Leaders and leadership practices: all unique, all the same?

Resultado de pesquisarevisão de pares


Research on educational leadership is currently abundant, predominantly on which leadership practices have a higher impact on the development of the school organisation and on students' learning. After decades of research, nowadays it is acknowledged that it is the combination of several leadership practices, from different leadership models, that contributes to the best impact possible: leadership for learning. Essentially, the combination of transformational leadership, instructional leadership and distributed leadership. Educational leadership stories commonly consist of narratives of school principals and, therefore, are an entry door to understand principals' practices in their own voices. In the current study, researchers collected individual interviews focused on the life stories of 19 different Portuguese principals from public schools, considered to be good principals (according to various criteria), as well as with many years of experience in being school leaders. Particularly, this paper focuses on (i) the participants' leadership practices, and (ii) their personal leadership resources. Data analysis was carried out by two researchers working together using Nvivol 1 Pro Software and then verified by two other researchers. The analysis followed a semi-inductive qualitative process, as researchers intended to analyse practices and resources according to a prior theoretical framework by Kenneth Leithwood. So, leadership practices were analysed within five main and broad categories: (i) to establish a mission and vision for the school; (ii) to develop people and build relations; (iii) to reorganise the school in order to achieve a Professional Learning Community; (iv) to manage and improve teaching and learning; (v) to build accountability. Personal leadership resources were codified under three types: cognitive, psychological and social, also considering Leithwood proposal of analysis. Results point to similar practices amongst the participants, and personal resources enhanced by them as being relevant for their job performance were also similar. Specific practices that were mentioned by almost all the participants in order to develop efficient leadership practices were: identify objectives, stimulate the development of professional skills, construct internal collaboration, provide active support to teaching and learning and create a sense of responsibility in the teaching and non-teaching staff. As far as personal resources are concerned, all principals valued their communication abilities and active listening, as well as critical thinking together with the ability to make decisions. However, personal resources were identified by principals as an area of development that they need to explore and as a training necessity. More specific and refined data concerning leadership practices and personal resources within each broader category is explored in detail in this paper. Practical implications are also discussed.
Idioma originalEnglish
Título da publicação do anfitriãoICERI2019 Proceedings
EditoresL. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, I. Candel Torres
EditoraIATED Academy
Número de páginas9
ISBN (impresso)9788409147557
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - nov. 2019
Evento12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Seville
Duração: 11 nov. 201913 nov. 2019

Série de publicação

NomeICERI2019 Proceedings
ISSN (eletrónico)2340-1095


Conferência12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation

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