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hat do we know about leadership?Dempster (2009)In this chapter, Dempster (2009) seeks answers to the question of what is known about leadership. Whilst frameworks and standards lay out the expectations of what is acceptable and describe the sort of school leaders that are needed, Dempster (2009) suggests that they are unclear and lack empirical evidence. As a result of this,  the moral purpose of education of enhancing people’s lives through learning retreats to the background (Dempster, 2009). The author reviews recent and relevant literature to tie together the concepts and practises of context, human agency and purpose to show what should be the focus of leadership in order to achieve moral purpose of schools (Dempster, 2009).Dempster (2009) suggests that leaders will behave differently in various contexts and times which closely resonates with Lingard, Hayes, Mills and Christie (2003) contingency and situational leadership theory, where focus shifts from “heroic” view of a leader to the one that takes consideration of behaviours and context that the school is in. Dempster (2009) and Davies, Ellison and Bowring Carr (2004) both agree that leaders must be able to read and understand the schools nature, organisation and local immediate community (micro-context) to bring change. In addition, Dempster (2009) provides leaders with strategies and practises to deal with factors of micro context in different cultural settings. In contrast, Fullan (2003) argues that a lot of school reforms are based on students, teachers and administrators, what they should know and be able to do. Although they will play a key role in change, it is not enough to bring change to already existing systems and situations, instead it should be focused on changing the conditions and culture of the schools (Fullan, 2003). In addition, Hargreaves and Fink (2009) provides an example of successful education system in Finland, where the National Board provides a “steering system” for national curriculum where schools are given the freedom of constructing their own curriculum adjusted to the students and context that they are in. Throughout the chapter Dempster (2009) argues that human agency is one of the fundamentals of leadership where if the moral purpose of school is to be achieved, it should be done with and through others where hierarchies no longer exist.  Whilst the author discusses the benefits of distributed leadership, it could be argued that Dempster (2009) has somewhat “romantic” idea of a leader where no resistance is faced by one. Leaders might face resistance from workforce, governors and parents, where resistance could be regarding moral, cultural, personal, religious and financial purposes. Senge (2006) argues that whilst many leaders will have a personal vision, it may never be shared with everyone. Leaders will encounter difficulties where people are compliant rather than committed to the actual cause (Senge, 2006)  As well as that, Davies et al (2004) suggests that when change takes place there should be an open discussion where staff consider the potential driving and hindering forces of change, for example, if there are opportunities for professional development, staff might think that they are not good enough as they are. Although Dempster (2009) provides us with somewhat idealistic view of leadership and learning, he arms teachers with important fundamental ideas to understanding and accommodating leadership in micro and macro-context where change requires collective human agency who work towards shared vision. (556)

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