All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Female Headship and Life History Research: Using Emotional Turning Points

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2016.718258, PP. 2774-2790

Keywords: Life History, Headteacher, Female Headteachers, School Leadership, Emotions, Emotional Intelligence, Turning Points

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


A natural line of enquiry for women studying women’s lives is to use life history. Life history helps us to know and understand a subject’s identity. It distinguishes what people are “trying to do” and provides a framework to comprehend a person’s actions so an individual is a dynamic, rather than reflexive participant in her own life. Life history reflects the lived experience of those being researched as they construct their identity through recounting their stories and gaining a deeper understanding of themselves. This paper draws on stories recounted by female headteachers with an emphasis on the rich tapestry of their life experiences and their associated learning through positive and/or negative events. It is the outcomes of these events where the focus lies; particularly how the headteachers made effective use of emotional “turning points” in their lives. Their subsequent actions provide insight and possible contributions to future headship preparation programmes. Findings from two studies provide the data from which the paper is based. The first explored the career paths of seven female secondary school headteachers making sole use of life history interviews; the second was a through five-year longitudinal investigation of another seven secondary school female headteachers with a focus on emotional intelligence which used a range of methods, including life history interviews and psychometric tests (including emotional intelligence tests).


[1]  Alvesson, M., & Skoldberg, K. (2000). Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi: Sage.
[2]  Antikainen, A., Houtsonen, J., Kauppila, J., & Huotelin, H. (1996). Living in a Learning Society: Life Histories, Identities and Education. London and Washington, DC: The Falmer Press.
[3]  Babcock, L. C., & Laschever, S. (2003). Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide. Princeton, NJ and Woodstock: Princeton University Press.
[4]  Beatty, B. (2005). Emotional Leadership. In B. Davies (Ed.), The Essentials of School Leadership (pp. 122-144). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
[5]  Blackmore, J. (1989). Educational Leadership: A Feminist Critique and Reconstruction. In J. Smyth (Ed.), Critical Perspectives on Educational Leadership (pp. 93-130). London: Falmer Press.
[6]  Blackmore, J. (1999). Troubling Women: Feminism, Leadership and Educational Change. Buckingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press.
[7]  Carspecken, P. F. (1996). Critical Ethnography in Educational Research: A Theoretical and Practical Guide. New York and London: Routledge.
[8]  Chase, S. E. (2005) Narrative Inquiry: Multiple Lenses, Approaches, Voices. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research: Third Edition (pp. 651-679). London, Thousand Oaks, CA, and New Delhi: Sage.
[9]  Christians, C. G. (2005). Ethics and Politics in Qualitative Research. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research: Third Edition (pp. 139-164). London, Thousand Oaks, CA, and New Delhi: Sage.
[10]  Ciarrochi, J., Forgas, J. P., & Mayer, J. D. (2001). Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life: A Scientific Inquiry. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
[11]  Cliffe, J. (2011). Emotional Intelligence: A Study of Female Secondary School Headteachers. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 39, 205-218.
[12]  Cliffe, J. (2012). Female Headship and Life History Research: Using Emotional Turning Points. BELMAS International Conference, 20-22 July 2012, Manchester, UK: Midland Manchester.
[13]  Cliffe, J. E. (2008). Emotional Intelligence and School Leadership: Testing for and Evaluating the Role of Emotional Intelligence in a Group of Female Secondary School Leaders. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University.
[14]  Coleman, M. (1996). The Management Style of Female Headteachers. Education Management & Administration, 24, 163-174.
[15]  Coleman, M. (2002). Women as Headteachers: Striking the Balance. Sterling, VA: Trentham Books.
[16]  Coles, R. (1989). The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
[17]  Cooper, R. K., & Sawaf, A. (1997). Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Business. London: Orion Business Books.
[18]  Crawford, M. (2009). Getting to the Heart of Leadership: Emotion and the Educational Leader. London: Sage.
[19]  Cunnison, S. (1985). Making It in a Man’s World: Women Teachers in a Senior High School. Occasional Paper No. 1, Hull: University of Hull Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology.
[20]  Derrida, J. (1981). Positions. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
[21]  Edel, L. (1979). The Figure under the Carpet. In M. Pachter (Ed.), Telling Lives: The Biographer’s Art (pp. 16-34). Washington DC: New Republic Books.
[22]  Evetts, J. (1990). Women in Primary Teaching: Career Contexts and Strategies. London: Unwin Hyman.
[23]  Fuller, K. (2009). Women Secondary Headteachers: Alive and Well in Birmingham at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Management in Education, 23, 19-31.
[24]  Gilbert, K. R. (2001). Introduction: Why Are We Interested in Emotions? In K. R. Gilbert (Ed.), The Emotional Nature of Qualitative Research (pp. 3-16). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
[25]  Goleman, D. (1998). Working with Emotional Intelligence. London: Bloomsbury.
[26]  Goodley, D., Lawthom, R., Clough, P., & Moore, M. (2004). Researching Life Stories: Method, Theory and Analysis in Biographical Age. London: Routledge.
