Transforming the Currency of Educational Leadership into Cultural and              Social Capital as Transformational Lead...
Conceptual Perspectives on Educational Leadership as Policy and Practice:                            21st Century Schools ...
description of the features of 21st century schools based on standards and stakeholderresponsibilities, individually and c...
practices, and working hard to incorporate these new ideas and practices into our       operating model of the world. (pp....
pedagogical realignment for teaching and learning. More specifically, “Transformational leadersstimulate followers to be i...
however, gets forged based upon the capacity at which the task involved is considered to beacceptable or valued by the oth...
takes to achieve (Harlem Children’s Zone, 2010). Social capital is embodied within thistransformational leadership approac...
Day, C. (2000). Beyond transformational leadership. Educational Leadership, 56-59.Elmore, R. (2003). A plea for strong pra...
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Dr. Darrel Cleveland


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Dr. Darrel Cleveland, Published by National FORUM Journals, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, Houston, Texas -

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Dr. Darrel Cleveland

  1. 1. Transforming the Currency of Educational Leadership into Cultural and Social Capital as Transformational Leadership RoSusan D. Bartee, PhD University of Mississippi ABSTRACT ‘What we know and what we must be able to do’ remains a simply stated, yetcomplex endeavor for the educational system of leadership in 21st century schools. Thecurrency of educational leadership and its capacity to exchange into effective educationalleadership become indicative of what transpires within the context of schools irrespective ofthe backgrounds of students and stakeholders. In effect, transformational leadership usesthe R2 of resources as cultural capital and relationships as social capital to produce theresults of a transferable model of leadership practices for 21st century schools.Key Words: transformational leadership, cultural and social capital ‘What we know and what we must be able to do’ remains a simply stated, yet complexendeavor for the educational system of leadership in 21st century schools. The ‘what we knows’of leadership are grounded in theoretical constructs that offer frameworks for understandingmulti-faceted dynamics of educational leadership. Theoretical constructs of educationalleadership are based upon historical and contemporary perspectives, demonstrating howleadership functions within institutional roles and relationships, as well as individual behaviorsand boundaries (Hoy & Miskel, 2008; Howell & Costley, 2006). The ‘what we must be able todos’ of educational leadership are practical, evidence-based approaches used to address emergingissues or emanate challenges in school contexts. Particularly, given the era of NCLB, educationalleaders subscribe to empirically-based practices for achieving desired student outcomes. In many ways, the successful integration of theory and practice is exemplary intransformational leadership, given its capacity to foster selfless commitment toward a collectivecause irrespective of critical differences between the stakeholders and the cause being served.The transferable currency or embodied capital of transformational leadership, in essence,demonstrates how “our [educational leaders’] role goes beyond the bounded organizationalcontext and extends into the wider social context within which schools are located and fromwhich our students come” (Shields, 2006, p. 64). Accordingly, this conceptual paper on transformational leadership for 21st centuryschools examines how traditional models of leadership inhibit the capacity to change or recreateschool contexts. It also examines how transformational leadership uses the R2 of resources andrelationships, with resources as cultural capital and relationships as social capital to produce atransferable model for leadership practices for 21st century schools. 85
  2. 2. Conceptual Perspectives on Educational Leadership as Policy and Practice: 21st Century Schools and Capital FormsThe role of leadership is fundamental to the administration and governance of organizationalcontexts. Hoy and Miskel (2008) suggest the following definition of leadership: Leadership is a social process in which a member or members of a group or organization influence the interpretation of internal and external events, the choice of goals or desired outcomes, organization of work activities, individual motivation and abilities, power relations, and shared orientations. Moreover, as a specialized role and social influence process, leadership is comprised of both rational and emotional elements with no assumptions about the purpose or outcome of the influence efforts.Leadership or, rather, the effectiveness of leadership is linked to the influence occurring onmacro- and/or micro-levels. From the macro levels of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy andprocedures to the micro-levels of interactions and interests of students, parents, teachers, andother primary stakeholders, educational leadership becomes the symbiotic representation ofpeople, policy, and precedent. The process-oriented