The basic topic of this research is to relate the quality of educational institutions with the practical exercise of pedagogical or educational leadership in such institutions. In keeping with this basic objective, it is presented to this Conference information and processed data on: the importance that the most representative and relevant members of education and educational institutions give to the dimensions and features that show the practical exercise of pedagogical leadership or education in such institutions.
The research question that arises on this research is the following one: based on the opinion of those involved in the quality of educational institutions, what is the degree of evidence of leadership exercised by the main professionals responsible for the functioning of such institutions, i.e heads of the institution, other members of the management team members and teachers?
The objective to which answer the presented information at this conference is to determine the vision of the exercise of educational leadership in educational institutions and, more specifically, the dimensions of such leadership in the professional sectors with the greatest impact on the quality of education and educational institutions.
Theoretical framework takes us to consider the precedents of the current movement for the quality of education and educational leadership, which include:
- The contributions of effective schools (Scheerens, 1992, Hallinger and Heck, 1998);
- The movement for the improvement of educational institutions (Hopkins and Lagerweig, 1997);
- The concern about school restructuring (Stoll and Fink, 1996).
Educational or pedagogical leadership plays a fundamental role as predictor of the quality of education and of institutions of this type. But the exercise of such leadership must be contemplated in different areas of intervention. “Leader is the person or group of people with the capacity to provoke the liberation, from within, of the existing energy in other human beings so that these, voluntarily, carry out the necessary effort to achieve, in the most effective and comfortable possible way, the goals that these same human beings have decided to achieve in order to promote their own dignity and the one of those with whom they live in a particular environment and context which they must take proper care on.
The social commitment of educational leadership is emphasized by Wrigley (2006) in the following terms: "Genuine school leader is more than a technical skill. It is first and foremost a social commitment, a determination to work for a better future" (p. 40). Educational leadership strongly appears as a fundamental factor of the quality of such educational institutions and education (Hallingery Heck, 2010, Marzano, Walters and McNulty, 2005, Sun and Leithwood, 2012). Fullan (2011) points out that when this shared institutional leadership is exercised in a solidary and non-punitive way, it tends to be carried out naturally and in a profitable way for the whole system.
This type of leadership must embody the following dimensions (Gento, 2002): charismatic, emotional or affective, anticipatory, professional, participatory, cultural and formative. The theoretical foundation of this work takes into account the literature referring to the quality of education, the quality of educational institutions, and leadership (especially the one referred to the exercise of it in educational institutions).
The paradigm or basic approach of the presented research corresponds to the eclectic or mixed type, according to the opinion of Hammersley (1966). Quantitative and qualitative techniques are used with the consequent instruments, as phases of the same continuum" (Ercikan & Roth, 2006, p. 14). To collect information on pedagogical or educational leadership, an instrument has been made up as a questionnaire-scale on 'educational leadership in educational institutions'. This instrument seeks to obtain detailed information on the given importance and on the evidence (achievement, existence, reality or effectiveness) of the dimensions of such leadership (Gento, S., 2001b; 2002). The data presented here refer to the information collected from the use of the questionnaire, applied to professionals and people involved in the operation of educational institutions. But the whole research includes other techniques, such as: semi-structured interviews, case studies and focus groups, whose data are not presented at this ECER Conference. To gather information on the topic have intervened undergraduate and graduate students, as well as university professors, supervisors or inspectors of education, heads of educational centres, parents and students of non-university education, non-university teachers and other professionals working in such institutions. To guarantee the scientific consistency of the questionnaire, it has been submitted to the following guarantees: The reliability of the questionnaire. To determine this, the corresponding alpha index (α) of Cronbach has been calculated (Thorndike, 2003). The value obtained has been 0.990. By dimensions, the one that obtains the highest index is the participative one (0.946) and the lowest is the charismatic one (0.882). Content validity or expert judgment. To this purpose, the opinion of university professors and experts from 11 countries in Europe and America has been obtained. Construct validity. To guarantee it, a number of authors of authority on scientific research, on the quality of education and on pedagogical or educational leadership have been consulted. Reactive validity. It has been obtained from the opinions of those who answered the questionnaire. The data collected shows that: 72.90 of the respondents consider that all aspects included in the questionnaire refer to leadership in educational institutions; 93.70% state that none of the contents of the questionnaire is unrelated to the topic of leadership in these educational institutions.
