This article presents a case study of a principal who undertakes reforms in two schools over a 14 year period. Both schools are severely disadvantaged in terms of their students coming from very low socio-economic status communities. The researchers draw upon the work of Nancy Fraser to theorize the leadership practices in the two schools. This case study includes interviews with the principal, teachers, and key administrative staff to examine their experiences of school reform in these communities. Key aspects of this principal’s philosophy of social justice include high expectations, relations with the local community, and building leadership density. This article argues that leadership in these types of communities needs to advocate for their students in terms of a parity of participation, to use Fraser’s term, so that the best opportunities can be provided to these students through forms of recognition, representation, and redistribution. This is not intended to be a new form of adjectival leadership approach but rather to illustrate an organically built, context driven approach to social justice.
In this article the researchers take an innovative approach to understanding educational leadership through the work of Elliott Eisner. They argue that the arts and perspectives from artists can provide useful and refreshing insights into the field of educational leadership. Specifically using the notion of connoisseurship, they draw upon interviews with a range of artists to explore the cognitive functions performed by those in the arts and illuminate the implications of these approaches for the study and practice of educational leadership. The researchers present an alternative view to the dominant perspectives in the field by using arts metaphors to break out of the stifling approaches to leadership that continue to be so dominant in the field.
In this article, the author provides a provocative, daring response to both the ideas of ‘empirical leadership research’ and ‘letting the data speak for themselves’. The author forces the reader to engage with the epistemological rather than the empirical in his questioning of the utility and robustness of the term ‘leadership’. These are discussions the field needs to have in order to problematise its obsession with a constructed label to signify a misrecognised empirical reality. This is a challenge to the orthodoxy of thinking in the leadership field, albeit one that the author acknowledges has inherent risk as a direct challenge to the discipline. As researchers in the field, we need to take account of our constructions of leadership as a form of discourse and social reality, and the political game we play in such constructions. To avoid doing so, according to the author, is to continue to risk the credibility of the field within the academy and the wider community. As such the data cannot speak for themselves, but we need to ask ourselves, ‘is that such a bad thing?’
CALL FOR PAPERS/PROPOSALS
2ND Untested Ideas International Research Conference
June 27 – 29, 2014
The Sheraton Rhodes Resort, Rhodes, Greece