Distributed Leadership for Equity & Learning Toolset

Tool #2: How do we need to think differently about leadership?

Tool #2 provides a stimulus for discussion around the importance of shared ideas and values in a participatory culture that best supports DLE and what developments in school culture might be desirable.

Ways to use it
The tool invites people to think of a school they know and consider what the dominant ideas and values are about leadership in the school. Like Tool #1, it incorporates a continuum as a way of exploring the different views and assumptions relating to leadership and how these relate to DLE.

There are many ways in which Tool #2 may be used. Here are two suggestions:
The intention of Tool #2 is to facilitate genuine dialogue, rather than a top-down approach. Policy-makers may use the tool to stimulate discussion, amongst themselves and amongst school leaders, of values which support inclusive participation and learning that is wider than achievement measured by narrow accountability tools.

Reflect on the following two sets of statements
Users of the tool are asked to reflect on the two sets of statements. Think of a school you know and what the dominant ideas and values about leadership in the school are.
Leadership is seen as what the senior people in the school do

Leadership is seen as what the senior people in the school do

Anyone not a senior leader who tries to exercise initiative or have a say in decisions, is overstepping the mark and trying to have an influence that they should not.

By far the most important value is getting as many high grades as possible in national tests and/or other types of examinations.
People across the school. Photo: Code4CT girls with cc4kids certificates / Kelsey Wiens. See https://bellavelo.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/img_9157.jpg

Leadership is seen as coming from people across the school, whatever their formal position

The participation and views of everyone in the school are valued and recognized as important contributions to school improvement.

A commitment to advancing equity, democratic citizenship and holistic learning is an explicit, shared part of the school's values.


In the school you are thinking of

  • Which set of statements best describes the culture of the school, or, if neither, what statements about leadership and values would better describe the ideas and values about leadership that are most influential in the school?
  • Where would you place the school on the culture continuum?
  • Does this lead you to think that the culture of the school needs to change to make it more participatory? if so, in what ways would you like to see it change?
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