Mulford, WR and Silins, H, Developing Leadership for Organisational Learning, Developing Leadership: Creating the Schools of Tomorrow, Open University Press, Coles,M and Southworth, G (ed), Maidenhead, pp. 139-157. ISBN 9780335215423 (2005) [Research Book Chapter]
Copyright 2005 Open University Press
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Reforms for schools, no matter how well conceptualized, powerfully sponsored, brilliantly structured or closely audited are likely to fail in the of cultural resistance from those in schools. By their actions, or inaction, students, teachers, middle managers and headteachers help determine the fate of what happens in schools, including attempts at reform.
Sometimes this is not a bad thing, for many a school has been badly disillusioned by the galloping hoof-beats of the itinerant peddlers behind the new movements who ride in and out again extorting their latest elixirs. On other hand, there are reforms that may have great potential for school improvement. To have these advances fall to the same fate as the latest gimmickry or short-term political opportunism benefits no one, especially those in schools, for they are the people most responsible for the long-term improvement of schools and the children in them.
Where do school leaders start sorting the wheat from the chaff, exchanging the quick fixes and short-term opportunism genuine growth and long-term improvement? The current and growing emphasis on evidence-informed policy and practice is as good a place as any. However, if one is seeking to establish a useful evidence base for organizing leadership to create the schools of tomorrow then one also needs to establish the value of the evidence that is presented. The old computer adage 'garbage in, out' remains as relevant today as it has always been.
In this chapter we present some quality evidence for those considering leadership for school reform. We believe it is quality evidence because it has integrity and predictive validity as well as clearly defining its variables. The evidence has integrity in the sense that it is complex enough to come closer to the reality faced by schools than much research in the area, has been gathered from other than headteachers - who tend to overestimate the effectiveness of reforms when compared with their teachers (McCall et al 2001) - and has been collected by other than the design or implementation of the reform. It has predictive validity because it attempts to link leadership with organizational learning and student outcomes. The link to student outcomes is a rare event in the research literature on educational leadership and school improvement (EPPI-Centre 2001).The directions suggested by this quality research evidence on leadership development to create the schools of tomorrow include the importance of distributive leadership, development, the context and broad measures of student outcomes.
|Item Type:||Research Book Chapter|
|Keywords:||Leadership for Organisational Learning and Student Outcomes, LOSLO, leadership development, school reform,|
|Research Group:||Specialist Studies in Education|
|Research Field:||Educational Administration, Management and Leadership|
|Objective Division:||Education and Training|
|Objective Group:||Education and Training Systems|
|Objective Field:||Education and Training Systems not elsewhere classified|
|Author:||Mulford, WR (Professor Bill Mulford)|
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