Schools are complicated places pulling together swathes of people, old and young, in an ever-changing stasis. Distributed leadership provides a theoretical framework which aspires to channel this change toward school improvement. It is like a riverbed steering water to its destination, seemingly in charge, and yet shaped by every passing drop. In this critical reflection I will examine the theoretical concept of distributed leadership and analyse evidence both for and against it as a model for schools seeking to improve learning outcomes. I will assess the possibilities and pitfalls, and draw on my own experience to show that good intentions alone are not sufficient to facilitate the implementation of distributed leadership. In conclusion I will argue that, whereas distributed leadership provides schools with a theoretical structure to positively encourage and nurture the professional development of teachers, the evidence does not provide enough guidance as to how it might be successfully applied. It is this point, the lack of analysis of how distributed leadership might be managed, that ultimately renders it a theoretical and descriptive tool rather than a model for implementing good practice in modern schools. Continue reading “MA – Critical Reflection: Distributed Leadership”
Harris argues that leadership is indirectly linked to learning by influencing the context in which teachers operate. The argument concedes that, if we accept distributed leadership ‘can positively impact on these organisational conditions’ (p44) then we need to examine the evidence about the direct relationship between distributed leadership and learning outcomes. Harris sees this as the root of sustainable school improvement and sets about documenting the evidence. Continue reading “MA – Critical review: Harris, A. (2008) ‘Distributed Leadership: The Evidence’”
Harris is calling for further ‘fine-grained’ research into the positive influence of distributed leadership as a model for sustained school improvement. The author joins many educational theorists in claiming standardisation of practice is an inadequate means to improve performance in response to accountability driven by league tables and fails to produce sustained improvement in schools worldwide (Bottery, 2004). Instead, Harris would like to pursue the ‘long-term benefits to schools and students of teacher collaboration, investment in professional learning and in generating communities of practice that promote rather than stultify creativity and flexibility’ (p161). Continue reading “MA – Critical Review: Harris, A. (2005) ‘Distributed Leadership’”
This article aims to analyse the content of Bottery’s attempt to assess the impact of standardisation on the educational system, question the assumptions made by challenging the evidence presented and conclude that there are important lessons to be learnt from his hypothesis of the dilution of professional trust in schools.
Continue reading “MA – Critical Review: Bottery, M. (2004) ‘The Impact of Standardisation and Control’”
Critical Review: Hargreaves, D. (1999) ‘The Knowledge-creating school’
This review aims to analyse the article, evaluate and compare its claims and assumptions and critique it’s conclusions by asking who or what exactly is driving school agendas? Is it the technological revolution or the welfare of the child? Continue reading “MA – Critical Review: Hargreaves, ‘The Knowledge-creating school’”