NW 26: Educational leadership during and beyond the pandemic

Network
NW 26 Educational Leadership

Title
Educational leadership during and beyond the pandemic

Abstract
In this call for a symposium, we are asking participants to do two things. Firstly, to reflect on the experiences of educational leaders across the world as they responded to the impacts of the pandemic on education. Secondly, to consider the time beyond the pandemic, to think about how educational leadership is likely to be changed and explicate areas of potential for reimagining educational leadership in a post-COVID world. It is anticipated that participants will come from across Europe, and from several countries outside of Europe.

The Call
There has been a surge in research about responses to the pandemic with special journal issues produced (e.g. International Studies in Educational Administration, Journal of Professional Capital and Community), reconfigured books (Netolicky, 2022), and many individual articles of empirical research (e.g. Huber, 2020; Longmuir, 2021) and opinion (e.g. Gurr, in press; Harris and Jones, 2020). In this call for a symposium, we are asking participants to follow a similar line of inquiry by:

  1. reflecting on the experiences of educational leaders across the world as they responded to the impacts of the pandemic on education, and
  2. considering the time beyond the pandemic and reflecting on how educational leadership is likely to be changed and to take the opportunity to reimagine educational leadership.

The pandemic has caused the most widespread and global disruption to education ever. While the response of different education systems to the pandemic context has differed, many common elements are evident. The introduction of public health measures to protect students and teachers, resulting in partial or full school closure of physical schools and movement, where possible, to online/virtual/remote forms of teaching and learning. Examining how leaders responded to the emergent, disruptive and uncertain contexts provides a unique insight into the ‘doing’ of school leadership. This call seeks to understand these practices in order to identify how the crisis shaped the leader and what we can learn from this practice for future explorations of leadership.

We are also interested in education beyond the pandemic and want to consider this in two ways.

Firstly, how is educational leadership likely to be changed in the near future?

Secondly, and in the more distant future, how might we take the opportunity to reimagine educational leadership.?

There is no guarantee that education broadly, and educational leadership in particular, will change substantially. However, it might, and beyond this, there is perhaps an opportunity to be more activist and consider more desirable futures, with schools that succeed for a far greater number of students in a much broader range of domains of learning. A focus on rebuilding education in a post-COVID world creates a set of circumstances to ‘take on’ the broad and diverse range of critiques over decades that have pointed to glaring fault lines and cracks that have never really been dealt with to any significant degree in all education systems (e.g. Boyle et al., 2020; Giroux, 2019; Graham, 2020; Mac Ruairc, 2020a, 2020b; Slee & Thompson, 2018). In considering how schools might be different, this call asks for a focus on how educational leadership might be different in terms of both leading the redesign of schools and schooling, and the leadership of schools needed in these reimagined futures.

It is anticipated that participants will come from across Europe and from several countries outside of Europe. The format of the symposium is yet to be determined, and may include traditional paper presentations with a moderator, or moderated panel discussion around central questions. The symposium may lead into a special journal issue and/or a book.

Contact Person(s)
Prof. David Gurr, The University of Melbourne, d.gurr@unimelb.edu.au
Prof. Gerry Mac Ruairc, National University of Ireland Galway, gerry.macruairc@nuigalway.ie

References
Gurr, D. (in press) Leadership of Schools in the Future. In A, Nir (Ed.) School Leadership in the 21st century: Challenges and strategies (NY, NY: Nova Publishers).

Harris, A. & Jones, M. (2020). COVID-19 – school leadership in disruptive times, School Leadership & Management, 40(4), pp. 243-247.

Huber, S.G. (2021) Schooling and Education in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food for Thought and Reflection Derived From Results of the School Barometer in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, International Studies in Educational Administration, 49(1), 6-17.

Longmuir, F. (2021). Leading in lockdown: Community, communication and compassion in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 17 pages, early cite publication, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F17411432211027634

Netolicky, D.M. (Ed.) (2022). Future Alternatives for Educational Leadership. Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Democracy (Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge), pp. 181-193.

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019