Pedagogical Leadership – The effects of school leadership culture on teaching for thinking pedagogies

Thu 15 Apr 2021 9:00am


Despite the agreed importance of enhancing teacher practice for improving student outcomes, the concept of Pedagogical Leadership is ‘limited, relatively unexamined, ambiguous and focuses only on the relationship between learning and teaching’ (Male & Palaiolgou, 2015 p. 215). An under-explored aspect of leading pedagogical change is how school leadership's enacted interpretations of pedagogy and leadership affect teachers’ pedagogical development. This study aims to explore leaders’ capacity for and approaches to pedagogical development. Leaders’ views of pedagogical excellence form the basis of decision-making processes intended to enable pedagogical growth. Such interpretations permeate through leadership practice, shaping the nature of pedagogical development. In this sense, notions of pedagogical excellence both influence and are influenced by leadership practice.

On the one hand, leaders’ interpretations of pedagogy inform classroom practice evaluations and guide teacher feedback. On the other, leaders’ intentional decisions and actions regarding pedagogical development communicate interpretations of valued forms of pedagogy, shaping school-wide perceptions of teaching and learning. Focusing on the relationship between leaders’ perceptions of how they should lead and how teachers should teach moves beyond styles and strategies of leadership, emphasising a fundamental pedagogical rationale, which is a defining feature of educational leadership.  

The study applies Ethno-case study methodology and incorporates a range of qualitative methods. The research will be conducted in two Secondary schools over six months, focusing on subject-based faulty teams, allowing multiple cases to be explored and compared within individual school sites. Both schools are engaging in pedagogical renewal programs intended to develop classroom practice to enhance student thinking. Multiple data collection and analysis phases will occur to generate an explanatory theory for pedagogical development initiatives. Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘thinking tools’ of Habitus and Capital (1990) will be adapted in new ways to explore pedagogical development. The generative capacity of habitus influences leadership practice for pedagogical change, resulting in the proliferation of forms of capital in the field. In this case, Pedagogical Capital refers to the valued forms of knowledge, skills and practices which school leadership is seeking to develop. The aim of contextualising habitus and capital to investigate pedagogical development is to provide more significant insights into the effects of school leaders perceptions of valued forms of teaching and learning on classroom practice.  

Advisory team:

Dr Peter Ellerton (P)

Professor Robyn Gillies


Associate Professor Jason Lodge (C)

Professor Deborah Brown

Time: 9:00am

Date: Thursday 15 April 9:00 AM

All HDR candidates and staff are welcome to attend Adam's presentation via Zoom:

Zoom link