'The theory and practice of democracy and democratic leadership have implications for how we understand what ought to be counted as 'improving schools' In this book Woods focuses on the idea of democratic leadership, examining what is meant by democratic leadership, what forms it can take, and how it is relevant to school education and learning. He shows how the ideals and theories of democratic leadership can translate into practice, and sets out some of the challenges that democratic leadership poses in the context of contemporary education . Democratic Leadership in Education challenges conventional approaches to leadership and many of the assumptions inherent in educational policy. It is about understanding and exploring both the idea of democratic leadership and its practical relevance through examples drawn from practice and research. An enlightening resource for practitioners and students on professional development and academic courses, this book will be essential reading for all policy makers, academics and others (such as inspectors) who critically examine leadership and management of educational institutions.

Free Space and Firm Framing

Free space and firm framing

Reitzug and O'Hair (2002: 139) make two key points about democratic leadership: that it should be neither passive nor hierarchical, but ‘proactively democratic’, and that a democratic community is an ideal to strive towards – ‘not a destination, but rather a journey’. This chapter, with Chapters 9 and 10, addresses what democratic leadership involves in order to make progress on that journey. The ideas discussed in their various ways contribute to tackling the obstacles and challenges set out in the previous chapter.

The chapters are organised around the three-part framework (the trialectic) discussed in the Introduction:

  • structural properties: the cumulative consequence of people's agency (this chapter);
  • people: capabilities and properties of individuals (Chapter 9);
  • practical engagement: individual and collective agency ...
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