nature of leadership positions it as beingmore complex than an educational system, based upon inputs and outputs. Fundamental assumptions of traditional leadership, nonetheless, posture leadership as anorganizational function which is both rational and technical in its conception and projection (Hoy& Miskel, 2008; Shields, 2006; Cline & Necochea, 2000; Fullan, 1999). More specifically, Day(1990) indicates how “power with versus power over” becomes a challenge for top-downapproaches of leadership (p. 58). Such assumption negates consideration about the impact ofinstitutional or organizational factors upon individual attainment or performance outcomes.Other fundamental assumptions of traditional leadership indicate a focus on inherited values andhuman nature (Gorton & Alston, 2009; Fairholm 2000). Such assumptions emphasize subjectivecomponents of leadership driven by personality and not the demands of the position.Recognizing the significance, status-quo theoretical perspectives of traditional leadershipbecome critical to understanding the implications of transformational leadership within 21stcentury schools. A fundamental question in this discussion on leadership practices for 21st century schoolsis: What are 21st century schools? The role of 21st century schools is to prepare studentsholistically in cognitive, affective, and social ways to meet societal demands (Helm, Turckes, &Hinton, 2010; Rotherham & Willingham, 2009; Manthey, 2008; Hardy, 2007). Thematicimplications of knowledge, skills, and dispositions become the shared characteristics of theholistic approach to achieve desired outcomes. Bassett (2005) situates 21st century schools asespousing a leadership vision for proficiency, fluency, multicultural literacy, and high-qualityperformance for students in various areas. Proficiency is represented in the type of curriculum;fluency is represented in areas beyond technical competencies into the non-technical areas ofleadership, decision-making, and ethics; multicultural literacy is inclusive of those individualswho are familiar with the history and experiences of diverse groups, and high-qualityperformance involves commitment to extracurricular activities (Bassett, 2005). The leadershipvision is inclusive of those non-academic, un-traditional, and in-formal factors which exclusivelyimpact the educational process. A synthesis of these major components can be found inWaterman’s (2009) report, 21st Century schools: A world class education for every child. Thereport, issued by the Great Britain Department for Children, School, and Families, provides a 86
  3. 3. description of the features of 21st century schools based on standards and stakeholderresponsibilities, individually and collectively. A graphic description of these components appearsbelow.On an individual basis, the illustration suggests that 21st century schools require specializedcurricular and pedagogical approaches to enhance the teaching and learning process. On acollective basis, the graphic indicates that standardized approaches for teaching and learningfrom the realms of educational policy and practice must be established. Conceptions of diverse forms of capital, nonetheless, become useful for understandingthe role of 21st century schools and their capacity to effect transformative change. Bartee andBrown (2007) assert the following: “Distribution of capital in home and school settings affectsthe types of educational outcomes and the quality of lifelong opportunities individuals are able toenjoy” (p. 1). In essence, capital is valuable in meaningful ways, unique internally and externallyto the school context. The form of cultural capital consists of “acquired knowledge that stemsfrom affiliations with particular traditions” (Bartee & Brown, 2007, p. 53). Cultural capital isessentially acquired through the academic curriculum provided by the schools and thenonacademic experiences provided by the home. The form of social capital is comprised ofnetworks and associations through which access is made available (Bartee & Brown, 2007;Bourdieu, 1984; Bourdieu, 1990; Coleman 1988). Social capital is acquired as a human resourcewhich personal or professional relationships offer. In light of NCLB, the policy and practice of educational leadership demand strategic anddeliberate approaches to attain accountability and achievement without compromising theintegrity of the student learner. Elmore (2003) indicates the need for a shared approach towardleadership among system-level administrators to address macro- and micro-levels involvingschool improvement; five parameters are suggested for consideration: 1) Internal accountability precedes external accountability…Educators are usually people to whom things happen, not people who make things happen. (p. 9) 2) Improvement is a developmental process that proceeds in stages; it is not a linear process…We learn in part by tearing down old preconceptions, trying out new ideas and 87
