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Contextual Leadership and Culture in Education  

Mohammad Noman and David Gurr

Context, culture, and leadership are features of educational organizations, yet the relationship between the three is poorly understood. Often leadership theories are propagated as though they will be applicable in all situations, yet research on successful school leaders has found that leadership is highly contextual in nature and that the success of educational leaders depends upon how leaders adapt their practices according to contextual factors. Contextual leadership transcends the rigid, and at times overlapping boundaries of existing educational leadership theories and models and brings the context to the center stage of the practices of educational leaders. Culture can be considered as one of the context factors, but it is a complicated factor with many dimensions. Successful educational leaders are the ones who master the art of creating a balance between multiple cultural contexts acting upon their institutions and, through their contextual practices, learn the art of successfully leading their institutions by creating an inclusive, multicultural environment. Successful school leaders are those who are culturally sensitive, but not context constrained.

Article

Preparing to Teach in Inclusive Classrooms  

Umesh Sharma

This article presents a critical analysis of inclusive teacher education. The article argues that while teacher education programs have changed dramatically over the last few decades, there are still areas where more progress could be made. It also argues for a need to re-conceptualize the way we prepare teachers so that they can confidently include all learners. It presents a framework, largely influenced by the work of Shulman, which could be applied for the preparation of pre-service teachers to teach in inclusive classrooms.

Article

Ecologically Sustaining Research Partnerships  

Melissa M. Jozwiak and Karen L. B. Burgard

It is essential that universities and local or government agencies begin to work together to do unconventional and impactful research that is mutually sustaining to both partners. When done well, the partnerships will strengthen the positions of each institution to continue to do their work and create new opportunities for equity and advancement. The challenges associated with building these types of partnerships are numerous, but even more challenges exist when the partnerships are committed to working in solidarity. To create partnerships that are examples of solidarity leading to mutual sustainability, partners must be intentional about using an ecological-systems model to shape the decision-making process. In doing so, the partners enact an Ecologically Sustaining Research Partnership (ESRP), which ensures that both partners are strengthened by and exist beyond the life of the partnership. Importantly, ESRPs are committed to equity and empowerment and use the ecological-systems model to shift the basis of power in favor of commonly oppressed groups. This emancipatory approach to research is essential for the field of early childhood, but it can also be expanded to guide partnerships between universities and communities across disciplines.

Article

Global Research on Principal Leadership  

David Gurr, Lawrie Drysdale, and Helen Goode

Large, sustained, multinational, and collaborative research networks are becoming more popular because of their power to produce findings that generalize across contexts as well as to provide contextually nuanced views of a phenomenon. In educational leadership, four major projects have been initiated since the beginning of the 21st century: The International Successful School Principalship Project; the International Study of the Preparation of Principals; Leadership for Learning; and the International School Leadership Development. These projects cover from seven to more than 20 countries and have run for 5 or more years. The discussion of these projects provides insight into principal effectiveness research and some guidance to those who seek to collaborate with colleagues nationally and internationally. International projects like these bring the interplay of leadership and context into focus and show that context is important in terms of educational success and how leadership is enacted. Despite the complexity in considering leadership and context, a standout feature of the projects is that across different contexts, there are general findings that emerge, either confirming contemporary understandings or proposing new views through the construction of leadership models, and recommendations emerge that can transcend contexts (such as the need for high-quality but contextually relevant leadership preparation programs). These international comparative projects are important works, as they endeavor to counter the blancmange view of education that comes through the pervasiveness of things like international testing programs and the reliance on meta-analyses.