Constructivist Leadership

Applying Constructivist Leadership in the School Setting

Constructivist leadership is the mutual and dynamic interaction and exchange of ideas and concerns. At its heart, it involves the various ways participants in the school community work together to build meaning, leading them toward a common purpose. Reciprocity here means practicing empathy; moving outside oneself, to see the perspectives of others. The required maturity emerges over time, as a product of the processes of meaning-making in communities.

For school stakeholders to develop their capacities for relating to one another, they should always engage in the processes of meaning-making, while living and working together in educational communities. Paulo Freire wrote, “knowledge is not extended from those who are considered to know to those who do not know, instead it is built up in the relations between people.” So, we can gather that learning is based on interaction.

Multiple forms of relationships in schools and differences among friendly, collegial, and individualistic relationships. As the cooperative nature of workplace culture changes over time, these relationships usually shift. Give-and-take is therefore a spiraling experience, gathering strength the more it is practiced. People usually generate information through interactions with others. This information becomes feedback, enriching existing information and creating new information.

The reciprocal process …

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Dr. Lynch is an award winning writer, activist and the Dean of the School of Education, Psychology, & Interdisciplinary Studies and an Associate Professor of Education at Virginia Union University. He spent seven years as a K-12 teacher – an experience that gave him an intimate view of the challenges facing genuine education reform. With that experience behind him, he has focused the second stage of his career on researching topics related to education reform, the achievement gap, and teacher education. What Dr. Lynch has found is that improving teacher education is an essential component in closing the achievement gap. Dr. Lynch's articles and op eds appear regularly in the Huffington Post, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and Education Week. He's also written numerous peer-reviewed articles, which have appeared in academic journals such as AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, International Journal of Progressive Education, Academic Leadership Journal, and others. In addition, he has authored and edited a number of books on school reform and school leadership. Please visit his website at for more information.
5 Comments on this post.

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  • johanna
    28 April 2014 at 1:45 am -

    This very theoretical approach to decision-making and relationships in schools sounds good on paper, but what happens when you put the human element in it? With the right type of leader this may work out well, but with the idealistic administrator who wants this but doesn’t know how to lead well it would seem the process would be counter productive.

  • Applying Constructivist Leadership in the Schoo…
    22 May 2014 at 1:12 am -

    […] "The reciprocal process that enables us to construct meaning usually occurs within the context of relationships. Therefore, creation and expansion of the possibilities and capacities for relation only occur in communities that are rich in relationships. There is a need for school leaders to stop thinking of people as separate entities, but rather in terms of interconnected relationships."  […]

  • edmom5
    9 October 2014 at 8:00 pm -

    I am not buying this. I don’t think it will work. Like commenter johanna said, the process may become counter productive due to all the extra rules and approaches laid out to follow.

  • LondonCalling79
    12 October 2014 at 11:49 am -

    I always liked having input into what my administrators did, and it did make me feel more empowered as a teacher. It made me want to work harder and do more.

  • Applying Constructivist Leadership in the Schoo…
    28 January 2015 at 2:09 pm -

    […] Constructivist leadership is the mutual and dynamic interaction and exchange of ideas and concerns. At its heart, it involves the various ways participants in the school community work together to bui…  […]