  4. 4. practices, and working hard to incorporate these new ideas and practices into our operating model of the world. (pp. 9-10) 3) Leadership is a cultural practice…Leaders understand that improving school performance requires transforming a fundamentally weak instructional core and the culture that surrounds it into a strong explicit body of knowledge about powerful teaching and learning that is accessible to those who are willing to learn it. (p. 10) 4) Powerful leadership is distributed because the work of instructional improvement is distributed…Schools that are improving seldom, if ever, engage exclusively in role-based professional development, that is, professional learning in which people in different roles are segregated from one another. Instead, learning takes place across roles. Improving schools pay attention to who knows what and how that knowledge can strengthen the organization. (p. 10) 5) Knowledge is not necessarily where you think it is…Most of the knowledge about improvements is in the schools where improvement is occurring, and most of those schools are, by definition, schools with a history of low performance. (p. 10)These views regarding school improvement efforts mirror characteristics of transformationalleadership. Transformational leadership is not status quo: “Followers become leaders and leadersbecome change agents and ultimately transform the organization” (Hoy & Miskel, 2009, p. 448).Traditional leadership maintains the status quo. Transformational leadership is not stagnant, butcomprised of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, andindividualized consideration, the four I’s (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Traditional leadershipreproduces similar outcomes. The intersection of educational leadership and diverse forms ofcapital within 21st century schools provides the framework for examining the implications ofcurrency of exchange leadership for transforming school contexts. Intersection of Transformational Leadership and Cultural Capital An important uniqueness about 21st century schools and their leadership practicesis the shared focus on knowledge and the inherent value it possesses. Knowledge is eitherconsidered academically-generated (school) or non-academically-generated (experience).Irrespective of the source, acquired knowledge informs capacities to think, reason, analyze, anddecide. In both cases, transformational leaders understand the need for diversified curriculatoward improving student outcomes (Sanchez, 2003; Wagner et. al, 2006). Such (non)academicknowledge becomes a resource of cultural capital for students and currency valued within the(ex) change of educational leadership. Diversified curricula prepare students with the requisite cultural capital to be informedabout legitimate content matters acquired from school. Sanchez (2003) asserts the following:“…academic programs must compel students to go beyond memorizing a hodgepodge of facts.Schools must help students become independent learners who think…apply their knowledge,reflect on their learning...schools must help our children create, find…overwhelming amounts ofknowledge and information...” (p. 31). There is a clear recognition of the need to be informedabout traditional content knowledge which, in essence, aligns with the rational, traditionalapproach of leadership toward maintaining status quo. What becomes different, however, is theapproach taken in the dissemination of the knowledge. Bass and Riggio (2006) viewtransformational leadership as intellectual stimulation that encourages the delivery of content and 88
  5. 5. pedagogical realignment for teaching and learning. More specifically, “Transformational leadersstimulate followers to be innovative and creative by questioning old assumptions, traditions, andbeliefs; reframing problems; and approaching old situations in new ways” (Hoy & Miskel, 2008,p. 447). Diversified curricula demonstrate the value of experiences acquired within the familycontext as an acceptable form of knowledge. This type of (non)academic knowledge is to beintegrated into the learning process as a venue for bridging the knowledge gap between the homeand school. Neuman (2010) states the following: High quality programs often involve students in project-based learning experiences that give them opportunities to discover and reflect on phenomena in their real worlds and communities…Such activities give voice to students’ need to engage in productive and meaningful work. (p. 33)Consequently, this approach authenticates the experiences of students from diverse backgroundswhich often get marginalized in the larger societal context. Bass and Riggio (2006) offer asecond dimension of transformational leadership that promotes individualized consideration withits focus on the holistic needs of the students involved. Hoy and Miskel (2008) advance thisassumption as illustrated in the following: “Individualized consideration means thattransformational leaders pay particular attention to each individual’s needs for achievement andgrowth” (p. 447). In many ways, the leadership model exemplified by Capital Preparatory Magnet Schoolin Hartford, Connecticut demonstrates how the cultivation of cultural capital becomes amanifestation of the vision of building a community of change agents as espoused by thevisionary Dr. Steve Perry (Capital Preparatory Magnet School, 2010). The mission of CapitalPreparatory Magnet School is identified as “a year round college preparatory school designed toengage students in social justice themes exploring issues of equality, democracy, economicopportunity, intellectual freedoms, environmental protection and human rights” (CapitalPreparatory Magnet School, 2010). The