What you will study
This module enables you to explore current thinking on educational leadership and encourages effective integration of theory and practice in developing your leadership skills. Designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers, middle and senior leaders and others working in educational and related organisations, the module will develop your understanding of educational leadership, particularly in relation to strategic planning and change. You will engage in critical reflection and develop your analysis and communication skills as well as your understanding of research processes and thinking. You do not need to have a designated leadership post to benefit from this module, but it is desirable to be working in an educational organisation or have access to one, to aid your reflection and your research.
This is the second module in the Leadership and Management route of the Masters degree in Education. It is not essential to have studied Educational leadership: agency, professional learning and change (EE811) specifically to enable you to study this module as any of the Stage 1 modules in the Masters degree in Education will provide suitable preparation.
This module will enable you to develop:
- knowledge and understanding of key concepts, current debates, themes and issues in educational leadership and management and their application to practice in a range of contexts, including the wider political, economic and social ones;
- knowledge and understanding of approaches to the practice of applied research and ethical issues relating to research and enquiry; the processes entailed in carrying out a small scale research enquiry such that you will be able to undertake practice-based enquiry in an area of educational leadership and management of interest to you;
- the ability to critically reflect on the area of your own educational leadership and management practice, following an appraisal and critical review of academic publications sourced for the purpose;
- the ability to engage critically and creatively with debates relevant to the development of your own professional thinking about educational leadership and management, through critically analysing and evaluating, interpreting and assessing research methodologies and their evidence;
- the ability to produce and present written text employing a suitable writing style, including defining and appropriately utilising key terms, concepts and theories in educational leadership and management.
The module content is covered through three themes which will look first at values and culture and their potential impacts on leaders and leadership. The next theme will go on to critique current thinking on the potential influence of external context, policy, working with other professionals and partnerships on the leadership of an educational organisation. The final theme will build on both of these to analyse the concept of strategic change and the role of leadership and leaders within it.
The module is designed to provide you with some of the tools, skills and knowledge you will need to research your own answers rather than providing a ‘tool kit’ or ‘how to’ approach to leadership. It builds on the work of the Stage 1 module (which developed skills in searching for, analysis and synthesis of academic literature) to develop tools for critiquing research methods and their outcomes. This work on data collection and methodology is done throughout the module so that you gradually develop your understanding and finally are able to plan and carry out your own small scale piece of research into an area of your practice.
Online group activities are a vital part of the module, closely linked to the assignments, enabling you to learn interactively, working with other students and your tutor. The audio-visual material is designed to extend your understanding of practice beyond your own personal setting, to help you draw on alternative contexts and views to reflect on and develop your own practice. Developing your understanding of the importance and value of diversity and cross-cultural/national perspectives in educational leadership is a key feature of the module. Throughout the module the emphasis is on the diversity of perspectives, knowledge-based decision-making and the need for critique and curiosity rather than bland acceptance.
The three assignments that make up the continuous assessment for the module are timed to be at the end of each theme. They will be assessing your understanding of the concepts and ideas introduced in that theme along with your growing understanding of research. An important element of the assessment is your ability to apply your learning to your own practice and reflect critically on its implications. Throughout the module there is an expectation that you will take part in both tutor group discussions (as part of your guided study) and module forum discussions (as part of your independent study). Engaging in tutor group forums is an essential requirement of the module and the work you do here will feed directly into the assignments.
As we stated at the beginning of this description, improvement in your leadership practice is an integral part of the module and the recording of your own professional development is an aspect that runs through the whole module. You will be given opportunities and tools to help you reflect on this and to produce a plan for how you might continue this development at the end of the module.