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Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership

Christine Cunningham

Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership documents the author’s research as a K-12 principal in an elite American International School in Bolivia. During those years she kept a daily journal of her work that revealed exactly how the school fabricated college transcripts and passed failing students and examines why the school remained unaccountable for its corrupt actions.
Against a backdrop of national crisis when Bolivia’s indigenous majority struggled to gain executive political power and invoke inclusive and pluralistic education reforms, this book details how the school’s plutocratic processes helped to guarantee that its wealthy young graduates would retain their privileged place in society.
As the title suggests, Corrupted Principles and the Challenges of Critically Reflective Leadership reveals the author’s professional Dilemma to remain true to her education ideals while leading a corrupt school. How she resolved this ethical predicament is the crux of this study and illuminates the challenges and inspiration of doing Critically Reflective Leadership.


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CHAPTER 1 Ethical dilemmas of leadership 7


CHAPTER 1 Ethical dilemmas of leadership We teach to change the world. The hope that undergirds our efforts to help students learn is that doing this will help them act towards each other, and to their environ- ment, with compassion, understanding and fairness. But our attempts to increase the amount of love and justice in the world are never simple, never ambiguous. What we think are democratic, respectful ways of treating people can be experienced by them as oppressive and constraining. One of the hardest things teachers learn is that the sincerity of their intentions does not guarantee the purity of their practice. The cultural, psychological and political complexities of learning, and the ways in which power complicates all human relationships [including those between students and teachers] means that teaching can never be innocent. Stephen Brookfield, 1995: 1 Introduction As Stephen Brookfield boldly declares in the title page quotation for this chapter, “we teach to change the world.” At least when I started in the profession that was the assumption that inspired me to first stand in front of a class of youth so as to try and find ways to infuse my love of learn- ing to them. In the beginning I was filled with the certainty that only a young adult can feel; I believed teaching was a calling and that my ca- reer would help to transform the next generations into ‘better’ citizens of the world. It took many more years to realise exactly how complex and...

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