Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

James R. Crawford, Chair

Second Committee Member

Gene E. Hall

Third Committee Member

Teresa S. Jordan

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn G. Putney

Number of Pages

180

Abstract

This study investigated the use of a school-level leadership model intended to explore the institutionalization of principal-teacher conversations as a tool in leading and learning. An elementary principal and two teachers at five elementary schools were selected for the study. Over an eight-week time, the principal and each teacher held a series of at least four conversations. The investigator interviewed each of the fifteen participants prior to any conversations, at the mid-point of the conversations and at the conclusion of all conversations. The purposes of this exploratory study were to document participant perceptions of the usefulness and importance of principal-teacher conversations, conversations as a means of meaning-making, and conversation as a vehicle for discovering and building the will to lead and learn.


Results indicated that participants perceived conversations between principals and teachers as useful, important and, in some cases, transforming. The term Invitational Conversation was coined to express the useful, fluid, welcoming and encouraging conversation explored in this study. Participants wanted humane and human treatment that Invitational Conversation gave them.

  • Invitational Conversations allow educators to be treated humanely with respect, dignity and purpose.
  • Invitational Conversations allow educators to understand each other at a level that bonds them together in their mission.
  • Invitational Conversations allow educators to be valued.
  • Invitational Conversations reveal hidden strengths that can reinforce the educational processes, systems and enhance progress.

Further results indicated that participants saw the use of time for Invitational Conversations as needed. They indicated that the time spent in Invitational Conversations was time well spent, purposeful, useful, and served to bond participants to the work, the school and to each other.

Conversation as a means to discover and/or build the will to lead and learn was not confirmed during the course of the study.

Keywords

Educational conversation; Invitational conversation; Leading and learning through conversation; Perceptions of conversation; Phenomenography; Principal-Teacher conversations

Disciplines

Educational Administration and Supervision | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

Language

English


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