Studying Pedagogical Leadership in School System Change: Lessons from Complex Systems Thinking

One of the most difficult questions learner-centered leaders bump up against is: “Where’s the proof?” Of course, with anything developing outside the main paradigm of research, it’s difficult to find a robust research study that focuses directly on the learner-centered practices you are engaged in.

On top of that, many of the questions of proof demand answers in the form of singular or linear expressions that are easy to compare to the school-centered system. How do you enroll someone in the idea that education is a complex system that demands complex thinking and mechanisms for understanding what’s working? In a paper titled Studying Pedagogical Leadership in School System Change: Lessons from Complex Systems Thinking, the authors used a “complexity-thinking framework…to understand how leadership practices contribute to shaping change in school systems and how change occurred across the system.” Explore two key leadership characteristics they found to be necessary (page 4, section 5) and consider how these lessons can be applied in your learner-centered journey.

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