Date

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership

First Adviser

Sperandio, Jill

Other advisers/committee members

Silova, Iveta; Beachum, Floyd; Samier, Eugenie

Abstract

As if we live in two worlds, humans face a paradoxical situation. We have two fundamental and conflicting views of how to interpret and respond to reality. In the first and most dominant case we rely on objectively derived data describing the external world. In the second case, we have subjectively derived experience. The field of educational leadership has tended to polarize the two views giving preference to objectivity through strong advocacy of scientific methods, and short shrift to aesthetic methods with almost no effort to balance the two views. The purpose of this basic research is to seek a novel way of understanding the work of educational leadership using both objective and subjective orientations: leadership as both science and art. To observe the interactions between the objective and the subjective worlds, and to meaningfully communicate the findings the methodology needs to match data. The chosen methodology for this purpose is evocative narrative autoethnography, a method that focuses on the researcher (myself) as both instrument and site of study in order to investigate how I negotiate between my inner and outer world encounters. Putting this study in narrative form most closely matches the narrative structure of subjective experience, just as mathematical principals structure the material universe. Finally, I seek to produce a verisimilitude of experience so that the educational leader reading this study may have opportunity to vicariously experience the data and maintain the objective/subjective paradox in the reading.Findings indicate clear evidence of the interplay of objective external conditions interacting with subjective internal conditions in a variety of circumstances. The truth of this condition is understood both intellectually as well as through embodied experience apprehended vicariously. The research has pointed to the value of seeing oneself within the context of the natural world. Balancing the external and internal worlds requires a recognition of the place of nature in our institutions and of the value of illusion as a way of understanding, coping with and enjoying reality.

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