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ERIC Number: ED548933
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 370
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-5288-8
The Discursive Exercise of School Leadership: Disputes on the Representation of Educational Realities in Workplace Interactions between a Chilean Principal and Her Colleagues
Unda, Viviana
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
This dissertation examines the ways in which a principal of a K-12 school in Chile exercises leadership through talk and nonverbal communication when engaging other educational practitioners about how to view particular school events. More specifically, this study focuses on the verbal and nonverbal means that the principal uses, as a political actor, to rhetorically persuade members of the school community to respond to the needs of the highest possible number of people (students, parents, teachers, staff, the school board, and the upper administration), and, at the same time, create high-quality educational practices. The present research draws from constructivist and discourse-driven theoretical and methodological approaches to educational leadership, as well as from the frameworks of microethnography and interactional sociolinguistics. Because these perspectives conceive reality as socially constructed and envision language and nonverbal communication as the primary means to build the world, they suitably nurture the non-traditional view of leadership in schools endorsed in this study, which deals with microanalyses of local occasions of interaction and connects them with broader social and cultural patterns. This dissertation consists of eight chapters. Chapter one, the introduction, sets the ground on which this investigation rests and poses its main research questions and theoretical frameworks. Chapter two is concerned with the practice of educational leadership and how fundamental talk and nonverbal behavior are for the principal's political job as a middle manager, and her salient role in the school's micropolitical culture. This chapter also documents notions of childhood and moral responsibility, which are relevant to the practice of educational leadership as conceived in this research. Chapter three, the methods chapter, provides the ethnographic background of the school and the principal, and discusses the research design used to develop the study. Chapters four and five offer an overall view of the most frequent verbal and nonverbal practices that the principal uses across the topics discussed in the school incidents labeled money theft and sexualized game. The analyses of these chapters show that there are common features in the principal's verbal and nonverbal behavior when she discusses the events with her co-workers. These communicative patterns establish that the principal's styles of leadership are the result of both her individual accomplishment and the joint actions she and other educational practitioners undertake. Furthermore, Chapters four and five demonstrate how the principal's stylistic reworkings not only are an effect of the various audiences and situational differences that she confronts, but most importantly a consequence of the particularities of each interaction, which the principal assesses on a turn-by-turn basis. Chapters six and seven document the principal's most frequently used communicative practices when discussing the money theft and sexualized game events. Furthermore, these chapters lay out the ontologies and ideologies of the principal that are indexed in her interactions with other school members. The analyses of chapters six and seven demonstrate that these ontologies and ideologies are essentially grounded on the practice of a leadership that has moral character. In other words, the principal pervasively shows a moral orientation rather than a technical one to engage in interaction with her colleagues about both incidents. This moral orientation is based on a particular understanding of what is the best for children educationally and developmentally. Chapter eight presents the most important conclusions reached in the previous analytical chapters and the research questions that each chapter dealt with. Along with these findings, it illustrates some elements of the school culture that surfaced in the interactions of the principal and her colleagues in relation to both incidents and their topics. Furthermore, Chapter eight relates the detailed descriptions of the principal's styles of leadership and the communicative practices she uses to exercise them with wider ideological and political accounts present in Main school and, more generally, in Chilean education and in the educational field. Finally, this last chapter points out relevant contributions that the present research makes to the study of leadership in general and school principalship in particular, as well as some important implications and lines of work to develop in the future. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Chile