2,787 questionnaires have been received from different countries. Data referred to 1,751 instruments collected in Spain are presented at this Conference. 61.95% of the participants are women and 38.05% men. The majority of the participants (80.17%) come from public institutions; but others have also intervened from the subsidized private ones (16.35%) and of non-aided private ones (2.75%). The largest sector of participants is the one of professors/teachers (53.71%), followed by students of different levels (14.42%), heads of institutions (13.64%), parents or mothers of students (10.30%). teacher trainers (1.42%) and education inspectors or supervisors (0.50%). Other sectors are not identified. The processed data show that the importance of pedagogical leadership is higher to the evidence in the exercise of such leadership by the most relevant professional sectors, namely: heads or principals of institutions, other team managers of the same institutions and teachers. In an assessment rank of 1 to 9, it is estimated that the importance of this type of leadership (by the arithmetic mean) is 7.53, compared to evidence of 6.94. The maximum importance is given to the charismatic and emotional or affective dimensions (7.90). The following importance is given to participative (7.87), anticipatory (7.85), professional (7.75), administrative (7.72) and cultural (7.65) follow in importance. The highest evidence of the exercise of leadership dimensions is the emotional or affective (7.09), followed by the charismatic (7.06), professional (7.03), administrative (6.98), participatory (6.97)), anticipatory (6.96), formative (6.93), and cultural (6.82). The heads or principals of educational institutions show the greatest evidence on the exercise of leadership in the emotional or affective dimension (8.00); The remaining members of the management team exercise the emotional, professional and participatory dimensions to a greater extent (all with a mark of 7.89). Teachers seem to exercise their leadership in the charismatic dimension to a greater extent (7.85).
Álvarez Arregui, E. & Pérez Pérez, R. (2011). “Liderazgo educativo en los centros educativos de Asturias”. Bordón, 63 (3): 9-22. Branson, Ch.M. (2010). Leading Educational Change Wisely. Rotterdam (The Nederlands): Sense Publishers. Bueb, B. (2009). Von der Pflicht zu Führen. Berlin: Ullstein. Davies, B. (2013). “Rethinking Strategy and Strategic Leadership in Schools”. Educational Management and Administration, 31 (3), 295-312. De Pree, M. (1989). Leadership is an Art. New York: Bantam Doubleday. Ercikan, K. & Roth, W.M. (2006). “What good is polirizing research into qualitative and quantitative?” Educational Research, 35 (5): 14-23. Fullan, M (2011). “Leading system level change”. O’SULLIVAN, H. y WEST-BURNHAM, J. (Eds.). Leading and Managing Schools. London: SAGE, pp. 16-23. Gento, S. (Coord.) (2001b). La Institución Educativa. II Predictores de Calidad. Buenos Aires: Docencia. Gento, S. (2002). Instituciones Educativas para la Calidad Total. Madrid: La Muralla (3d. edition). Hallinger, P. & Heck, R.H. (1998). “Exploring the principals contribution to school effectiveness, 1980-1995”. School Effectiveness and School Impovement, 9 (2): 157-191. Hallinger, P. & Heck, R.H. (2010). “Collaborative leadership and school improvement: understanding the impact on school capacity and student learning”. School Leadership and Management, 9 (2): 157-191. Hammersley, M. (1966). “The relationship between qualitative and quantitative research: paradigm loyalty versus methodological eclecticism”. RICHARDSON, J.T.E. (Ed.). Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Psychology and Social Sciences. Leicester, UK: British Psychological Society Books, pp. 159-174 Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2006). Sustainable Ladership. San Francisco-Jossey-Bass. HargreaveS, A. & Goodson, I. (2005). “Preface”. En COLES, M.J. y SOUTHWORTH, H. G. (Editors). Developing Leadership. Maidenhead (UK): Open University Press, pp. XI-XIV. Hopkins, D. & Lagerweig, N. (1997). “La base de conocimientos de mejora de la escuela”. In Reynolds, L.D.et al. (Ed.) Las Escuelas Eficaces Claves para Mejorar la Enseñanza. Madrid: Santillana, pp. 71-101. Marzano, R.J., WalterS, T. & McNulty, B.A. (2005). “School leadership that Works: from research to results”. ALEXANDRIA, V.A. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: http://www.ascd.org/publications/book/105125.aspx. Scheerens, J. (1992). Effective Schooling. London: Cassell. Stoll, L. & Fink, D. (1996). Change in Schools. Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement. Buckingham: Open University. Sun, J. & leithwood, K. (2012). “Transformational school leadership. Effects on student achievement”. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 11 (4): 418-451. Thorndike, R. (2003). Medición y Evaluación en Psicología y Educación. México: Trillas. Wrigley, T. (2006). Another School is Possible. London: Bookmarks.
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