focus of using knowledge as a form of social justiceinforms the thought processes of the students and its stakeholders. Given that one of the majorgraduation requirements is a research-based social justice project where students are required toexplore a problem through data collection and analysis, where students gain meaningful practicalexperiences based upon their capacity to transfer their curricular, theory-generated model ofbecoming skilled information processors, collaborators, empathetic and knowledgeable citizens,and problem solvers into something meaningful (Capital Preparatory Magnet School, 2010).Consequently, it is not surprising that Capital Preparatory Magnet School is being touted as oneof America’s Best High Schools, and its currency and capital transfer into sending everygraduate to a four-year college. Capital Preparatory Magnet School is transformationalleadership in action. Intersection of Transformational Leadership and Social Capital Another characteristic of 21st century schools and their leadership practices is themutually reciprocating element involving relationships between institutions and individuals. Likeknowledge, (non)traditional skills are acquired through academic or nonacademic experienceswhich provide technical competencies to perform a given task. The quality of relationships, 89
  6. 6. however, gets forged based upon the capacity at which the task involved is considered to beacceptable or valued by the other party. Transformational leaders recognize the need forestablishing relationships with multiple stakeholders who may or may not fit the status quo(Hoyle, 2001; Wagner et. al, 2006). Such un-traditional skills become useful in relationshipsaffording social capital for students and currency valued within the (ex) change of educationalleadership. The relationships established between the educational leaders and respective internal andexternal stakeholders offer more access and opportunities for students to be involved. Walser inManthey (2008) indicates 21st century skills as the following: “critical thinking, problem solving,collaboration, written and oral communication, creativity, self-direction, leadership, adaptability,responsibility, and global awareness” (p. 15). From an internal perspective, these are skills whichneed to be developed within the context of the relationships between the student and teacher,student and administrator, and the student and other students. While traditional leadershipconsiders relationships as naturally evolving around personal interests, transformational leadersconsider internal relationships as goal-oriented and, therefore, investments must be made indifferent ways to forge trust and buy-in. In transformational leadership, idealized influence, thethird dimension, serves as a motivating force to be part of something greater and larger than theindividual self (Bass & Riggio, 2006). “Idealized influence builds trust and respect in followersand provides the basis for accepting radical and fundamental changes in the ways individuals andorganizations do their work” (p. 446). From an external perspective, the relationships of social capital as established or inheritedby the educational leader, provide the venue to encourage involvement in extracurricularactivities. Extracurricular activities prepare students with skill sets that prepare them for life indifferent ways. Sanchez (2003) asserts the following: School must also help our children develop into well-adjusted individuals who can thrive in a world that is increasingly characterized by difference, diversity, and rapid change. Our children must be able to easily navigate this world of difference if they’re to succeed…Finally, if our children are to be prepared to succeed in this 21st century world and, in fact, to transform it into a good place in which to live and work, they must be both socially and environmentally responsible; they must be team players of our communities and society. So, we must help our children develop the communication, interaction and civic skills to live in a world that is high touch as well as high tech: a world that is characterized as much by interdependency as by diversity. (p. 32) Extracurricular activities become the gateway for students to gain social capital and to geta first-hand understanding about the importance of relationships and the skills in them. Thefourth dimension of transformation in the Bass and Riggio (2006) model, inspirationalmotivation, encourages individuals to be involved because of their capacity to make a difference.“Transformational leaders energize people by projecting an attractive and optimistic future,emphasizing ambitious goals, and creating idealized visions for the organization and clearlycommunicating to followers that the vision is attainable” (Hoy & Miskell, 2008, p. 447). Many of the tenets of the transformational leadership model are demonstrated within thevision of the Harlem Children’s Zone and the visionary Mr. Geoffrey Canada. The HarlemChildren’s Zone identifies best-practice programs for children of every age, through college.This program illustrates the fundamental principles of helping students, in a sustained way, tohave access and start as early as possible to create a network of people who understand what it 90
