To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Can We Impact Leadership Practice through Teaching Democracy and Social Justice?

An earlier version of this chapter, comprising only the data from the 13 cohort members was published as Shields, C. M. (2012). Can we teach deep democracy: And can it make a difference? In P. R. Carr, D. Zyngier, & M. Pruyn (Eds.), Can education make a difference? Experimenting with, and experiencing democracy in, education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate

ISBN: 978-1-78441-132-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-131-2

ISSN: 1479-3628

Publication date: 31 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to determine whether graduate classes in deep democracy and social justice can actually effect change in educators’ leadership practice.

Methodology/approach

This chapter draws on a survey of all doctoral students in educational leadership from a major research university who were concurrently school principals. From those willing to engage in follow-up, surveys were conducted of their teachers, and follow-up interviews and observations were conducted with the principals themselves.

Findings

We identified six main themes; courses related to deep democracy and social justice brought about deeper understanding of the topics, helped leaders acquire language and “new paradigms,” sometimes caused confusion and a sense of being overwhelmed by the challenges, assisted leaders to engage staff in dialogue, and prompted action related to social justice. Leaders also sometimes experienced a sense of being alone as they engaged in a difficult struggle.

Practical implications

The findings highlighted the need for instructors to walk “alongside” their students as they tried to change their practices, to become critical friends and to offer on-site support.

Research implications

Findings also highlight the importance of teaching both theory and practical applications together. Further research about the pedagogies that make this possible is needed.

Social implications

If graduate coursework can impact leaders’ practice, it can effect changes in schools so they become more welcoming and inclusive of all students so that those who come from minoritized or disadvantaged backgrounds may experience greater school success.

Originality/value of chapter

Demonstrating a link between graduate coursework and the ability of school leaders to emphasize social justice, equity and deep democracy in their practice is not only original but extremely important.

Keywords

Citation

Shields, C.M. (2014), "Can We Impact Leadership Practice through Teaching Democracy and Social Justice?

An earlier version of this chapter, comprising only the data from the 13 cohort members was published as Shields, C. M. (2012). Can we teach deep democracy: And can it make a difference? In P. R. Carr, D. Zyngier, & M. Pruyn (Eds.), Can education make a difference? Experimenting with, and experiencing democracy in, education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

", Investing in our Education: Leading, Learning, Researching and the Doctorate (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-147. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-362820140000013006

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited