Placing inclusion at the heart of things: the tricky challenge for educational leadership

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The theory and practice of leadership is often orientated around the central ideas of successfully negotiating challenges, and integrating disparate elements into a well-organised system. This chapter argues that the concept of inclusion fundamentally disrupts this way of understanding leadership.

The discussion starts with an exploration of the notion of inclusive leadership, which aims to embrace employee diversity, before examining the idea of leadership for inclusion, which specifically aims to embrace learner diversity. Both formulations are relevant to leadership in early childhood education. The chapter discusses the practical steps leaders can take to develop leadership for inclusion, through the ways they work with the local community, or the ways they develop the understanding of inclusion within their organisation. The role of leadership development programmes to achieve positive cultural shift in terms of leadership thinking on inclusion is also discussed, as are the concepts of distributed or shared leadership, which appear to provide a supportive and sympathetic leadership theory for inclusion.

Finally, the chapter explores some key areas of leadership activity to question whether they are essentially at odds with an inclusive pedagogy philosophy. One is the role of leadership to integrate complexity into a well-ordered system, and the other is leadership as the application of systematic influence. Unless leadership places the concept of inclusion at the heart of its practice, it is argued, these two existing ways of understanding leadership are likely to compromise any commitment to inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInclusive Pedagogies for Early Childhood Education
EditorsCarmel Conn, Alison Murphy
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)978-0367756130, 978-0367756123
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022

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