Ethical blind spots in leading for learning: An Australian study
Bezzina, Michael. (2013). Ethical blind spots in leading for learning: An Australian study. Journal of Educational Administration. 51(5), pp. 638 - 654. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-09-2011-0075
Purpose: This study aims to explore the dynamics by which exposure to a moral rationale is given expression in schools, and how this is perceived as impacting on teaching, leadership practice and student outcomes.
Design/methodology/approach: A total of 11 Australian schools were part of a project in which they were supported in applying a conceptual framework involving moral purpose, learning and leadership to self‐selected improvement initiatives. Extensive focus group interviews with the school project teams were analysed to identify recurrent themes, and to illustrate the dynamics of engagement with moral purpose.
Findings: A significant insight that emerges from this study is that the movement towards increased moral sensitivity enhanced commitment to shared purpose. This movement provided a driver for ethically driven behavior. Part of the contribution of the intervention was to draw attention to these elements of moral purpose, which, in turn, increased teacher and leader sensitivity to their operation, and resulted in changed teacher practice and enhanced learning outcomes for students.
Practical implications: The findings of this study highlight the potential of explicit attention to moral purpose in school communities, and suggest some points of emphasis for school leaders who are committed to improvement built on staff commitment.
Originality/value: While many authors signal as a matter of principle the importance of moral purpose in schooling, and in the leadership of change, it is a comparatively under‐researched area in terms of its practical application. This study makes a contribution to addressing that gap.
|Keywords||authentic learning; moral purpose; ethical leadership; shared purpose; learning; ethics; Australia|
|Journal||Journal of Educational Administration|
|Journal citation||51 (5), pp. 638 - 654|
|Publisher||Emerald Publishing Limited|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-09-2011-0075|
|Page range||638 - 654|
|Research Group||School of Education|
File Access Level
|Place of publication||United Kingdom|
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