Hi All,

Just thinking of different notions of leadership in education. One of the models is top-down, with leadership emanating from the apex of a triangle down to various designated people who then lead "the masses." Another view is quite different: leadership does not necessarily "reside" in a particular person, or emanate from "recognized positions," but ebbs and flows as a function of relationships in the school.

Gordon A. Donaldson Jr wrote in the article "What Do Teachers Bring to Leadership", "An alternative to the hierarchical model of school leadership is the relational model, which views leadership as residing not in individuals, but in the spaces among individuals." "Teacher leaders also have the benefit of working with others in small, intimate, adaptable groups or in one-on-one relationships... Some of these small units are formal work groups, such as grade-level teams or departments. But many are naturally occurring and informal—clusters of teachers who get into the habit of dropping by one another's rooms, sharing materials, ideas, and challenges or generating a proposal to the principal for a new science initiative. In these less formal clusters, it's often difficult to say who's leading whom. But few would say that leadership doesn't exist among these energetic and closely connected professionals."

"Teacher culture based on relationships is hugely influential in schools, often trumping administrative and legislative influence (Spillane, 2006). Although some administrators and policymakers might see this as a problem, strong relationships are teachers' most powerful leadership asset (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002)." (Donaldson, Educational Leadership, September, 2007)

Similarly, here's Roland S. Barth in "Improving Relationships within the Schoolhouse,"

"Congenial relationships represent a precondition for another kind of adult relationship highly prized by school reformers yet highly elusive: collegiality. Of the four categories of relationships (parallel play, adversarial, congenial, and collegial), collegiality is the hardest to establish.

Famous baseball manager Casey Stengel once muttered, 'Getting good players is easy. Getting 'em to play together is the hard part.' Schools are full of good players. Collegiality is about getting them to play together, about growing a professional learning community.

When I visit a school and look for evidence of collegiality among teachers and administrators—signs that educators are “playing together”—the indicators I seek are

* Educators talking with one another about practice.
* Educators sharing their craft knowledge.
* Educators observing one another while they are engaged in practice.
* Educators rooting for one another's success.

Empowerment, recognition, satisfaction, and success in our work—all in scarce supply within our schools—will never stem from going it alone as a masterful teacher, principal, or student, no matter how accomplished one is. Empowerment, recognition, satisfaction, and success come only from being an active participant within a masterful group—a group of colleagues."

(Barth, Best of Educational Leadership 2005-2006)

A question it'd be interesting to explore at CR2.0 is where is the leadership in your school, and do you feel you can enter into the leadership in a smooth and healthy way? As we work towards reform and "21st-century learning," are you finding examples of teachers "taking" leadership on their own (interesting word, "taking", because sometimes if you take it there's MORE, not less of it); do you have suggestions of what we can do to move into educational change through viewing leadership differently?

Tags: change, collegiality, leadership, reform

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Somewhat related to your post, I'm seeking a definition of "Digital Leadership" from the perspecive "technology as an enabler" in support of the 21st century learning. Thoughts?
Hi Larry,

Well, you could look at Steve Hargadon for a really good model and example of "digital leadership." He makes conversations possible, provides a platform for connection across what we used to think of as boundaries, whether geographical, positional, or philosophical. Look at the learning that goes on at this site! And the content of the site provides very rich examples of "technology as an enabler."

What sort of definition are looking for, and for what purpose? Plenty of people here will have ideas. Let's hear more about what you're thinking.
Great questions, from Connie. Made me stop and think a bit more about "digital leadership" and what the question really is. Finally, Sunday night at 11:40PM it hit me. I think "Leadership" is the eaiser one to define so I'm leaving it alone.

Maybe "digital" is the incorrect term in this case. My use of "digital" = "technology". But "technology" does not fit that well, what is technology? It may be that I'm coming at it from a broader perspective as IT director at an educational institution (school) rather than one who focuses on educational (pedagogical) technology at an educational institution (school). For sake of arguement let's say the roles are equally valuable to the institution.

My scope of responsibilitity as IT Director in the sense of the old three legged stool, not in any specific order, but includes breadth and depth of coverage for: Information Processing, Educational Technology and Information Technology.
- Information Processing = how the data is processed, mainly the business functions of the school
- Educational Technology = the facutly, the students, the classrooms, the application of technology to support or enhance the learning process, not to include the how to use type (this would be a specific class or classes)
- Infromation Technology = the nuts and bolts that make everything possibile, from network, to servers, to applications, to software packages, to laptops and desktops, firewalls, security, etc, etc...

How does a school know if they are a "xyz leader" in this? What word replaces xyz? Is it truly digital leadership or some other term that I am seeking?

Does this help generate any ideas?
Hi Larry,
The general questions make sense, but the term 'digital leadership' has me floundering. I've never used the term 'analog(ue) leadership' and can't conceive of a meaning for it either. It seems to me that my school is an educational leader if its students are more "educated" than elesewhere. (I'm leaving 'educated' as a cipher! xyz will do.) The same school is an exemplary user of digital technology if a central part of educating students is accomplished through it, and in ways that are qualitatively and/or quantitatively different. I struggle to place the tool as a qualifier of the institution. In 1972 could my school have been a calculator leader? In 1975 an overhead projector leader? In 1875... anyway, you see my struggle.
Digital tools are key tools which (can) expand audience, social group, connection, research options, application of student projects in ways which are new. A leading school knows how to change can to does. A non-leading school knows how to change can to doesn't.

I know what I mean, I'm just not sure that I've said it...
I can come back...
Hey Ian,

Excellent point on "analog" leadership. So I think maybe the (proper) use of the technology as an enabler to the "21st Century Skills" helps a school become an educational leader. But what about the other 2 legs of the stool? I appreciate your comments...

Larry
Sorry to take so long, Larry, family matters such as university launch and lodgings intervened. The other two legs of the stool seem to me to be similar - Information Processing and Information Technology, What we choose, what we research and what we might be ABOUT to implement will enable us to be both more effective and efficient on the data entry trail. That involves consideration of the front office and the staff, aiming for single inout of data, simply, swiftly and accurately (from the date enters viewpoint). And as for the nuts and bolts, we are a leading school when what we are testings, reviewing and trialling is what's about to be of interest to our school community.

We lead when each leg of the school enables the school to flourish (to be seated firmly and securely - accomplishing its purpose well). We trail when the school is teetering through impenetrable database processes, creaky networks, platforms and applications, and when the ICT facilities contradict the aims of the teachers and classes. (Or when any one or two of the three is insecure.

Anyway, such is my view from a similar position of responsiblity as yours.
We have a group of faculty led (guided) by our Ed Tech Director that we call TIgers (Tech Integrators), they are growing the use of technology organically across campus. From their perspective, it is working. There are some teachers who are "taking" the lead in inducing the use of technology in their classes. We are currently trying to develop a high-level think tank on how to move technology change through the organization at a faster pace.
I am a Reading Consultant in Orange, CT,and I am currently completing the requirements for my 092 administrative certification. During my coursework,we engaged in several conversations on how the "look" of leadership has changed. Rather than a top-down model, school principals are now instructional leaders who work with teachers as part of a team. Principals foster teacher collaboration, and encourage teachers to work in teams to address student need. In my current district, administrators work cooperatively with the teachers to write curriculum, design assessments, plan instruction, and provide professional development. Grade level teams work closely together in order to examine student work, brainstorm strategies to address needs, and plan for instruction. The culture in the school is that of collegiality,and all staff members genuinely care for each other and their students.

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