Schools need to be culturally tight and managerially loose

“Sergiovanni (2001, p. 72) writes that schools need to be ‘culturally tight and managerially loose. Teachers and other school workers respond much more to their values and beliefs, to how they are socialized and the norms of their work group than they do to managerial controls.’” (cited p50)

Just to be clear, the authors of the report I’m citing do acknowledge that: “No matter how much formal or designated leaders may want to distribute their role, they have structural responsibilities within the organization and to the Ministry of Education that they must fulfil. Formal leaders, whether there is one or more than one, still need to lead the structural, political, pedagogical and relationships-oriented aspects of centre life.” (p42, (full reference below))

However, they also present an interesting discussion of distributed leadership:

“Leadership within a community of practice or professional learning community model implies a system of distributed or shared leadership, which emphasizes collective responsibility. Alma Harris says:

‘[S]tudies point towards an emerging model of leadership that is less concerned with individual capabilities, skills and talents and more preoccupied with creating collective responsibility for leadership action and activity. The focus is less upon the characteristics of ‘the leader’ and more upon creating shared contexts for learning and developing leadership capacity.’ (Harris, 2004, p. 19)

This happens when group members pool their expertise, both formally and informally within a framework of social cohesion and trust. Linda Lambert (2003) sees leadership as a collective endeavour with a redistribution of power. This emphasis on collective, collaborative action changes the balance of power, so that leadership becomes an agency that can be shared. This can best be achieved within a community of practice framework (Gronn, 2003). Hopkins and Jackson state that the role of the designated leader is to “harness, focus, liberate, empower and align its members” (p.97). They contend that for capacity-building, the critical and the most variable element is leadership.” (40)

Research studies on early childhood leadership focus principally on the ideas that leaders have about leadership and on the roles and responsibilities of leaders. Most of these studies have found that childcare supervisors see their role in terms of centre relationships rather than in terms of pedagogical leadership (Scrivens, 2004). Some studies have indicated that supervisors and head teachers would prefer to share their role: shared leadership has been a focus of discussion in childcare literature ever since Kagan (1994) wrote the initial article questioning whether a sole leader was the best model for leadership in childcare services, and offering alternative models that featured shared leadership. Sigley, in her Auckland study of early childhood leaders’ ideas about leadership found that they considered that while they had an holistic view of leadership, interpersonal relationships within their centres were the most important aspect of their leadership. There was an element of shared leadership: the leaders saw curriculum leadership as a commitment to “sharing curriculum decision making with all staff in the setting” (Sigley, 2006, p. 100).” (41)

Ref: (Ako Ngatahi Teaching and Learning Together as One.  From Leadership to Enquiry.  Teachers’ work in an Infants’ and Toddlers’ Centre, published 2008. Author(s): Raewyne Bary, Caryn Deans, Monika Charlton, Heather Hullet, Faith Martin, Libby Martin, Paulette Moana, Olivia Waugh, Barbara Jordan & Cushla Scrivens. Summary and full report available at the education counts website:


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Teaching excellence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s