SOCIAL JUSTICE LEADERSHIP IN SPANISH SCHOOLS: RESEARCHER PERSPECTIVES
1 California State University Long Beach (UNITED STATES)
2 University of Lleida (SPAIN)
3 University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:This qualitative study builds upon the work of the International Study of Leadership Development Network (ISLDN), a multi-country project to examine leadership of school principals and social justice in areas with marginalized communities (McNae et al. 2017).
We still live in times and places where some groups are viewed as less and not seen as quite as worthy at others. Children and adults with special needs may be pushed to the side or ignored. Women and LGBT groups are demeaned and persecuted in some countries. Warring groups will often see the enemy as less than human and deserving of respect. “Marginalization,” then is a common term in social justice discourse.
The counter to marginalization is inclusion. Social justice is the constant examination of ways that people are excluded. A practice that may have been accepted in the past can later be brought to consciousness as discrimination and mistreatment. Oppression can then be fought by those who are oppressed (Freire, 1970).
Cribb and Gewirtz (2003) described three kinds of social justice: distributive or economic justice to assure equal opportunity as well as a minimum standard of living; cultural justice, which includes recognition of a person individually and as a member of an ethnic group; and associational justice, which refers to encouraging the participation of all. Woods and Roberts (2013) added a fourth type of social justice to Cribb and Gewirtz’s framework, developmental justice, which means a commitment to develop people’s full capacities. These principles of social justice are similar to the principles of a holistic democracy, which include power sharing, transforming dialogue, holistic meaning, and holistic well-being.
Murillo and Hernandez (2013) wrote about the responsibilities of a social justice leader to develop vision, promote a school culture of social justice, collaborate with families and expand student social capital. This emphasis on social justice is similar to the work of Carolyn Shields (2016) who extended the field by adding a critical dimension to transformational leadership, called transformative leadership.
The study identified 12 experts in the field of educational leadership and social justice, who represented diverse regions of Spain. Semi-structured interviews of 90-minutes addressed the following questions:
- What is the biggest social justice challenge in your region of Spain?
- What should be the role of schools in addressing this challenge?
- How can school leaders in your region meet the challenge?
- What barriers must be overcome?
- What are the common issues of educational leadership across Spain?
- What are the issues unique to your region?
The researchers also analyzed a recent article written by each expert that identified their point of view. The interviews were transcribed, a summary of each expert’s testimony was written and the issues in each region were compared to one another. These narratives were examined for common themes (Denzin and Lincoln 1994). The results are instructive for educational policy makers in each region to determine the type of support and education needed for principals. The issues in these regions of Spain can also influence the discussion of transformative leadership in other countries and other contexts.
Keywords: Leadership, school principals, global issues, Spain.