In her view, “considering the current pedagogical rhetoric concerning educational efficiency, educational outcomes, student success, educational evaluation and assessment, an explicit ethos may facilitate a more human-centered approach that may function as a healthy counterbalance for educational organisations, where needed.”
Precisely, such an ethos can be found in Bondas’ theory of caritative leadership, which is “grounded in an ethos of human love and mercy as well as in a humanistic view of the human being.”
Such “human love” consists in the authentic wish for students and teachers to grow, and manifests itself in the constant communication of their worth and potential. The message, here, is that both are inherently “good enough” and capable to overcome their shortcomings. Mercy, understood as forgiveness, is thus a logical consequence of this human love--just as the trust that must characterize the environment in which educational actors interact.
On this basis, the responsibility of the school leader is to create conditions in which students and teachers can thrive
This caritative ethos finds its origin in the “humanistic view of the human being”, according to which people are persons, i.e., beings characterized by their uniqueness, potential, vulnerability, and dignity; and whose inner experiences cannot be reduced to measurable variables.
In this light, the responsibility of the school leader is to create the conditions of a “genuine education”, which Näsman proposes to name Bildung so as to not reduce it to learning for a pragmatic purpose. Bildung is indeed synonym with “human becoming”, and consists in “cultivating human freedom and deliberate choice in accordance with good reason”.
Concretely, caring educational leaders should ensure that students learn “to care for themselves, for other human beings, for the natural and human-made worlds, and for the world of ideas.”
In a word, caritative leadership is radiating caritas. To be a good school leader, one cannot simply apply efficient techniques. To take good care of a school, one has to actually care about its community. Reciprocally, being cared for is also the only way one can learn what caring is, and how to become a good person.
Reference: Näsman (2018), “The theory of caritative leadership applied to education”, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 21:4, pp. 518–529.