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Jsl Vol 7-N3

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Beyond Simulations and Case Studies: Improving Leader Preparation through Action Research

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JAY PAREDES SCRIBNER1, *

PAUL V. BREDESON2

ABSTRACT: This paper describes an instructional innovation using field-based action research to enhance program quality and better prepare future administrators at one university. Specifically, the paper describes the learning experiences of graduate students enrolled in a Supervision of Instruction class as they participate in a collaborative school/university project. Three questions were addressed: (1) as an instructional strategy, in what ways does collaborative action research contribute to students’ understanding, acquisition, and use of professional knowledge in educational administration?; (2) in what ways does collaborative action research address major criticisms of educational administration program content and delivery?; and (3) what limitations and/or challenges confront professors and students in programs that incorporate field-based action research into their curriculum? From data gathered in this study, action research appears to provide meaningful opportunities for pre-service administrators to test leadership theories against actual problems of practice. However, data also suggest that action research as an instructional strategy places new demands on students and instructors alike.

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Gender and Perceptions: Females as Secondary Principals

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KATHLEEN NOGAY1, *

ROBERT J. BEEBE2

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and supervisors toward the principal leadership behaviors of female secondary principals in Ohio. Principal self-perceptions were also included to complete the study. The literature shows that women continue to be underrepresented in a field in which the majority of professionals are women; therefore the reasons for underrepresentation warrant investigation. Although women are beginning to move into such ranks more frequently, line administrative positions continue to be dominated by males, and few women hold the positions of high school principal and school district superintendent, positions which continue to be particularly resistant to the advancement of females.

Random selected school districts in Ohio were involved in this investigation, the participants of which completed a copy of Philip Hallinger’s Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS), a scale which afforded the opportunity to compare the perceptions of superordinates, principals, and subordinates. The results indicated significant differences between principal gender and the responses of others on most of the subscales of the PIMRS. The mean subscale results were much higher for female principals than for male principals as well.

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Restructuring Schools for Democracy: Principals’ Perspectives

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MARY JOHN O’HAIR1, *

ULRICH C. REITZUG2

ABSTRACT: Currently there is renewed emphasis among theorists and practitioners on democratic schooling. Although frequently equated with school governance, democratic schooling extends beyond governance structures into all aspects of school and classroom practice. What democratic schooling means for the practices of principals, however, is unclear. In democratic schools principals not only no longer sit at the apex of the governance hierarchy but they must also discover what it means to be a democratic school in the various arenas of school policy and practice. What are appropriate practices for principals in democratic schools? This study addressed this question via a qualitative study of principals in schools striving to become more democratic. Three themes were identified that characterized the practices of principals in these schools: expanding involvement in school decision making and discourse, focusing attention on connections, and promoting inquiry around core beliefs.

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Ethical School Leadership: Problems of an Elusive Role

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ELIZABETH CAMPBELL1

ABSTRACT: Educational literature increasingly emphasizes the importance of ethics in school leadership and the need to recognize professional responsibilities as basic ethical imperatives. It further notes that future administrators must be engaged in preparation programs which highlight this neglected area and the prominence of their role as ethical practitioners. Within this theoretical context, and from the perspective of my personal experience teaching future school leaders, this paper addresses complexities involved in translating philosophical principles into practice within a prevailing climate of value relativism; it ponders the irony of asserting goals of ethical leadership while continuing to accept ethics as subjectively-defined values of opinion and preference.

It is highly improbable that one would encounter, in either the theoretical educational literature or discussions with practitioners and students enrolled in administrator preparation programs, the suggestion that school administrators should not be ethical leaders. On the contrary, much of the current literature emphasizes the need for a heightened awareness of the ethical dimensions of educational leadership, and lively classroom debates engage students who seem inclined to seize on the practical significance of these dimensions. On one hand, the issue appears non-contestable; it is a given that educational practitioners should fulfill their professional obligations in ways that are moral and ethical. On the other hand, the conceptual complexities of translating theoretical prescriptions into practical action seem at times insurmountable.

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Principals and School Reform: Barriers to Inclusion in Three Secondary Schools

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DONNA POWELL1

ADRIENNE E. HYLE2, *

ABSTRACT: Explanatory case studies were used to examine the change to inclusion in three secondary schools using Fullan (1982, 1991). Findings support Fullan’s perspectives and indicate a lack of understanding about inclusion as well. In sum, these schools had implemented the programs they defined as inclusive, but none of the schools were implementing inclusive programs.

School districts across the nation continue to reform their school programs in a new attempt to provide the least restrictive environment (L.R.E.) continuum of special education services mandated by Congress in 1975 through Public Law 94-142 (Education of the Handicapped Act) and updated in 1990 by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.). This federal legislation requires that students with disabilities be educated in general education classes with peers who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate as determined by a site team (O’Brien & Forest, 1989). This change from segregating students with disabilities to one of integrating them with their peers without disabilities (labeled inclusion) has required adjustments in the structure and delivery of education nationally.

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