[27]  Gray, H. L. (1989). Gender Considerations in School Management: Masculine and Feminine Leadership Styles. In C. Riches, & C. Morgan (Eds.), Human Resource Management in Education (pp. 120-123). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
[28]  Gray, H. L. (1993). Gender Issues in Management Training. In J. Ozga (Ed.), Women in Education Management (pp. 106-115). Buckingham: Open University Press.
[29]  Gronn, P. (2003). The New Work of Educational Leaders: Changing Leadership Practice in an Era of School Reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[30]  Hall, V. (1993). Women in Education Management: A Review of Research in Britain. In J. Ouston (Ed.), Women in Education Management (pp. 23-46). Harlow: Longman.
[31]  Hall, V. (1996). Dancing on the Ceiling: A Study of Women Managers in Education. London: Paul Chapman.
[32]  Hedlund, J., & Sternberg, R. J. (2000). Too Many Intelligences? Integrating Social, Emotional, and Practical Intelligence. In R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School, and in the Workplace (pp. 136-167). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[33]  Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The Managed Heart: Commercialisation of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of Los Angeles Press.
[34]  Hodder, I. (1994). The Interpretation of Documents and Material Culture. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 673-715). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[35]  Jaggar, A. M. (1989). Love and Knowledge. Inquiry, 32, 51-176.
[36]  Kram, K. E., & Cherniss, C. (2001). Developing Emotional Competence through Relationships at Work. In C. Cherniss, & D. Goleman (Eds.), The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How to Select for, Measure and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Groups and Organisations (pp. 254-285). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[37]  LeCompte, M. D., & Preissle, J. (1993). Ethnography and Qualitative Design in Educational Research (2nd ed.). New York: Academic Press.
[38]  Levinson, D. J., Darrow, D., Levinson, M., & McKee, B. (1978). The Seasons of a Man’s Life. New York: Knopf.
[39]  Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What Is Emotional Intelligence? In P. Salovey, & D. J. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Educational Implications (pp. 3-34). New York: Basic Books.
[40]  Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2006). Personal Summary Report. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems.
[41]  Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Curuso, D. R. (2000). Emotional Intelligence as Zeitgeist, as Personality, and as a Mental Ability. In R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School, and in the Workplace (pp. 92-117). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[42]  McAfee, N. (2004). Julia Kristeva. London: Routledge.
[43]  Mitroff, I., & Killman, R. (1978). Methodology Approaches to Social Science: Integrating Divergent Concepts and Theories. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[44]  Moorosi, P. (2010). South African Female Principals’ Career Paths: Understanding the Gender gap in Secondary School Management. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 38, 547-562.
[45]  Morrison, M., & Ecclestone, K. (2011). Getting Emotional: A Critical Evaluation of Recent Trends in the Development of School Leaders. School Leadership & Management: Formally School Organisation, 31, 199-214.
[46]  Pirouznia, M. (2013). Voices of Ohio Women Aspiring to Principalship. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 14, 300-310.
[47]  Q-Metrics (1996/1997). EQ Map Interpretation Guide. San Francisco, CA: Q-Metrics.
[48]  Q-Metrics (2006). EQ Map Interpretation Guide. San Francisco, CA: Q-Metrics.
[49]  Russell, J. A., & Barchard, J. A. (2002). Toward a Shared Language for Emotion and Emotional Intelligence. In L. Feldman Barrett, & P. Salovey (Eds.), The Wisdom in Feeling: Psychological Processes in Emotional Intelligence (pp. 363-382). New York: The Guilford Press.
[50]  Saarni, C. (2000). Emotional Competence: A Developmental Perspective. In R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School, and in the Workplace (pp. 68-91). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[51]  Saussure, F. (1916). Course in General Linguistics. London: Duckworth.
[52]  Schmuck, P. A. (1986). School Management and Administration: An Analysis by Gender. In E. Hoyle, & A. McMahon (Eds.), The Management of Schools, World Year Book of Education (pp. 173-183). London: Kogan Page.
[53]  Shakeshaft, C. (1993). Women in Education Management in the United States. In J. Ouston (Ed.), Women in Education Management (pp. 47-63). Harlow: Longman.
[54]  Sheldon, A. (1997). Talking Power: Girls, Gender Enculturation and Discourse: In R. Wodak (Ed.), Gender and Discourse (pp. 225-244). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[55]  Smith, J. M. (2011a). Agency and Female Teachers’ Career Decisions: A Life History Study of 40 Women. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 39, 7-24.
[56]  Smith, J. M. (2011b). Aspirations to and Perceptions of Secondary Headship: Contrasting Female Teachers’ and Headteachers’ Perspectives. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 39, 516-535.
[57]  Smith, L. M. (1998). Biographical Method. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry (pp. 184-224). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
[58]  Spencer, A., & Podmore, D. (1987). In a Man’s World: Essays on Women in Male-Dominated Professions. London: Tavistock.
[59]  Timpano, D. M., & Knight, L. W. (1976). Sex Discrimination—The Selection of School District Administrators: What Can Be Done? NIE Papers-Education and Work No. 3.
[60]  Zirkel, S. (2000). Social Intelligence: The Development and Maintenance of Purposive Behaviour. In R. Bar-On, & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School, and in the Workplace (pp. 3-27). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


comments powered by Disqus