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Educational Leadership Assignment


Task: In educational leadership today, the personal characteristics of a leader are less important than his or her capacity to respond to a wide variety of situations.

A Leader, Leadership and Educational Leadership

  • What thoughts and images came into your head when you read that word? Take some time to capture them, either by writing or drawing or speaking into an audio recorder.
  • How might these thoughts and images have been formed? Again, take some time to write or draw or record an answer to this question.

3 Ideas of Leadership

Leadership has been thought about, talked about and written about for hundreds of years. Enter the word “leadership” into your search engine and you will get something like 14,000,000 hits in 0.41 seconds! Parris and Peachy (2013) describe leadership theories as attempting "to explain and organize the complexity of the nature of leadership and its consequences" (p.377). In this activity you will look at the way leadership theories have altered over time. Understanding the history of leadership theories will give you valuable background knowledge for your study in this course.

  • Read Section 4 (pages 6 to 17 only) of the report, A review of leadership theory and competency frameworks by Bolden, Gosling, Marturano and Dennison (2003) from the Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter.
  • It will give you a good overview of the way in which thinking about leadership has changed from a focus on heroic (and usually white male) leaders, to more contemporary ideas about the influence of the context in which leadership takes place, the distribution of leadership across many people in an organisation, and the importance of relationships between leaders and their teams. Although thinking about leadership has generally moved on, it is fascinating how the ‘heroic’ theories re-emerge!

  • After you have read Section 4 of the Bolden, Gosling, Marturano and Dennison report, summarise the various theories that are described. You could use a table format or whatever method best suits your learning style. Keep your summary as part of your notes for this subject.

  • Educational Leadership: some concepts
    ‘Educational leadership’ is a field of knowledge in its own right. It is distinct from generic ideas about leadership in that it is situated in educational contexts such as schools, early childhood centres, universities, TAFEs, training organisations, and so on. It is distinct also in that it is concerned with learning and teaching.

    A report, commissioned in England by the National College of School Leadership, published in 2003 by Tony Bush and Derek Glover provides a useful overview of the concepts in educational leadership at the time. You can access the executive summary of the 2003 report at It will introduce you to the distinction that is often drawn between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’, although there is no universally-accepted answer to the leadership versus management debate and the terms are often used interchangeably.

5 Leadership, management or administration?
This reading from Oplatka (2009) is a more difficult piece than those you may have read so far

Oplatka has written here about the ways in which the literature (and therefore the research and thinking) produced in the field of educational leadership (or ‘management’ or ‘administration’ - the more popular terms prior to 2000) has developed over the years, and particularly so since 1980. Skim the first part of the article, but read the section 2000 – 2007: A time of critical reflections that begins on page 23 with care. This will introduce you to ideas about thinking critically about educational leadership – that is, carefully considering and evaluating what you read, rather than merely accepting every piece of literature as ‘quality’ or ‘scholarly’ just because it has been published in a journal!

6 Another speech about education
This video shows a young woman named Malala Yousafzai accepting the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Do you think Miss Yousafzai shows leadership? If yes, what characteristics of a leader does she display?
  • Do you think Miss Yousafzai shows educational leadership? If yes, what characteristics of a leader does she display?

Think about your own context. Which speech did you find it easier to relate to your own setting? Why?

If you are interested, you might like watch Malala's speech given to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2013. This was given a year before the speech at the Nobel Awards. You might consider the differences between the two speeches. Does this say anything about her leadership (if any)?

7. The following readings provide an insight into school leadership (although what is written can be applied to other educational settings).
Harris (2005) provides a succinct overview of the field of leadership as it applied to schools, and many of these ideas are transferable to other educational settings. Bush and Glover (2014) provide a more recent account of similar ideas.

As you read, highlight or write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. What difference does educational leadership make in schools?
  2. How does educational leadership influence schools and student outcomes?
  3. What are the four main lenses that Harris identifies? Write a brief summary of each and list examples from your own experience or context
  4. What kind of work needs to be done in the future in terms of describing educational leadership?

8 Leadership in Higher Education

Not all education happens in schools. This report looks at the leadership of academics in universities in Britain and Australia. It is a long reading that will prove useful throughout this subject. For the moment, focus on the Executive Summary and Part 1 (pp. 3 - 14).

Read these pages, make notes, and when you are done write brief responses to the Reflective Questions in Context (p.14) in your personal, private, reflective journal


Leadership has many faces at present day. It is a concept that includes corporateleaders,politicalleaders or leaders in the society and civil life which happen to actwithin the constantlyevolving scenario of dynamicsystem of the trends and pressure ofthe world.The challenge withleadership istotransform varying risks into favorable opportunities that may alsoprevent or pre-empt the risk. These opportunitiesand risks happen to vary by locality and country. Leadership, as a concept, ismostlyaccepted as one ofthe most significant responsesto the opportunitiesand challengesthat are presented in the universal context. The elaboration of leadership ismultifaceted and varied. Leadership can be referred to as a very effectiverelationship among the collaborators andleaders who aim for significant alterationswhich reflect on the mutualpurpose.

