Nurturing Opportunities for Educational Leadership: How Affordance and Leadership Interconnect

  •  Ilana Margolin    


This qualitative ethnographic study focused on the affordances that facilitated the emergence of leadership, capturing a range of perspectives on leadership and leadership development of four groups: district superintendents; teacher-educators; mentor-teachers and graduates. The term ‘affordances’ implies a reciprocal relationship between organisms and features of their environment thus, becomes a critical element in leadership. The findings indicate that (a) there seems to be relationships between affordance and leadership development, but they are not obvious; (b) the kind of leadership educators adopt is based on previously experienced models; (c) variations in the leadership styles educators adopt are defined by the models they create and their exploitation of affordances.

An implication of the study is that one of the leader's main roles is the establishment of infrastructures and affordances with myriad accessible opportunities for action. The ultimate goal is to create distributive leadership in which the practice of leadership is shared and realized within extended formal top-down and informal bottom-up groupings and networks, and endures beyond a few leaders' tenure.

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