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Societies 2015, 5(2), 277-294;

Leadership and Learning: Conceptualizing Relations between School Administrative Practice and Instructional Practice

School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2120 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
Academic Editors: Kenneth Leithwood and Jingping Sun
Received: 9 February 2015 / Revised: 30 March 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 13 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How School Leadership Influences Student Learning)
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In this paper I argue that one problem we face in understanding relations between school leadership and student learning is that core constructs in our work are often variably and weakly defined. Loose constructs pose problems because they contribute to fuzzy research, especially if constructs such as school leadership, management, or even instruction are weakly (or never explicitly) defined and operationalized. Fuzzy conceptualization makes comparing across studies, essential to the development of a robust empirical knowledge base, difficult if not impossible. Arguing that a critical but often overlooked challenge in studying relations between school administration and student learning is conceptual in nature, I begin by conceptualizing school administration and instruction from what I refer to as a distributed perspective, using theoretical work in distributed and situated cognition, activity theory, and micro sociology. I show how conceptualizing phenomena under study in particular ways shapes how we might frame and hypothesize relations among these phenomena. I contrast a distributed conceptualization with more conventional, individually focused conceptualizations of both phenomena. I then consider the entailments of my conceptualization of the two core phenomena for framing relations between them. View Full-Text
Keywords: School Leadership; Instructional Reform; School Improvement School Leadership; Instructional Reform; School Improvement

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Spillane, J.P. Leadership and Learning: Conceptualizing Relations between School Administrative Practice and Instructional Practice. Societies 2015, 5, 277-294.

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