UNDERSTANDING OF LEADERSHIP – RESEARCH ON THINKING OF ERASMUS INTENSIVE PROGRAMME PARTICIPANTS
Jagiellonian University, Institute of Public Affairs (POLAND)
Regardless of the decades of development, educational management theory still needs ideas that not only can help to understand and describe, but also stimulate organizational development of contemporary educational organizations according to their specific needs. The concept of leadership seems to be one of such good ideas. It has been used by many authors in discussions aiming to define skills and competencies of people responsible for school management.
Leadership can be understood differently and most of those different understandings as well as programmes designed to train people to become leaders were developed in the context of general management theory that took practice of business organizations as the only reality. The presented paper has two important aims: firstly, it tries to define the specificity of educational management pointing out its basic elements focused on individual development as the main educational value; secondly, it presents the proposal of a training cycle especially designed to create conditions of educational leadership competencies development.
To reach those aims the author uses the example of Erasmus Intensive Programme (EIP) called ‘Leadership for Democratic Citizenship in European Schools’. To address the issue of different understandings of leadership it presents the results of the research on reflections of the participants of that programme. The research has been carried out on a group of 120 students from six European countries: England, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain and Turkey taking part in EIP courses during the period from July 2011 to July 2013. They were asked to define their understanding of leadership and their answers were analyzed to show different approaches that can be identified in thinking of young educational leaders. The paper also describes the main features of EIP course that allow to create proper conditions for the development of educational leadership competencies.