Virtuous Educational Leadership
Doing the Right Work the Right Way
- Viviane Robinson - University of Auckland, New Zealand
Leadership | Leadership & Management | School Management
Excellent leadership matters
Without excellent leadership, school improvement is impossible, or at least impossible to sustain. But what are the characteristics of an excellent leader? Is general leadership experience and knowledge enough? And how do you practically grow and develop leadership in yourself and others so you can all have a bigger impact on student outcomes?
This integrated, holistic resource explores the virtues that are integral to achieving excellence in educational leadership, while offering practical guidance on how to do the right work in the right way—no matter what challenges you face or student inequities you’re trying to overcome. Features include:
- Practical, research-based applications of virtue theory
- Examples of school leaders’ thinking and actions
- In-depth yet accessible theoretical analysis
- Detailed analysis showing theoretical concepts in practice
- Summaries and reflection questions
The success of your students and teachers is directly linked to your influence, your knowledge and ideas, your personal character, and your ability to focus on the proper purposes of education.
Figure 3.1 Leaders’ Inquiry About the Quality of Teaching
"Leaders can evaluate the quality of teaching by asking the four sets of questions implied by this definition. The questions focus on (1) intended learning outcomes, (2) alignment, (3) student engagement, and (4) student success."
Chapter 1: Three Proper Purposes of Education
"In a world where the responsibilities of educational leaders are constantly expanding, where today’s to-do list is displaced by unanticipated crises, interruptions, and new external demands, it is easy for educational leaders to lose sight of what, among all the important things they could be doing, is more important than the rest."
Preface: Education Leadership Matters
"Until we solve the problem of developing and retaining more excellent educational leaders, we will struggle to reduce the long-standing disparities in student outcomes that plague many Western education systems."
No one combines novel insights and precise ideas like Viviane Robinson. Robinson is as comfortable around the details of the trees as she is in stepping back to take in the forest. You won’t find a more unique and powerful book on leadership—one suited exactly for our times—than Virtuous Educational Leadership.
In Virtuous Educational Leadership, Viviane Robinson has made explicit what I have often described as an X factor in leadership—something that distinguishes excellent leaders from the rest. Her description and portrayal of virtuous leadership provides insights into the dispositions that underpin wise leadership.
Viviane Robinson is one of my favorite educational leadership researchers and writers, and this book illustrates so well why that is so. The school leader plays an essential role in engaging students in deep learning. Robinson offers invaluable insights for how to foster this type of learning through virtuous leadership.
Virtuous Educational Leadership is a gift for all of us searching for guidance in school leadership development. It is both inspiring and practical. Viviane Robinson promotes leadership excellence by showing how virtues are at the very core of leadership and how crucial they are in the face of today’s educational challenges.
Making a positive change in any role, from teacher to principal, requires both a ‘what’ and a ‘how.’ Virtuous Educational Leadership provides a framework for identifying the ‘what’ (collaborative complex problem-solving) and approaching the ‘how’ (virtuous leadership). With Viviane Robinson’s characteristic depth and rigor, the ideas hidden in these pages will empower leaders worldwide.”
Virtuous Educational Leadership is a comprehensive examination of the complex world of school leadership. It draws upon research from a wide range of disciplines, supported by rich analysis, of examples of the work of leaders. Voices from the front lines are expertly interwoven throughout. I highly recommend it.
Educational leaders inhabit a world that expects simplicity to be curated from complexity, certainty from unpredictability, coherence from chaos. And, while the existing literature on educational leadership contains plenty of advice and its recommendations seem intuitively compelling, it is, ultimately, lacking in actionable specificity. Thankfully, Virtuous Educational Leadership is a work of deep practical wisdom that is anchored in theory, acknowledges the critical importance of context, and illustrates clearly how educational leadership is not simply about doing the right work of leadership but also about doing it in the right way.