Everything we know about educational leadership is wrong: Rethinking scholarship and practice for improved teaching and learning
Public lecture by Professor Jeffrey S. Brooks
14 July 2015
Educational leadership and administration is a fractured field of scholarly inquiry that too often borrows methods and concepts haphazardly from various social sciences. This non-systematic appropriation has led to convoluted and corrupted versions of established inquiry that seldom yields meaningful, useful and well-grounded insights that deepen our understanding of important phenomena related to the way that learning and instruction are influenced in organizations. This is due in part to several interrelated dynamics. First, as a field of inquiry, educational leadership has lost its grounding in the social sciences. Second, the field is at least under-theorized and is perhaps completely mis-conceptualized. Third, a Pollyanna conceptualization of leadership practice has undermined the utility educational administration research. The field has shied away from most things seen as negative—we have almost no studies or theories in the field that help explore or explain lying, embezzlement, racism, corruption, lack of knowledge, coercion, abuse of authority, bullying or professional sabotage yet these issues have plagued schools and the field for decades. In this presentation, I will explore and discuss these shortcomings and make actionable recommendations for a more robust and relevant form of educational leadership research and practice.