A Changing Perspective: leading and learning in new ways
Woodward, P. J. (2016). A Changing Perspective: leading and learning in new ways (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10595
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10595
Schools are learning places, tasked with providing rich, meaningful and diverse learning experiences for all of its’ learners. Educational leaders are facing increasing challenges and demands to become more responsive to the fast changing world in which we live and work. With the increasing complexity and unpredictability that surrounds us, as educators we need to respond in new ways to address the inequity and increasing disparity that exists for our learners. The traditional model of schooling that aimed to equip learners with the skills and knowledge to live in a predictable world are no longer fit for purpose, placing new demands on educators. As leaders we need to consider how we are leading change and building the capability and capacity of ourselves, and others to cope with the increasing complexity and demands of education today. This requires us to critically reflect on how we create the conditions and learning experiences for our colleagues with the ultimate aim to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. We need to consider how we can bring about deep and sustainable change in our practice that creates transformational shifts in our learning and leading. This will require us to rethink about what we pay close attention to and how we shape our schools as authentic learning communities. The aim of this research was to explore what leadership practices could support the professional learning and growth of educators in these complex and unpredictable times, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for student learners. The focus for this research was to investigate whether leadership practices could be strengthened when the leader took in to consideration the adult developmental stages of the team members they were working with. It was hoped that using the constructive developmental theory to inform leadership practices it may strengthened the learning experiences of the team and subsequently all of the teaching community in the school over time. These leadership practices required the Key Leader to build their own knowledge of constructive developmental theory and consider how this strengthened their own leadership capacity and then how it could be used to inform the leaders practices in order to support the growth of the team the leader was working with. The findings indicated that when we begin to explore the theory of adult development it exposes a great deal more about how we learn, lead and can create conditions for transformation. It highlighted the importance of deepening our understanding of the developmental diversity of those we lead and work with and responding appropriately to this diversity. This requires us to ensure learning experiences are developmentally orientated, providing enough support but also challenge to create transformational shifts. As indicated in these findings, as we gain greater insight in to our own developmental capacity and ways to grow we become far more at ease in working in the complex domain of the unknown unknowns. We are able to view challenges in new ways, taking a more adaptive leadership approach to how we embrace and lead change. When we consider new ways to think, act and engage we have the potential to create places where learners can flourish amongst the uncertainty and complexity.
University of Waikato
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