School-level conditions and school leadership, in particular, are key issues in efforts to change instruction. While new organizational structures and new leadership roles matter to instructional innovation, what seems most critical is how leadership practice is undertaken. Yet, the practice of school leadership has received limited attention in the research literature. Building on activity theory and theories of distributed cognition, this paper develops a distributed perspective on school leadership as a frame for studying leadership practice, arguing that leadership practice is constituted in the interaction of school leaders, followers, and the situation.
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