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An investigation of the way in which school and community leadership processes influence the role of schools in rural community development

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Johns, S (2004) An investigation of the way in which school and community leadership processes influence the role of schools in rural community development. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

[img] PDF (Front matter)
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[img] PDF (Chapters 1-4)
ch-1-4.pdf | Download (3MB)
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[img] PDF (Ch. 5 & References)
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[img] PDF (Appendix A-G)
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Abstract

Whilst there is nothing new about rural school~ommunity linkages, the growth of schoolcommunity
partnerships in recent years represents a new phase in this symbiotic relationship: one
that is formalised, and supported by government at the policy level. Partnerships are based on a
collective, rather than individual or 'hero leader: view of leadership. and are designed to
facilitate collective learning and problem solving. They facilitate the integration of school and
community resources, and are designed primarily to enhance student outcomes. Schoolcommunity
partnerships also facilitate lifelong learning, but only passing attention has been paid
to their impacl on the broader capacity-building, or social capital. outcomes in rural communities.
Using a qualitative approach, and a case study strategy of inquiry, this study explores the process
of building school~ommunity partnerships, from the perspective of those involved in partnership
development. Five effective school~ommunity partnerships were selected, using a purposive
sampling strategy. Data were collected from multiple sources, including semi-structured
interviews, researcher observation, written documentation, and community perception maps, and
were used in the preparation of case studies of five different rural school--<:ommunity
partnerships. Extensive cross-case analysis was then undertaken to enhance transferability of the
findings.
The study found that effective partnerships are complex and long-term in nature. Viewing
partnership development as a five-stage process through which social capital is built and used, it
is the fourth stage, critical retlection, that is the key to partnership sustainability. This stage is not
adequately recognised in research into partnership development. At this stage partnership identity
is affirmed as successes are recognised and celebrated, and the decision is taken to continue the
partnership learning cycle. Thus, the social capital built over the earlier stages of partnership
development is marshalled at the critical reflection stage, to facilitate further collaborative action.
Specific leadership roles are linked to the five-stage partnership development process. These roles
are weighted towards facilitating the partnership (building social capital amongst partners). Roles
arc not based on formal leadership positions, and are shared amongst school and community
members. Those who undertake specific leadership roles have relevant skills, knowledge and
attributes, as well as a high level of commitment to the partnership. This is not to deny the critical
role of formal school leaders (princip,!ls). They are keyholders to partnership and rural

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2011 07:05
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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