About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7425-7434
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

APPROACHES TO EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN DISADVANTAGED RURAL COMMUNITIES

G. Edwards, J. Perumal

University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
Educational leadership literature is replete with leadership theory and research on leadership styles. In certain instances, leadership theory presents a somewhat polarised view, privileging one approach over another. In interpretations where gender is regarded as a factor which determines leadership style, it is often coached in reductionist binaries [1]. Rejecting such interpretations, this study investigated the features of feminist approaches to educational leadership in rural disadvantaged school communities.

The aim of the study was to identify, describe and critically analyse the features of a feminist approach to educational leadership in rural disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

Leadership theory is well documented in Western countries and is dominated by the experiences of men [2]. This study problematizes dominant Western and patriarchal interpretations of educational leadership theory. By investigating feminist approaches to educational leadership in rural disadvantaged communities, this study addresses silences in this field.

This was a qualitative research study that was framed within a critical feminist research paradigm [3]. The study comprised sixteen female education leaders in schools that are members of the Historic Schools Restoration Project. Data were gathered by means of semi-structured interviews, focus groups and observations. Qualitative data analysis and critical discourse analysis techniques were employed to analyse the data.

The findings highlight the features of a feminist approach to educational leadership in rural disadvantaged school communities through five themes. These include feminist leadership as relational leadership, spiritual leadership, servant leadership, instructional leadership and feminist leadership as it relates to issues of social justice. Contained within the findings are alternative interpretations to servant leadership, subsequently referred to as ‘authentic servant leadership’. Furthermore, the term, ‘a Pedagogy of Reciprocity’ is introduced as a practice concept, which deepens our understanding of a feminist approach to educational leadership.

The significance of the study lies in its interrogation of traditional and commonly held beliefs regarding educational leadership in disadvantaged, rural communities. These beliefs are typically attributed to the patriarchal nature of rural communities. The study unlocks feminist approaches to educational leadership and explores these in relation to the tenets of feminist research theory. In this way, the study contributes to feminist research by critically examining gender stereotyping, power and social justice as espoused in mainstream educational leadership discourses.

References:
[1] Blackmore, J. (2013). A feminist critical perspective on educational leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education: Theory and Practice, 16:2, 139-154, doi: 10.1080/13603124.2012.754057
[2] Ford, J. (2005). Examining leadership through a critical feminist lens. Journal of Health Organisation and Management, 19:3, 236-251.doi: 10.1108/14777260510608961
[3] Skelton, C., Francis, B. and Smulyan. (2006). The SAGE Handbook of Gender and Education. Sage Publications: London.
@InProceedings{EDWARDS2015APP,
author = {Edwards, G. and Perumal, J.},
title = {APPROACHES TO EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN DISADVANTAGED RURAL COMMUNITIES},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {7425-7434}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Edwards AU - J. Perumal
TI - APPROACHES TO EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN DISADVANTAGED RURAL COMMUNITIES
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 7425
EP - 7434
ER -
G. Edwards, J. Perumal (2015) APPROACHES TO EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN DISADVANTAGED RURAL COMMUNITIES, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 7425-7434.
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