South Africa has a strong lineage of internationally renowned leaders who rose to the contemporary challenges of their generations. These leaders from across the country’s geographic and demographic spread demonstrated leadership values that are much needed today. This rich history of leadership, along with an interest in improving our leadership practices, and the desire to make a meaningful contribution to leadership discourses, motivated the ELADIN team to understand the important dimensions of leadership in our current time.
This learning module includes a number of critical questions that shaped our discussions about leadership. Informed by these initial questions and emerging conversations, we created materials that helped us reflect on our practices, using the CELL teaching case study template as a guide to shape the ELADIN project.
Below are open-ended critical thinking questions that were framed by and guided our work:
Critical Question 1: How does context shape educational leadership?
- How does our community and social context (e.g experiences, histories, language, perceptions) shape our understanding about and solutions for the “problems” we face as leaders?
- What does leadership in service to society mean? Who and what constitutes the community? What are ways leaders can collaborate and learn with and across members in the community?
Critical Question 2: What are the tenets of a contemporary value-based leadership approach/framework to be responsive to the present-day challenges faced by the South African society?
- What are the core values that inform decisions, practices and behaviours of good leaders? How do we move beyond checklists and definitions of “values” towards deep understanding and concrete practices that promote the values we hold?
- How do we ensure our values place the community at the centre of our leadership?
- How can leaders use reflection on critical incidents (both positive and negative experiences) to discuss how values shape our work?
Critical Thinking Question 3: Exploring the Educational Pipeline
- How does leadership and mentoring need to work across levels and hierarchies (gender, race, language, class or cultural) and address issues of power in educational spheres?
- What are the ways that leadership practices can be inclusive, empowering and promote reciprocal learning that spans and incorporates a range of life experiences (including age, experience, gender, social roles)?
- What does the process of creating a community of practice, building trust, learning together, and reflecting on and sharing experiences, look like?