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Towards a Theory of School Leadership Practice: Implications of a Distributed Perspective

Abstract

"School level conditions, and school leadership in particular, are key in efforts to change instruction. While new organizational structures and new leadership roles matter to instructional innovation, what seems most critical is how leadership practice is carried out. Yet, the practice of school leadership has received limited attention in the literature. Building on activity theory and theories of distributed cognition, this paper develops a distributed perspective on school leadership as a frame for studying leadership practice. The goal is to make the "black box" of leadership practice more transparent by revealing and analyzing how leaders think and practice. The authors argue that leadership practice is constituted in the interaction of school leaders, followers, and the situation."

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