ERG SES G13, Management in Education
This paper aims to illustrate how aspiring headteacher socialisation could be reconceptualised as disciplinary socialisation by using Foucault’s notions of panopticism, disciplinary power and governmentality.
Socializing aspiring school leaders has been viewed as an important part of leadership preparation (Normore, 2004), while the extant literature on the socialisation of headteachers largely focuses on the effective socialization and succession of school leaders (Bengtson, Zepeda, & Parylo, 2013; Crow, 2006; Normore, 2004). Much of the research views headteacher socialisation as a rational and political vacuum process where an individual learns or acquires the necessary knowledge, skills, and values needed to perform a social role in an organization (Bengtson et al., 2013). However, this seems to be a danger of intensification of the particular ways that school headteachers are being normalising through ‘the means of correct training’ (Foucault, 1977). As Anderson and Grinberg (1998) have rightly pointed out, this perspective of socialisation tends to reproduce discourse-practices through what is assessed in assessment centres, what is taught in courses and what is learned in internships. They go further to argue that Foucault’s concepts can be fruitful to expose the dangerous aspects of some administrative practices that can result in more effective technologies of control. Therefore this paper examines the practices of headteacher socialisation in the pre-service formal training in the context of Taiwan, and links it to normalisation, discipline and subjectification by using Foucault’s theory of disciplinary power, governmentality (Foucault, 1977, 1991, 2002). The purpose of this paper is to re-conceptualise and enrich the theory of professional socialisation in the field of school leadership preparation.
The context of this study is situated in Taiwan. As more and more countries place school headship preparation as a high priority on their policy agendas (Hess & Kelly, 2005; Huber, 2004; Leithwood, Jacobson, & Ylimaki, 2011), Taiwan has no exception. In order to ensure the quality of school headteachers, Taiwanese local governments create a new school headship training strategy known as ‘administrative placement in the Department of Education (AP)’. Unlike the school placement in most of countries where aspiring headteachers are placed in school settings, those in Taiwan are placed into local authority office for about one-year AP training before they acquire the position, in order to strength their policy delivery capacities and administrative skill development. It is this new AP training strategy that positions aspiring headteachers in the District Office, under the constant surveillance, normalising judgments and the examination from officials. Although the research context is situated in Taiwan, its implication of using Foucault’s concepts in socialisation of school leadership preparation might be internationally profound.
Foucauldian studies into discipline, the subject and governmentality have been increasingly inﬂuential in the ﬁeld of educational leadership and administration (Anderson & Grinberg, 1998; Cohen, 2013; Gillies, 2013; Gobby, 2013; Niesche, 2010, 2011, 2013a, 2013b). Some scholars have employed a Foucauldian theoretical lens of disciplinary power to examine the modality of leadership preparation with adoption of standards (English, 2003; Gronn, 2003). Using Foucault’s notions of disciplinary power and governmentality, this article examines the practices of administrative placement in the local education authority. Such an examination highlights the insidious dimension of aspiring headteacher socialisation within such new leadership imperative.
Anderson, Gary L, & Grinberg, Jaime. (1998). Educational administration as a disciplinary practice: Appropriating Foucault's view of power, discourse, and method. Educational Administration Quarterly, 34(3), 329-353. Crow, Gary M. (2006). Complexity and the beginning principal in the United States: perspectives on socialization. Journal of Educational Administration, 44(4), 310-325. English, Fenwick W. (2003). Cookie-Cutter Leaders for Cookie-Cutter Schools: The Teleology of Standardization and the De-Legitimization of the University in Educational Leadership Preparation. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 2(1), 27-46. doi: 10.1076/lpos.126.96.36.19954 Foucault, Michel. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. London: Allen Lane (Penguin Books). Foucault, Michel. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (pp. 87-104). USA: University of Chicago Press. Foucault, Michel. (2002). The subject and power. In J. Faubion (Ed.), Michel Foucault: Power: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 Volume 3 (pp. 326-348). London: Penguin Books. Gillies, Donald. (2013). Educational Leadership and Michel Foucault. Oxon: Routledge. Gobby, Brad. (2013). Principal self-government and subjectification: the exercise of principal autonomy in the Western Australian Independent Public Schools programme. Critical Studies in Education, 54(3), 273-285. doi: 10.1080/17508487.2013.832338 Gronn, Peter. (2003). Leadership: Who needs it? School Leadership & Management, 23(3), 267-291. doi: 10.1080/1363243032000112784 Huber, S.G. (2004). School leadership and leadership development: Adjusting leadership theories and development programs to values and the core purpose of school. Journal of Educational Administration, 42(6), 669-684. Leithwood, K., Jacobson, S.L., & Ylimaki, R.M. (2011). Converging Policy Trends. In R. M. Ylimaki & S. L. Jacobson (Eds.), US and Cross-national Policies, Practices, and Preparation: Implications for Successful Instructional Leadership, Organizational Learning, and Culturally Responsive Practices (Vol. 12, pp. 17-28). New York: Springer Verlag. Moos, Lejf. (2003). Educational leadership: leadership for/as Bildung? International Journal of Leadership in Education, 6(1), 19-33. doi: 10.1080/1360312022000038522 Niesche, Richard. (2010). Discipline through documentation: a form of governmentality for school principals. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 13(3), 249-263. doi: 10.1080/13603121003692967 Niesche, Richard. (2011). Foucault and Educational Leadership: discipling the principal. Oxon: Routledge. Normore, Anthony H. (2004). Socializing school administrators to meet leadership challenges that doom all but the most heroic and talented leaders to failure. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 7(2), 107-125. doi: 10.1080/1360312042000185851
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