This week I am attending the combined Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) conference in Brisbane. To follow the conference see #AARENZARE2014

On Tuesday I am presenting a paper entitled ‘The principalship, autonomy, and after‘ (you can find a copy of the slides here). During the same session, which also includes papers from Richard Niesche (UNSW) and Howard Youngs (AUT), I am co-author on a paper with Gladys Asuga and Jill Scevak (UoN).

The central argument of my paper is that while policy rhetoric of autonomy has advanced in recent decades, the theoretical resources of educational leadership, management and administration have not. That is, we require alternate ontologies for understanding to bring educational administration theory face-to-face with contemporary challenges.

Despite work at the periphery of the discipline, for the most part, educational leadership studies have failed to move beyond the entity based thinking inherent with systems thinking. Although this enabled the partitioning of the social world and the ever expanding articulation of ‘variables’ that can be the focus of interventions, I contend that this position has reached its limits.

These ideas are further articulated in a forthcoming paper in Journal of Educational Administration and History, and in far greater detail in my latest book Educational Leadership Relationally.

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