Potential theoretical approaches to support the critical exploration of ‘the problem(s)’ of preparing, recruiting and retaining headteachers in Scotland

Torrance, D. , Forde, C. , McMahon, M. A. , Mitchell, A. and Harvie, J. (2021) Potential theoretical approaches to support the critical exploration of ‘the problem(s)’ of preparing, recruiting and retaining headteachers in Scotland. In: Mifsud, D. (ed.) Narratives of Educational Leadership. Series: Educational Leadership Theory. Springer: Singapore, pp. 131-158. ISBN 9789811658303 (doi: 10.1007/978-981-16-5831-0_6)

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This chapter adopts a critical perspective designed to develop alternative, more diverse understandings of factors behind longstanding international concerns over an apparent headteacher recruitment crisis (Bush in Leadership and Management Development in Education, Sage, 2008). Despite policy rhetoric in Scotland, the case study country, understandings are limited with little interrogation or framing of key ideas (Forde and Torrance, School Leadership and Management 41:22–40, 2021). The development of the constructivist theoretical design foundations from which this research project is constructed, has at its core narratives of educational leadership within a participatory action research approach (PAR). This coming together of distinct methods provides a multifaceted approach, designed to stimulate new thinking by involving participants in the research design and analysis of findings: at a macro level, with policy constructions around the problem(s) of ‘headship’ using the Bacchi approach; at the meso level, with communities of practice using the Delphi technique to map out underpinning concepts of headship development; and at a micro level, from life history through narrative autobiographies, harnessing experiences and motivations. Here our methods of data gathering and of data analysis seek to build a participatory approach leading to the co-production of knowledge in which we use a combination of thematic and creative analytical approaches. Our intention is to raise significant questions about prevailing policy and practice, in order to generate a provocative dialogue in educational leadership, by presenting ‘different’ knowledge co-produced by researchers and participants and presenting this knowledge ‘differently’. And in so doing, to enrich an ongoing conversation (Barone, Qualitative Inquiry 13:354–379, 2007).

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Forde, Prof Christine and Harvie, Dr Julie and Mitchell, Ms Alison and McMahon, Professor Margery and Torrance, Dr Deirdre
Authors: Torrance, D., Forde, C., McMahon, M. A., Mitchell, A., and Harvie, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Professional Learning and Leadership
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Published Online:16 December 2021
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