Abstract Thinking


Over the next few months I intend to attempt to write a paper on the Seven Sides of  Educational Leadership for possible publication in an academic journal.

The first part of the process is to come up with an abstract.  Does the following: a) make any sense; b) provide an expectation about what the paper might be about; and c) entice the reader to read the full paper.

Changing the Metaphor; Changes the Theory; Changes the Practice: Developing a Multiple Metaphor Model of Educational Leadership.
Existing models of educational leadership are dominated by approaches, which try to reduce the change process to a series of sequential steps, in the assumption that if done in the correct order they will result in success. Such thinking has led educational leaders into bureaucratic, technical and mechanistic leadership approaches.

The approach described here taps into educational leaders’ intuitive appreciation of the change process and develops a meaningful tool with which to analyse, plan and effect ‘real’ cultural change in the complex environment of education.

Throughout human history metaphors have been recognised as a way in which to help people understand and interact with phenomena which otherwise would be too abstract and too complex. The multiple metaphor model uses a kaleidoscope of seven inter-connecting metaphors which have emerged and been tested over a ten year period in a variety of education settings.

The model, referred to in this paper as the Seven Sides of Educational Leadership, enables the leader to effect substantial and sustainable change through a form of leadership that is more suited to the challenges facing education in the 21st century, than the technical model of leadership that so dominates current leadership practice around the world.

3 thoughts on “Abstract Thinking

  1. The first paragraph, with step-by-step approaches leading into bureaucratic (etc) approaches, is a bit circular.

    It might be better to say a bit more about what you mean by “such thinking”. Perhaps the key point here is that making a change in education can’t be like operating a lever on a predictable, stable machine because the number of different perspectives involved mean that the problem situations cannot be defined in any unique way.

  2. I think it reads well.

    One point though…Towards the end of the Abstract you have mentioned a reliance on technical model of leadership practice and also earlier processes that have lead educational leaders to technical practices. It might be a good idea to justify this statement i.e. an example. Can you really say for sure that technical models “dominate” without evidence?

    Love the kalidescope metaphor though! I like the idea of all the components moving inside the kalidescope and alligning in different ways ( systems thinking and evolving)to produce different focus and vision.
    Have you seen Colin Beard’s experiential learning Combination Lock? – a series of tumblers moving indepentantly and alligning in different ways producing different results, learning outcomes etc.- great stuff.

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