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.
Act, E. S. S. (2015). Pub. L. No. 114-95. In 114th Congress. Blitz, M. H., & Modeste, M. (2015). The differences across distributed leadership practices by school position according to the CALL. Leadership and Policy in Schools. Bowers, A. J., et al (2017). How leaders agree with teachers in schools on measures of leadership practice. Teachers College Record. Danish Ministry of Education. (2014). Improving the public school–overview of reform of standards in the Danish public school. Herrenkohl, L. R. (2008). Sociocultural theory as a lens to understand organizational learning. American Journal of Education. Huber, G. P. (1991). Organizational learning: The contributing processes and the literatures. Organization science. Knapp, M. S. (2008). How can organizational and sociocultural learning theories shed light on district instructional reform? American Journal of Education. Levitt, B., & March, J. G. (1988). Organizational learning. Annual review of sociology Min, S., et al. (2016). Heeding the CALL. Journal of Educational Administration. Modeste, M. E., et al. (2018). School leadership practice across international policy contexts. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, Spillane, J. P., Halverson, R., & Diamond, J. B. (2001). Investigating school leadership practice. Educational researcher.
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