Ironically, the concept of 'educational leadership' is well concealed by its hype, and lies in stark contrast with the uncritical adoption of (new) ideas of leadership and management thought, school design, and the techniques of evidence based decision making. The current task is to take up the challenge of complex social, political and cultural influences, uncertain economic conditions, ever advancing technologies and increasing diverse student populations. In short, our challenge as educational leadership scholars and practitioners is to figure out what our work as leaders should be in new times. Drawing loosely on the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, and a continued research agenda, in this paper I outline a framework for educational leadership that can be measured, but is not prescriptive. The central argument of this paper is that viewing leadership as a complex social activity that is not directly observable has the prospect of moving scholarship and our understanding beyond the superficial measurement of what is directly observed to a thick description of educational leadership. Such a move, privileges the philosophical and scholarly elements of being a principal over the leadership and managerial. I argue that this is what is needed in the leadership of schools for the future and a framework for preparing the next generation of school leaders.
AARE 2009 International Education Research Conference: Inspiring Innovative Research in Education, (AARE 2009). Proceedings of the AARE 2009 International Education Research Conference: Inspiring Innovative Research in Education (Canberra 29 November - 3 December, 2009)