Preparing and Developing School Leaders in the Middle East: Towards Mediating Westernization with Indigenous and Evidence-Based Practice and Theories of Educative Leadership

Authored by: Reynold Macpherson , Omid Tofighian

International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders

Print publication date:  July  2008
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415988476
eBook ISBN: 9780203872239
Adobe ISBN: 9781135277017


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The purpose of this chapter is to review the preparation and development of the leaders of primary and secondary schools in the Middle East. The chapter has an introduction, three major sections and a brief summary of preliminary recommendations. Given the unevenness of international understandings of this region, the first major section demonstrates that school leadership in each location in the Middle East occurs in a unique and complex patchwork of cultures. Each patchwork reflects the vagaries of a general political history of conquest and decolonization, peace and jihardism, oil wealth and modernization, and, reconciliation and development. The second major section introduces a common heritage of traditional Islamic schooling and then provides a snapshot of each country’s developing education system and its approach to preparing and developing its school leaders. It shows that the ideological context of leadership is in transition from traditional to modernized forms of Islamism, in most cases being overlaid by self-managed Westernization. The third section begins with a general Islamic perspective on leadership and summarizes the options regarding the preparation and development of school leaders from English, American and European perspectives. The concluding reflections suggest that the ontological, historical, cultural and epistemological challenges faced by each Middle Eastern country might best be addressed by mediating Westernization with indigenous and evidence-based concepts of best practice and theory about educative leadership. By educative leadership we mean leadership services that achieve intended learning outcomes in educators, educational institutions and education systems (Duignan & Macpherson, 1993).

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