ERIC Number: ED378634
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Biography as a Focus for Teaching Leadership.
English, Fenwick W.
Despite a long history in the arts and humanities as curricular mainstays and a continuing presence as sociocultural mythological anchors, biographies and other forms of life writing have been neglected as sources for teaching educational leadership. Besides biographies, these include autobiographies, portraits, profiles, case studies, memoirs, diaries, and journals. This paper examines the reasons for their under-utilization and discusses emerging perspectives that foster a reexamination of the efficacy of life-writing materials as teaching tools for professors. It also comments on some of the exemplars of life writing and discusses the advantages to be gained from an expanded application in educational leadership curricula and pedagogy. For example, biography teaches context and helps establish and define the meaning (hermeneutics) of leadership; restores the human variable to the study of organizations; and is an excellent way to teach about moral leadership. Generally accepted criteria for selecting and critiquing biographies and other forms of life writing are also presented. These criteria include: (1) the angle of vision; (2) subjectivity or detachment; (3) the selection of materials and its impact on conclusions; (4) the use of background and historical context; (5) the use of grounded and traceable analysis to explain motive and cause; (6) the means used to portray the internal life; and (7) the application of appropriate methods in reconstruction as well as style (comprehensive, open, logical, inclusive, non-reductionistic, and non-polemical). Two figures are included. (Contains 75 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).