Evidence of transformative leadership for inclusive practice

Published February 2024


Globally, school leaders express a need for ongoing professional learning to support teacher's knowledge and skills in inclusive education. This paper reports on interview data collected from four school leaders and 18 teachers who have various roles in Australian schools (four school sites) about their experiences of professional learning to operationalise inclusive schooling. Most of the teachers did not have leadership titles or designated leadership roles but the descriptions of their experience indicated teacher leadership in action.  

Our research draws on Transformative Leadership Theory and aims to identify how transformative leadership tenets and an additional tenet—Relatedness, are evident in descriptions of experience in professional learning to lead and support inclusive education. Each school site supports a different model of professional learning: Coaching, Collegial Partnership, Community of Practice (CoP), and Independent Learning.

The findings were analysed to consider how the model of professional learning impacted on participant's perceptions of influence to operationalise inclusive practices. Our findings indicate that the Transformative Leadership Theory provided a comprehensive framework to elucidate the majority of the findings in this study. Relatedness as an additional tenet was an important consideration for leading transformative change for inclusive education.

The majority of participants contributed to a school model of professional learning and fostered an environment, where teachers could expand their knowledge and skills, and work critically and collaboratively with their colleagues, to promote inclusive education practices in their school communities.

Keywords: Inclusive education; Transformative leadership; Relatedness; Professional learning; Collaboration

Carrington, S., Park, E., McKay, L., Saggers, B., Harper-Hill, K., & Somerwil, T. (2024, April). Evidence of transformative leadership for inclusive practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 141, Article 104466. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2023.104466.

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