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Managed Discourse: Legitimizing Principal Identity and Agency

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Date Issued:
2016
Summary:
Given the demands of the era of accountability and standardization, the purpose of this study was to explore how educational leaders construct their identity and agency. The study utilized overlapping post-structural and critical theoretical frameworks on identity and agency to analyze how high school principals interpret and enact comprehensive school reform rhetoric and their state’s educational leadership standards. In addition to several cycles of coding, a critical discourse analysis was performed with the input of the participants’ high schools in order to further analyze the form and function of discourses, socially situated meanings, and ideologies that constitute being an educational leader and doing the work of an educational leader. The findings from the study revealed that the high school principals discursively construct their professional identity and agency by engaging in discourses and social practices related to managing the personnel, numerical data, and external expectations of the organization. As a result, the participants use the comprehensive school reform rhetoric as a way to legitimize and rationalize their duty as educators. The socially situated meaning attributed to the state’s educational leadership standards is not as clear, with the participants dismissing their value for a lack of context. In interpreting and enacting the school reform policy mandates set forth by the district and the state, principals conserve a corporatized model of school leadership that borrows much of its neoliberal language from the business sphere. The principals are positioned as mid-level managers, confirming Foster’s (2004) description of the contemporary school leader who is preoccupied with controlling the numeracy, information systems, and language of the organization. Future research should focus on performing critical discourse analysis studies with the upper levels of management, including, but not limited to, the central office and the office of the superintendent, as a way of exploring a more transcendent meaning of schooling and school leadership that focuses on human development. This study has the potential to provide leadership preparation programs and policymakers significant insight into the problems, paradoxes, and possibilities of school reform rhetoric and its impact on local school leaders.
Title: Managed Discourse: Legitimizing Principal Identity and Agency.
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Name(s): Arellano, Matias, author
Mountford, Meredith L., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
College of Education
Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2016
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 200 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Given the demands of the era of accountability and standardization, the purpose of this study was to explore how educational leaders construct their identity and agency. The study utilized overlapping post-structural and critical theoretical frameworks on identity and agency to analyze how high school principals interpret and enact comprehensive school reform rhetoric and their state’s educational leadership standards. In addition to several cycles of coding, a critical discourse analysis was performed with the input of the participants’ high schools in order to further analyze the form and function of discourses, socially situated meanings, and ideologies that constitute being an educational leader and doing the work of an educational leader. The findings from the study revealed that the high school principals discursively construct their professional identity and agency by engaging in discourses and social practices related to managing the personnel, numerical data, and external expectations of the organization. As a result, the participants use the comprehensive school reform rhetoric as a way to legitimize and rationalize their duty as educators. The socially situated meaning attributed to the state’s educational leadership standards is not as clear, with the participants dismissing their value for a lack of context. In interpreting and enacting the school reform policy mandates set forth by the district and the state, principals conserve a corporatized model of school leadership that borrows much of its neoliberal language from the business sphere. The principals are positioned as mid-level managers, confirming Foster’s (2004) description of the contemporary school leader who is preoccupied with controlling the numeracy, information systems, and language of the organization. Future research should focus on performing critical discourse analysis studies with the upper levels of management, including, but not limited to, the central office and the office of the superintendent, as a way of exploring a more transcendent meaning of schooling and school leadership that focuses on human development. This study has the potential to provide leadership preparation programs and policymakers significant insight into the problems, paradoxes, and possibilities of school reform rhetoric and its impact on local school leaders.
Identifier: FA00004657 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2016.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Critical pedagogy
Discourse analysis
Education -- Research -- Methodology
Educational leadership
High school principals
Identity (Psychology)
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004657
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004657
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.