, S., and Sun, J. (2009) ‘Positioning the principals in patterns of school leadership distribution’, in Leithwood, K., Mascall, B. and Strauss, T. (eds.) Distributed Leadership According to the Evidence. London: Routledge, pp.11-136. Barnett, K. and McCormick, J. (2012) ‘Leadership and team dynamics in senior executive leadership teams’. Educational Management Administration and Leadership 40(6): 653-671. Briggs, A., Coleman, M., and Morrison, M. (eds.) Research Methods in Educational Leadership and Management (3rd edn). London: Sage. pp. 75-89. Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. (2000) Research Methods in Education. (5th edn). Abingdon:RoutledgeFalmer. Denscombe, M. (2007) The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects, New York: Open University Press. Gronn, P. (2000) ‘Distributed properties: A new architecture for leadership’. Educational Management and Administration 28(3):317-338. Harris, A. (2008) Distributed School leadership: Developing Tomorrow`s Leaders. London: Routledge. Heikka, J., Waniganayake, M. and Hujala, E. (2013) ‘Contextualizing distributed leadership within early childhood education: current understandings, research evidence and future challenges’. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership 41(1):30-44. Kvale, S. (1996) InterViews: an Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. London:Sage. Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., and Strauss, T. (2009a) ‘New perspectives on an old idea: a short history of the old idea’, in Leithwood, K., Mascall, B. and Strauss, T.(eds.) Distributed Leadership According to the Evidence. London: Routledge. pp. 1-14. MacBeath, J. (2009) ‘Distributed leadership: paradigms, policy and paradox’, in Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., and Strauss, T. (eds.) Distributed Leadership According to the Evidence. London: Routledge, pp. 41-57. Spillane, J.P. and Diamond, J., B. (2007) Distributed Leadership in Practice. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. Woods, Ph., A. (2004) ‘Democratic leadership: drawing distinctions with distributed leadership’. International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice 7 (1:3-26).
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