Distributing Leadership Within Rural Schools: Sharing Responsibility for Diverse Student Needs

Distributing Leadership Within Rural Schools: Sharing Responsibility for Diverse Student Needs

Huseyin Uysal, Jessica Holloway
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1962-2.ch006
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Along with the immigration throughout the US, rural schools have experienced changes in demographics and need to adapt to meet the needs of diverse students. Addressing this issue, this chapter argues that rural schools in the US might benefit from distributed leadership (DLS) to meet the needs of school personnel and better understand emergent bilingual (EB) students. The authors highlight that DLS is likely to promote student-centered pedagogy (SCP) when the values of democratic education are adhered to. They first map out the recent research on rural schools with EB students and address the common challenges through big ideas from DLS. Then, they argue why DLS is functional in grappling with these challenges and discuss how rural schools can implement DLS efficiently. Lastly, they present pedagogical implications for professional development with a focus on deliberative democracy and share recommendations for future research.
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While it might be easy to think of small, rural schools as having many limitations, some have argued that their size is what makes them the ideal place to try new methods and collaborative practices (Chance & Segura, 2009; Stern, 1994). Therefore, while we see it as necessary to identify the challenges that rural schools face in order to encourage more inclusive schools for EB students, we follow Chance and Segura’s (2009) and Stern’s (1994) lead in seeing how factors that might present “challenges” can also work in a school’s favor. First, we identify some of the challenges.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Equality: The principle of providing all students with the same resources.

Language Awareness: The knowledge of language learning, teaching and use, which usually brings sympathy towards speakers of a different language.

Marginalization: The process of pushing a group (usually with different characteristics from the group that represents the dominant or “default” culture) towards the edges of the society.

Differentiated Instruction: The approach to teaching that promotes individually tailored instruction for the achievement of all students.

Diversity: The concept of having demographic (i.e., language, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status) and philosophical differences in a society.

Immigrant: A person who leaves their country of origin with a conscious decision to settle in a foreign country.

Refugee: A person that is forced to abandon their country of origin due to reasons such as war, violence and feared persecution.

Emergent Bilingual: A person who is continuously acquiring and using English and has resources and potential to develop bilingualism.

Equity: The understanding that each student has different needs and resources need to be tailored accordingly.

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