What you will study
The module is divided into five sections around the key concepts of agency, professional learning and change.
The first provides an overview of the field and introduces key concepts of agency, knowledge, power and identity. It explains some of the research skills you will develop including searching the literature and reading critically. It helps you to start to reflect on your professional practice through a learning journal and forum discussions with other students from many settings.
The second section looks at views of leadership and challenges some commonly held notions of what it means to be a leader. You will start with your own practice and consider issues to do with agency, power and structure, and how they impact on you and other stakeholders. You will read individual research articles and develop critical reading skills and you will discuss with your peers in the tutor group forum the impacts on leadership in different educational contexts including Health, HE and Schools. The first assignment is linked to this section of the module.
The third section looks at leading professional learning. Here you will explore characteristics of effective professional development, linking your own experience with evidence from research and theoretical constructs such as power, agency and views of knowledge. Different approaches to professional learning will be examined and analysed, including networks, communities of practice, and practitioner research and implications on the leadership for professional learning. You will continue to develop skills in searching for relevant literature and reflecting critically by engaging in the discussions in your tutor group forum. This section leads to a second assignment.
The fourth section of the module considers the leadership of educational change. You will examine theories of change and the management of change. You will analyse the practice(s) in your own setting in the light of these theories and concepts such as agency, power and identity. You will further extend your ability to engage critically with the literature (and your own practice) and to synthesise evidence from a range of sources. The structured tutor group forum discussions will enable you to collaborate with your peers to deepen your understanding of the issues of educational change, drawing on a wider range of contexts and multiple perspectives. The third assignment will focus on the leadership of educational change, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your growing expertise in making use of the literature and your ability to use concepts and theories explored in the module to analyse practice.
The final section provides the opportunity to review and critically reflect on the module as a whole, pulling together all of the strands that have been addressed and consolidating your understandings and research competences in preparation for the final assessment (EMA) which accounts for 50% of your overall grade.
As you progress through the module you will progressively take on greater responsibility for managing your own learning. Studying the module requires an average of 15 hours per week, moving from guided study to independent study as you progress. Throughout, there is an expectation you will participate in both tutor group discussions (as part of your guided study) and module forum discussions (as part of your independent study). The tutor group forums feed directly into the assignments.
Improvement in your leadership practice is an integral part of the module and the recording of your own professional development is an aspect that runs throughout. You will be guided in how you can recognise and capture these skills.