01 SES 03 C, Distributed Leadership and Schools as Learning Organizations – Conceptual Issues in Crossing National Boundaries While Linking Practice to Theory
Recent scholarship in the area of educational leadership has examined the impact a person’s organizational role in a school (teacher or school leader) may have on various aspects of instructional leadership practice. In this line of inquiry, scholars have found that teachers and school leaders (e.g. principals, and assistant principals) have different perceptions of the types of leadership practices occurring in their schools, as well as the depth at which these practices are occurring (See e.g., Blitz & Modeste, 2015; Bowers, Blitz, Modeste, Salisbury, & Halverson, 2017). Scholars have recently examined the nature of instructional collaboration between school leaders and teachers, and found a significant relationship between the work that school leaders take up, and the degree of instructional collaboration (between teachers and leaders) occurring within those schools (Min, Modeste, Salisbury & Goff, 2016). Still, we lack a conceptual framework that illustrates and articulates the relationship between leadership tasks, practices, and work distributed in schools, which school-based educators (i.e.leaders, teachers, pædagogs, and other personnel) engage in every day, together with the opportunities to engage a system of mechanisms that augment the quality of professional learning in schools. Given the transnational policy environment under which public school systems are increasingly operating (See e.g., The Danish Ministry of Education, 2014; Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) P.L. 114-95), with a raft of initiatives centered on learning, instruction, and leadership in schools, scholars have been focused on better understanding the problems of practice that face educators today. Transnational, comparative analysis provides scholars an opportunity to examine each national context in relief and thereby gain a deeper understanding of their respective contexts (See e.g., Modeste, Hornskov, Bjerg, & Kelley, 2018). In addition, comparative analyses offer an opportunity to develop and apply conceptual and theoretical frameworks of the theories, concepts, and relationships at work throughout a given phenomenon of scholarly inquiry. In this paper, we will examine the dimensions of three frameworks used in educational leadership scholarship – (1) distributed leadership (Spillane, Halverson, & Diamond; 2001, 2004), (2) organizational learning (Levitt & March, 1988; Huber, 1991), and (3) socio-cultural learning theory (Knapp, 2008; Herrenkohl, 2008) – towards the development of a framework that describes and presents the nature of teacher and staff leadership practice in schools along with the organizational structures and learning processes that support professional learning and instructional leadership work in schools.
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