ERG SES D 03, Policies of Education
The major recently-adopted, policy-mandated organizational reform in which Maltese primary and secondary state schools were geographically clustered into networks (legally termed ‘colleges’) necessitated the introduction of new roles of responsibility, amongst which was the deployment of the College Principal, designated to be the educational leader of the college as a whole. Heads of School have to adapt to the new ‘network leader’ whom they are now answerable to, besides facing ‘challenges’ on other leadership fronts – sharing leadership with ‘outside agencies’, that is, other Heads of School, additionally to coming to terms with the notion of ‘distributed leadership’ at both school and college level as spelled out by the policy document ‘For All Children to Succeed’ (2005). [Henceforth referred to as ‘FACT’.]
It is within this unfolding Maltese educational scenario of decentralization and school networking, suffused with entrenched power, with added layers of leadership and more subtle levels of accountability that I explore the power flowing within the college through the leaders’ perceptions of policy-mandated collegiality, its benefits and drawbacks, the multiple and fluid discourses present within the college, as well as the discursive potential or delimitation offered by the ‘FACT’ policy for inter-networking. I examine how the leadership discourses present in the ‘FACT’ policy operate to produce particular leader subjectivities, and how these, in turn, offer resistance to produce particular discursive positions – they are both subjects to and the subjects of particular leadership discourses. These issues are explored through a juxtaposition of the leaders’ narrative and performance in order to present an image of (non-)collegiality unfolding in practice.
This article provides an exploration of the following research questions:
- What are the leaders’ views regarding the significance of belonging to a college?
- How did they react to the implementation of the ‘FACT’ policy?
- What are the experienced benefits and drawbacks of networking?
- Which discourses are generating the college and being generated by it, in turn producing subsequent effects on the leaders’ discursive positions and frameworks?
These issues are explored through a Foucauldian theoretical framework utilizing his theories of power (1979, 1980, 1981, 1983), discourse (1972), subjectivation (1980), and ‘gouvernementalite’ (1978/2007). Foucault moves away from a negative conception of power, instead extolling its productive nature. Foucauldian power is an ‘exercised’ strategy existing within relationships – it is therefore ubiquitous, anonymous, and comprehensive, exercised unconsciously with its effects being often repressed.
Foucault’s (1978) concept of ‘gouvernementalite’, consisting of methods of shaping others’ behaviour, implies that power is subject to negotiation, with each individual having his/her place in the hierarchy. Therefore, the ‘conduct of conduct’ encompasses forms of activity to affect the conduct of others, as well as the relation between self and self. This concept allows me to explore the extent to which the leaders’ behaviour is shaped by ‘FACT’ and the Principal’s discourse.
Foucault (1972) describes ‘discourses’ as ‘practices that systematically form the object of which they speak’ (p. 49). These ‘regimes of truth’ enable an exploration of how the subject is produced ‘as an effect’ through and within discourse and within specific discursive formations – how they are positioned by the leadership policy discourse, and how they, in turn, position themselves according to their distributed leadership performance.
Foucault’s (1982) concept of ‘subjectivation’ – dealing with the ‘way a human being turns him- or herself into a subject’ (p. 208), with a focus on those processes of self-formation in which the person is active – helps me explore the ways in which educational leaders are ‘subjectified’ in a college, in the changes that occur in their leadership conduct due to the creation of new roles.
Chrispeels, J.H. & Harris, A. (Ed.). (2006). Improving schools and educational systems. Abingdon: Routledge. Damianakis, T. & Woodford, M.R. (2012). Qualitative research with small connected communities: Generating new knowledge while upholding research ethics. Qualitative Health Research, 22(5), 708-718. Davies, B. (2009). Life in kings cross: A play of voice. In Jackson, A.Y. & Mazzei, L.A. (Ed.), Voice in qualitative inquiry (pp. 197-220). London: Routledge. Foucault, M. (Ed.). (1972/1995). The archeology of knowledge (translated by Sheridan, R. ed.). London: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison (translated by A. sheridan). Harmondsworth: Penguin. Foucault, M. (Ed.). (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972-77 by Michel Foucault. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Foucault, M. (1981). The order of discourse. In R. Young (Ed.), Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader (pp. 48-78). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777-795. Foucault, M. (1983). The subject and power. In Dreyfus, H.L. & Rabinow, P. (Ed.), Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (2nd ed., ). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Foucault, M. (1984). Nietzsche, genealogy, history. In P. Rabinow (Ed.), The Foucault reader. New York: Pantheon Books. Foucault, M. (1978/2007). Governmentality (a lecture at the College de France given on 1 February 1978). In M. Foucault (Ed.), Security, territory, population: Lectures at the College de France, 1977-78 (pp. 126-145). London: Palgrave-MacMillan. Gillies, D. (2013). Educational leadership and Michel Foucault. London: Routledge. Hadfield, M. & Chapman, C. (2009). Leading school-based networks. London: Routledge. Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment. (2005). For all children to succeed: A new network organization for quality education in Malta. Malta: Ministry of Education, Youth & Employment. Niesche, R. (2011). Foucault and educational leadership: Disciplining the principal. London: Routledge. Sullivan, H. & Skelcher, C. (2002). Collaborating across boundaries. London, UK: Sage. Watson, C. (2011). Home-school partnership and the construction of deviance: Being and becoming the goldfish family. Journal of Research in Special Education Needs, 11(1), 20-29. Watson, C. (2012a). Analysing narratives: The narrative construction of identity. In S. Delamont (Ed.), Handbook of qualitative research in education (pp. 460-473). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Watson, C. (2012b). The pretty story of 'joined-up working': Questioning interagency partnership. In Forbes, J. & Watson, C. (Ed.), The transformation of children's services: Examining and debating the complexities of inter/professional working (pp. 154-168). London: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.