Stories from the inside: A narrative analysis investigating the professional lives of three New Zealand secondary school heads of English departments
Wright, N. (2002). Stories from the inside: A narrative analysis investigating the professional lives of three New Zealand secondary school heads of English departments (Thesis, Doctor of Education (EdD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12120
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12120
This research is a narrative analysis based on an investigation into the professional lives of heads of English departments (HODs) in three New Zealand secondary schools. The main data collection methods of interviews and observations used in this study, fall within an interpretive paradigm. The research breaks through prevailing silences about the realities of three HODs' professional lives. I propose that while these HODs play a pivotal role in secondary schools, their ability to engage in not only effective curriculum and pedagogical leadership but also effective classroom teaching, is seriously constrained. These constraints have occurred partly as a result of the accumulating effects of over a decade of continual educational reforms in New Zealand, partly because there have been Jew changes to staffing ratios to accommodate intensified workloads, and partly because secondary schools' basic timetable structures have not been able to change sufficiently to reflect other changes. Because consequences of the reforms on the work of these HODs have been largely ignored, I also contend that effective teaching and learning, which is the core focus of schools, is compromised. Emotions and relationships, coupled with the effects of time constraints and complexity, are highlighted as major concerns and significant hindrances to the three HODs' work. In order to demonstrate the impact of such effects, a fictionalised short story 'from the inside' makes the personal political, exposing some of the human costs to HODs' professional lives. This fictional story is from the inside' for at least two important reasons: the data from participants plus my own prior knowledge and experiences as an HOD. The effect of this on the research is also discussed. Essentially, the circumstances in which the three participant English H0Ds work, may be symptomatic of an educational crisis that requires urgent attention, particularly in relation to the amount of time available for HODs to carry out their leadership roles. This research may be one step towards promoting that attention.
The University of Waikato
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