Methodological Lenses on Educational Leadership

Year: 2016

Author: Gobby, Brad

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This presentation reports on an inquiry into the practices of principals of Independent Public Schools (IPS) in Western Australia. Focusing on an interview with one principal, it explores the cultivation and performance of principal subjectivity through the interview process. This principal spoke supportively of the new practices of freedom afforded to principals by the IPS initiative, however he also spoke passionately about resisting accountability practices required of schools, including NAPLAN testing. Using theoretical concepts derived from Foucauldian scholarship and new materialism, the paper explores how the interview assemblage performed the principal and his lively becoming. In this analysis, it is not the researcher’s representation of the principal’s views and experiences that matter, but the mattering enacted through the inquiry interview and observations; specifically, the mattering of principalship. The presentation argues for a critical engagement with how the practices of inquiry are imbricated in the formation and performance of the phenomena of their investigations.