  7. 7. takes to achieve (Harlem Children’s Zone, 2010). Social capital is embodied within thistransformational leadership approach since it integrates a (non)traditional skill of relationshipbuilding and network access as part of its curricular approach. Through the cultivation of socialcapital, the idea is that students will be surrounded with access to human resources who offersystems of enduring support and quality information until a tipping point is reached (HarlemChildren’s Zone, 2010). The transformational leadership within the Harlem Children’s Zoneshows how significant concern for the follower’s beliefs and values are critical toward sustainingthe buy-in and inspiration of the followers, as well as the capacity to generate results. Suchefforts have received national attention from President Barack Obama as he encouraged thecreation of "Promise Neighborhoods" across the country, based on the comprehensive, data-driven approach of the HCZ Project (Harlem Children’s Zone, 2010). Harlem Children’s Zone isa unique intersection of social capital and transformational leadership as a twenty-first centuryschool. Conclusion In this literature review, there are several implications of transformational leadership for21st century schools. The conceptual perspectives on transformational leadership offer a usefulframework for examining nontraditional ways of approaching “what we know” and “what wemust be able to do.” The four I’s, as articulated by Bass and Riggio (2006), influence,inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration, need to beintegrated within the context of school in order to foster a teaching and learning environmentwhere all students can be successful. The integration of capital forms and transformationalleadership is unlike traditional forms of leadership, given its focus on expanding access to groupswho are non-traditional, who do not fit the status quo, and who do not have privilege to qualitynetworks and informational sources. Simply stated, what 21st century schools must know and beable to do is understand how the currency of transformational leadership is transferable intoinfrastructural capacities which generate cultural and social capital and thereby can be used as amechanism for improving educational outcomes for students and stakeholders alike. ReferencesBartee, R. D., & Brown II, M. C. (2007). School matters: Why African-American students need multiple forms of capital. New York, NY: Peter Lang.Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Basset, P. F. (2005). Reengineering schools for the 21st century. Phi Delta Kappan, 75-78.Bourdieu, P. (1984). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education. New York, NY: Greenwood Press.Capital Preparatory Magnet School. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.capitalprep.orgCline, Z., & Necochea, (2000). Socialization paradox: A challenge for educational leaders. International Journal Leadership in Education, 3(2), 151-158.Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95-120. 91
  8. 8. Day, C. (2000). Beyond transformational leadership. Educational Leadership, 56-59.Elmore, R. (2003). A plea for strong practice. Educational Leadership, 6-10.Fairholm, G. W. (2000). Perspectives on leadership: From the science of management to its spiritual heart. Westport, CT: Praeger.Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. Philadelphia, PA: Falmer.Gorton, R., & Alston, J. A. (2009). School leadership and administration: Important concepts, case studies, and simulations. New York, NY: McGraw & Hill.Harlem’s Children Zone. (2010). Retrieved from, L (2007). The skill set: What do graduates need to be successful in the 21st century? American School Board Journal, 18-20.Harris, J., Turckes, S., & Hinton, K. (2010). A habitat for 21st century learning. Educational Leadership, 66-69.Howell, J. P., & Costley, D. L. (2006). Understanding behaviors for effective leadership (2nd ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Hoyle, J. R. (2001). Administering learning environments in the twenty-first century. Theory into Practice, 250-254.Manthey, G. (2008). Attaining 21st century skills in a complex world.Neuman, S. B. (2010). Empowered—After school. Educational Leadership, 30-36.Sanchez, F. (November 2003). Skills for a knowledge-based economy. Educational Leadership, 30-33.Schmoker, M. (2008/2009). Measuring what matters. Educational Leadership, 70-74.Ohm, K. (2010). Practicing leadership. Educational Leadership, 32-34.Rotherham, A. J. & Willingham, D. (2009). 21st century skills: The challenges ahead. Educational Leadership, 16-21.Sanchez, F. (2003). Skills for a knowledge-based economy. Leadership, 30-33.Shields, C. M. (2006). Creating spaces for value-based conversations: The role of schools leaders in the 21st century. Leadership and Management, 34, 62-81.Umphrey, J. (2010). Toward 21st century supports. The Education Digest, 48-53.Wagner, T., Kegan, R., Lahey, L., Lemons, R., Garnier, J., Helsing, D., Howell, A., Rasmussen, H. T. (2006). Change leadership: A practical guide to transforming our schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Waterman, C. (2009). The 21st century school—at the heart of the community. Education Journal, 114, 32-33. AuthorRoSusan D. Bartee is Associate Professor, Department of Leadership and Counselor Education,School of Education, at the University of Mississippi. 92