Making Decision
In the paper “Areview ofleadership theoryand competencyframeworks” by Bolden, Goslin, Marturanoand Dennison, thetheory of decisionmaking is signified(Bolden et al., 2003). Making decision is a veryintegral part of aleader workingin anyfield. In the sector of education, having properdecision making skill is a very crucial part of the educationalleadership. The decision theory that is described in the paper referstothe study ofalgorithms and principles theta re used formaking any decision in the fieldof education.This is obtained by recognition of uncertainties,values and variousother things which mightpose unfavorable implicationson the decision.

The decision theories canmostly be categorized intotwo kinds of theory such as Descriptive and normative decision theory. Further, there has been relevanceof motivation as acrucial aspect ofand educationalleader. In regards to the motivational theory, the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, subordinates and people are found to be motivated bythe effective provision of basic needs(Bolden et al., 2003). These needs encompass physiological, security and safety, theneed to be getting accepted by friends,groups and community, needfor gettingrecognized byindividuals by esteem. Further,the fulfillment of variousneeds ofindividual for self-actualization providesmotivation to the individuals workingin the education sector. It has tobe noted thattheneeds which when fulfilled provide motivationto the individuals are required to be arrangedin anorder of significance(Oplatka, 2009).

School leadership models
According to the paper, “School leadership models: what do we know?” by Derel Glover and Tony Bush, the development in the significanceof school leadership is accompanies with the theory development along with new models and approaches that are established and emerging are developed(Bush & Glover, 2014). The growthwithinthesignificance of leadershipis relatedto thedevelopment of theory in the context toleadership in the field of education. It is basically identified that leadershipcomes atthe secondposition in the priority list ofeducation after teaching. The role of leadershiphas beenreferredto as catalyst for gaining advantages in thelearningsectorwhich also encompasses learning of pupil. It is also elaborated that the role of leaders has a significant implicationon the outcomes ofteach(Bush & Glover, 2014).

It has also been mentioned that the direct involvement of leader in the professional development and planning of curriculum is related with the large and prominent effects of leadership. In most of the scenario, leadership is stated to involve social implications on the process whichorients internalinfluence on one or more number ofpersons fordevisingof relationships and activities in an organization or group.

Leadership is regarded tobe independentof anysort of positional authority whereasmanagement is identified to be directly inrelation to it.Secondly, the entire process ofa managementis very intentional. In the paper, it has been statedthat,the individual seekingfor exercisinga great deal of influence doesso inorder to obtain certainobjectives(Bush & Glover, 2014).Thirdly, there maybe a great amount of influence in the management that wouldbe exercisedby individuals as well as groups. These projectsthe conceptof leadership beingdifferentfrommanagement asleadership is different from any kind of formalpositionof managementand iscapable of adhering with any organizational member whoincludes the students and the staff(Harris, 2005).

Educational Administration
Accordingto the paper “The field of educational administration, A historical overview of scholarly attempts to recognize epistemological identities, meanings and boundaries fromthe 1960s onwards”, the educational administration is assumed to be an area of study that is concerned with the operation and management of educational organization(Oplatka, 2009).Variouskind of diagnosis has been developed withthe claiming of movementtheory that relates to educational leadership(Bush & Glover, 2014).

Educational leadership has changed into educational management. It is evident from the fact that the changes have been either semantic orreflective in the field in the nature of education. By the definition of educational is arbitraryand subjective(Oplatka, 2009).

Educational leadership has relates to the development leadership in teachers in various ways that assists inpromotion of achievement of students evenin difficulties.The educational leaders having high acceptability among different colleagues do not come with suitable expertise(Bolden et al., 2015).

Hariss identifies the four major lenses thatare managerial,transformative, interpretive and instructional. Managerial refersto the behavior ascompared to actions.Transformative refers to the attentionof individuals withinthe educationalleadership(Oplatka, 2009). Transformational leadership relates to the approach of leadership thatconcentrates upon inthe individualsthan structures. Interpretive leadership refers to the distributed leadership. Instructional leadership refers to refersto the behavior of educationist accordingto their engagement in the educational activities(Bolden et al., 2003).

Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, A., & Dennison, P. (2003). A review of leadership theory and competency frameworks. Centre for Leadership Studies, University of Exeter.

Bolden, R., Jones, S., Davis, H., & Gentle, P. (2015). Developing and sustaining shared leadership in higher education. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.

Bush, T., & Glover, D. (2014). School leadership models: What do we know?. School Leadership & Management, 34(5), 553-571.

Harris, A. (2005). Leading from the chalk-face: An overview of school leadership. Leadership, 1(1), 73-87.

Oplatka, I. (2009). The field of educational administration: A historical overview of scholarly attempts to recognize epistemological identities, meanings and boundaries from the 1960s onwards. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(1), 8-35.


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