Literature Review Educational Leadership

This includes, for number one above, the effects of such structuring elements as socio-economic class, race, and sex (see Courtney et al.

2018), and for number two, the effects of national and local cultures, and of the overarching policy context.

These are based on explicit professional standards. Instead of a structured career pathway, teachers and school principals instead enjoy considerable autonomy and high status within an undifferentiated profession. Singapore uses a highly structured three-track, multi-level career-progression system, with “leadership” comprising one of these tracks.

The context is bureaucratic, and so teachers and leaders as civil servants accept their lack of professional autonomy.

They are also predominantly authoritarian in their governance, have a tradition of rote learning, cramming and testing and all have placed a major premium on improving their PISA rankings. It is doubtful that Australian parents would want this for their children. 97) The Finnish reforms also exemplify and demonstrate their belief in a simple causal relationship between student performance, teacher quality, and professional development.

Of course, these elements interrelated, but a number of other features may intervene, including in Finland’s case, students’ sex or immigrant status (OECD 2018c).

This is particularly so where policy-makers intend raising standards through structuring teachers’ careers, because the evidence of an unproblematically linear causal link is slight.

They also reveal how research evidence is weakly used in developing – or more likely, policy or programmes, particularly in leadership.

Dr Steven J Courtney University of Manchester August 2018 The question of how, if at all, teachers’ and leaders’ careers should be structured through specific policy interventions has been a concern internationally for many years.

The reasons underlying this interest may be a perceived or putative relationship between the policy “solution” of career pathways and diverse policy “problems” ranging from poor teacher or leader recruitment, retention or job satisfaction to a desire to raise student outcomes.


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