ebooksclub.org the constructivist leader

Download Ebooksclub.org the Constructivist Leader

Post on 26-Aug-2014

133 views

Category:

Documents

1 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

THE CONSTRUCTIVIST LEADER2NDEDITION

C

H E O N S T R U C T I V I S T LEADER2ND EDITION

T

LINDA LAMBERT D E B O R A H WA L K E R D I A N E P. Z I M M E R M A N JOANNE E. COOPER MORGAN DALE LAMBERT MARY E. GARDNER MARGARET SZABO

foreword by MAXINE GREENE

Teachers College Columbia University New York and London

National Staff Development Council Oxford, Ohio

Published simultaneously by Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, and by the National Staff Development Council, P.O. Box 240, Oxford, OH 45056 Copyright 2002 by Teachers College, Columbia University All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The constructivist leader / by Linda Lambert ... [et al.] ; foreword by Maxine Greene. 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8077-4254-6 (alk. paper) ISBN 0-8077-4253-8 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Educational leadershipUnited States. 2. School management and organizationUnited States. 3. School administratorsUnited States. 4. Educational changeUnited States. I. Lambert, Linda. LB2805 .C634 2002 371.2'00973dc21 2002024576 ISBN 0-8077-4253-8 (paper) ISBN 0-8077-4254-6 (cloth) Printed on acid-free paper Manufactured in the United States of America 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

C o n t e n t s

Foreword by Maxine Greene Acknowledgments Introduction by Linda Lambert

vii xi xv

Chapter 1

Constructivist Leadership: Standards, Equity, and LearningWeaving Whole Cloth from Multiple StrandsDEBORAH WALKER

1

Chapter 2

Toward a Deepened Theory of Constructivist LeadershipLINDA LAMBERT

34

Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5

Leading the ConversationsLINDA LAMBERT

63 89 112

The Linguistics of LeadershipDIANE P. ZIMMERMAN

Constructivist Leadership: Its Evolving NarrativeJOANNE E. COOPER

Chapter 6

Constructing School ChangeSchool StoriesLINDA LAMBERT DEBORAH WALKER

127

Chapter 7

The School District as Interdependent Learning CommunityMORGAN DALE LAMBERT MARY E. GARDNER

164

v

vi

Contents

Chapter 8

The Preparation of New Constructivist LeadersMARGARET SZABO LINDA LAMBERT

204

Epilogue by Linda Lambert Appendix References Index About the Authors

239 245 257 269 283

F o r e w o r d

I

n the view of public schooling still widely taken for granted, images of hierarchy and management dominate the scene. The young are expected to learn what is doled out to them in texts or classrooms. They are to acknowledge and accept objective realities defined by people in authority; they are to master whatever skills are required to meet market demand. This, after all, is the way of conservatism. Traditions and social realities are not subject to interpretation, nor are they contingent on point of view. Neither the young nor their teachers are expected to say how, from their own situated perspectives, they make sense of the complex world around them. They are not asked to explain how events impinge on their lived experience or what those events mean from their vantage point. The meanings, after all, are considered inherent in what occurs; they are given to the same degree that the classroom chairs are given, the bells that mark off the periods, the principals office door. They are, simply and objectively, there. The last decade, however, has been marked by remarkable challenges to all this, and the domains of educational discourse have been alight with new visions of possibility. Pondering numerous educators changing views, we find it hard not to be reminded of Albert Camus writing (in The Myth of Sisyphus) about the feeling that stage sets are collapsing. One day, he says, the why arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. Beginsthis is important. Against the background of Goals 2000, world class standards, predefined outcome, and the rest, new ideas are finding articulation. There is a coming together of newly honed progressive approaches, qualitative research, and an awareness of multiple realities in the worlds of schooling. For many (including the writers of The Constructivist Leader) these modes of sense-making bring with them what Camus calls the definitive awakening. They cannot imagine a retreat to outmoded behaviorisms or to conceptions of truth as a correspondence with an objectively existent reality. Crucial to their contemporary orientation is the recognition that reality is socially constructed, and that a great number of once silenced people (including students, teachers, and parents) participate in that construction.vii

viii

Foreword

In schools and district offices, where right answers were determined by administrators alone, this represents a breaking of many frames. It argues strongly, therefore, for a theory of constructivist leadership. There is something in the nature of a breakthrough as well in the realization that reciprocal processes within complex educational communities must now take the place of imposed agreements and totalities. Handed down as they so often have been through bureaucratic structures, they have frequently affected people as the consequences of what Hannah Arendt calls rule by nobody. The anonymity of decision making, like the impersonality of so much of what has been handed down, is exposed and challenged in this book. As its arguments develop, all sorts of meanings radiate from such exposures and challenges. They are meanings that have been achieved (and are in the process of being achieved) by diverse thinkers and practitioners in a variety of contexts. Readers will be familiar with such notions as shared inquiry and shared decision making, as they will with the idea of a community of learners pervaded by critical questioning. The names and work of such predecessors as John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Gregory Bateson, Howard Gardner, and others will be familiar as well. The interesting thing, however, is that they now appear in a novel configuration due in part to the writers consulting a rich variety of contemporary psychologists, anthropologists, linguists, narratologists, and practitioners in many dimensions of existing schools. The book is enlivened and strengthened by concrete examples of efforts to reconceive leadership in a school and a school district, both marked by interdependent learning communities. The ideas derived from social and human scientists lose their abstractness and take on new meanings as we find ourselves attending to dialogic conversation and to what Linda Lambert calls partnering and sustaining conversationseach of them interacting with or infusing inquiring conversations geared to problem finding and problem resolution, or with conversations seeking shared intentions and opportunities for reflections on experiences that are open to common understandings. Constructivist leadership is conceived as the reciprocal processes that enable participants in an educational community to construct meanings that lead toward a common purpose about schooling. Dr. Lambert and her colleagues go far beyond both the management ideal and the monological norm. The very notion of reciprocity summons up not only interactions of many kinds but the kinds of imaginative activities that enable people to recognize how those with whom they are involved perceive the common world. Clifford Geertz writes about the importance of regarding the community as the shop in which thoughts are constructed and

Foreword

ix

deconstructed and about how cognition, perception, imagination, and memory must be conceived as themselves, and directly, social affairs. It is with such an approach that Linda Lambert and her exciting co-workers go at the exploration of constructivist leadership. Like Geertz, they hope to make it possible for people inhabiting different worlds to have a genuine and reciprocal impact upon one another. What is fascinating about what they say is the vision of educators, as they strive to render their practice meaningful, defining (yes, and redefining) a common purpose when it comes to schooling. Leadership then becomes an act of release as well as transformation. Persons are freed to envisage what might be and what should be, even as they are supported in their efforts to devise their projects in an always ambiguous world. Storytelling, focused conversation, mentoring, humor, metaphor: all these may lead to new modes of discourse, to new ways of risking a breaking of the frames. Yes, difference must be affirmed as well as coherence, plurality as well as community. This book takes its readers on a remarkable journey through the landscapes of our culture, even as it moves us to see ourselves as collaborators working toward a sea change in public education. The book is scholarly, inclusive, and oddly energizing. It asks its readers to interpret what they find. It asks that marvelous why to arise with the hope that we who choose constructivist leadership can definitely begin. Maxine Greene Teachers College Columbia University

A c k n o w l e d g m e n t s

I

n the 7 years that have elapsed since we constructed the first text together, we have had continuing opportunities to work with communities of learners and with each otherrelationships that have served to deepen our understandings. This version of our work has been made meaningful by the educational leaders who have gone forth and done the work, reshaping the dailiness of their professional lives and creating larger images and possib