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M.G. Villaseñor1, R. Valero1, I. Moreno2

1Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (MEXICO)
2University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
Educational leadership is an issue that is growing widely into the agendas and official discourses of various countries and educational systems around the world. In this regard, Leithwood (2007) notes, 'Leadership is a hot topic these days, reformers depend on it' (p.41). And of course it is a subject matter of utmost importance, since the emerging literature on this subject in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, suggests a positive and direct impact of educational leadership on student learning, and effective improvement of schools. Leithwood et al. (2006) argue that school leadership is only second in importance as a direct influence on student learning. The literature supporting the above arguments is extensive and varied, resulting in the rapid growth of interest in this field. Due to the importance of educational leadership is taking, we decided to perform a study to determine the perceptions of students in a Normal School (Teacher Education School) in Baja California, Mexico in relation to their training in educational leadership. If educational leadership is emerging as a significantly relevant issue, we have to ask ourselves, Are we training our future teachers as educational leaders? Are we giving them the tools they need to embrace effective educational leadership? Therefore, the aim of this paper is to account for the perception of students regarding their training in educational leadership.

The work is performed under the epistemological theory of Social Representations and a paradigm of complementarity. We approached a group of students about to graduate (8th semester) of a normal school in the state of Baja California to voluntarily participate in an online survey where they completed a questionnaire consisting of 35 multiple choice questions and 4 open questions. This took place during the month of May 2014 in the city of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Subsequently a profound and exhaustive descriptive analysis was performed.

Results and Discussion:
Only 66% of respondents claim to understand what educational leadership is, however over 70% claim to ignore relevant models of educational leadership such as participatory, instructional, transformational and distributed. The model which most of the participants knew (84%) is managerial leadership, even though this model is not linked with change, but with permanence (Bush,2008). 78% of participants considered educational leadership to be a significant competency within their teacher training, however 68% of the participants did not consider themselves as educational leaders in training. 79% of participants agree that leadership is not addressed within the formal curriculum. Only 12% of respondents consider their professors' teach them how to become effective educational leaders.

Conclusions :
Participants are:
-Highly aware that their curriculum is not addressing educational leadership issues.
-Mostly insecure when in comes to considering themselves as leaders.
-Lacking of knowledge when it comes to leadership models.
-Highly aware of the importance that leadership represents in educational issues.

Thus, there is a suggested necessity in teacher education within the context of this study for addressing educational leadership issues in formal teaching, hence ‘specific preparation is linked to the evidence that the quality of leadership is vital for school improvement and student outcomes’ (Bush,2008,p.25).