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dc.contributor.authorSkinner, Sarah Lucille
dc.description.abstractThis qualitative action research self-study’s purpose was to examine how one department chair and teacher leader in one public high school (grades 9-12) used reflective practice as a method of professional development to inform and negotiate the multiplicity of her position as part-administrator, part-colleague, and part-teacher. Undertaken from an insider’s positionality and with a critical theory frame, this study also examined how a department chair, committed to an educational philosophy that promotes democracy, dealt with the hierarchies within her position and the organization’s structure. This study made two arguments: 1) enacting the department chair position is an existential practice in which the person negotiates a multi-layered, contingent space, 2) and reflective practice is an essential means for the department chair to do that work. The practitioner-researcher was the study’s primary participant, but fellow teachers, department chairs, and administrators served as co-participants. Data was collected via ethnographic methods, including an attitudinal survey, interviews with the school’s former and current principals, a professional reflective journal maintained by the research-practitioner, two videotaped department meetings, collected email and other role-related artifacts, and a daily professional action log. The practitioner-research “wrote the data,” using reflective vignettes and “re-storied” scenes from the data set and her own memory, to conduct an inductive analysis, using Bakhtin’s (1981, 1986) conceptions of heteroglossia, hybridity, and becoming, furthered by Freirian (1970) theory. The study’s conclusions included that a department chair lives in heteroglossia, continually negotiating the various tensions acting upon it, but able to privilege certain tensions to further emancipation for all members of a school’s organization. With the role in a state of continual “becoming,” no fixed professional training is apt for the role; instead, reflective practice provides a means for a practitioner to develop her work in the midst of it, making contextualized and authentic meaning. As a liaison position, the department chair role’s is an untapped resource for principals to build democratic school communities focused on individual potentials and achievement.
dc.subjectAction research
dc.subjectHigh school department chairs
dc.subjectTeacher leader
dc.subjectRole theory
dc.subjectReflective practice
dc.titleReflecting from the middle
dc.title.alternativeheteroglossia and the role of the high school department chair
dc.description.departmentLanguage and Literacy Education
dc.description.majorLanguage Education
dc.description.advisorBob Fecho
dc.description.committeeBob Fecho
dc.description.committeeSally J. Zepeda
dc.description.committeePeg Graham

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