Topic outline

  • The concept of educational leadership. 

    It is important to define the concept of educational leadership. Educational leadership does not mean a narrow definition about leading the educational institute as the head of the school or institute. It does not take place in a vacuum, or just enacted by leaders. Educational leadership is carried out in specific social and cultural contexts. This means that education is part of society and educational policies direct our endeavours. In its own context, educational leadership focuses on two concepts: education and leadership.

    Educational leadership has occasionally been associated with the concept of school management. There are two ways to consider the terms educational leadership and school management. First, they can be taken as synonyms or the second way, there is a distinction between management and leadership. The management is task-oriented and the leadership is interpersonal-oriented which means that the leader is oriented towards people; they inspire others with their values and ideas; they motivate and convince them.

    However, the leadership is not a person title or position and it does not imply activity, i.e. management. Leadership is the abstract capital, knowledge, expertise, ability, will and emotion of a community. Although leadership is invisible, it is still known and conscious.

    Management and leadership can be understood as two different aspects of the same phenomenon, no opposites of each other.

    In the following video Mikael Risku and Panu Forsman open the concepts of education leadership.

    Slides 4 and 5

    In the following video, Anita Siltanen, head of ECEC centre, considers what educational leadership is in early childhood education and care.
    Note: There are subtitles available in English (a quotation mark at the bottom right corner of the video player).

    Educational leaders

    All people, working in the field of education are educational leaders and all people in Finland working in education have leadership tasks and roles that exceed beyond the children and youth groups they work with. Typically, they have both formal and informal leadership tasks and roles. There are huge variations of titles, roles, and tasks both for formal and informal educational leadership roles. The only educational leadership professions decreed in legislation today are those of ECEC centre directors and school principals.

    In the following video, the concept of educational leader is defined in more detail.

    Slides 6 and 7

    In the video below, Anita Siltanen, head of ECEC centre, describes what it is like  to lead and manage an ECEC centre.