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«EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND THE ETHIC OF CARE: THE EXPERIENCES OF FOUR WOMEN EDUCATORS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO by Dennis A. Conrad Dissertation ...»

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EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND THE ETHIC OF CARE: THE

EXPERIENCES OF FOUR WOMEN EDUCATORS OF TRINIDAD AND

TOBAGO

by

Dennis A. Conrad

Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

in

Special Education Administration

Committee:

Jean B. Crockett, Ph.D. (Chair) Elizabeth G. Creamer, Ed. D Diane N. Gillespie, Ed. D Stephen R. Parson, Ed. D Ewart Taylor, Ph. D November, 1999 Blacksburg, Virginia.

Educational Leadership And The Ethic Of Care: The Experiences Of Four Women Educators Of Trinidad And Tobago By Dennis A. Conrad Jean B. Crockett, Ph.D. (Chair) Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ABSTRACT) As policy makers and educators from varying philosophical platforms develop strategies for facilitating inclusive education, there is a subsequent realization that this involves inclusive leadership. Such leadership may be addressed through ethical decision-making, exceptionality in learning, equity, effective programming, and partnerships (Crockett, 1999). Related to the moral and ethical aspects of decision making is the issue of caring leadership. Among the educational leaders who have demonstrated caring leadership, and who have had transformative influences over followers are the four women who constitute this study. To understand how they evolved as educational leaders, testimonies of their experiences and perceptions were developed. These testimonies are presented as reconstructed narratives. The discussion on these narratives explores relationships between who these women are in character, their experiences of the ethic of care, and leadership. The study directs focus on the lives of these women with a view to documenting their contributions and sharing their voices about the education systems of Trinidad and Tobago, and the broader Caribbean area. Oral history interviewing, within the biographical tradition, is the methodology used for data collection. The data as transcribed narratives and topical life histories were then content-analyzed to identify common themes and link these with contemporary research on leadership, women, and the ethic of care as discussed in the review of the literature. Findings from the study revealed caring leadership as an evolutionary process, and the importance that spirituality, community, and a sense of gender-equity and inter-relatedness played in the lives of the participants.

Dedication I dedicate this dissertation to my family and mentors: To my wife Debbie, who loved, fought, and supported me as her act of faith in us; To my daughter, Dyanis, in respect for her own evolution as she reaches for the stars; to my parents Angela Hererra Conrad and David Conrad, senior, for believing in me; and to my mentors and friends, male and female, for the lessons taught and their caring.

iii Acknowledgements

With humility and sincerity I thank my committee, in the persons of Drs.

Elizabeth Creamer, Jean Crockett, Diane Gillespie, and Steve Parson of Virginia Tech and Ewart Taylor of the University of the West Indies.

I thank Dr. Crockett, as my chair and mentor, for her exceptional example of caring leadership and competence. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for having her support and expertise.

I thank Dr. Gillespie and her “tough love” and her consistent confidence in my

ability and efforts. Appreciation’s are also extended to:

Dr. Creamer: who served as friend and consultant always having a question that made me sit and think;

Dr. Parson: who from my first visit to Virginia Tech made me feel welcome and comfortable in knowing that he will always be there for me;

Dr. Taylor: who spent many hours reading my work, reflecting on my ideas, encouraging and teaching, by example, the challenges of higher education;

Kathy Tickle and Darlene Johnson for their problem solving and listening skills during these years at Tech;

The women who constitute this study for their trust, openness and wisdom in sharing their lives to improve those of others;

To my wife Debbie and daughter Dyanis for their love and lovingness; and To those who seek to serve the interests of the “the Golden Child”.

iv

Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

Methods of Inquiry

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Leadership

Women and Educational Leadership

The Ethic of Care

OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF THE KEY WORDS

ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

CONCEPTUALIZING EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP, WOMEN AND THE ETHIC OF CARE

CURRENT STATUS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROBLEM IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM

THE CONTEXT OF EDUCATION IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

REGULAR AND SPECIAL EDUCATION LEADERSHIP

THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP, WOMEN AND THE ETHIC OF CARE

Educational Leadership

Women and Leadership

Educational Leadership and the Ethic of Care





RESEARCHING THE CHALLENGE TO THE PATRIARCHY OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

CURRENT RESEARCH AGENDA

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

MEETING THE PLAYERS

The Researcher

The Mentors

The Mentors as the Participants

RESEARCH DESIGN

Research Questions

DATA COLLECTION

Participants

Narrative Data Collection

DATA ANALYSIS PROCEDURES

Quality Control

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF THE FINDINGS

NARRATIVE I: INTRODUCING PATRICIA NEWTON, SPECIAL EDUCATION PIONEER

PATHS TO LEADERSHIP

POST-RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS

Contributions and Awards

EXPERIENCES AS A WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP

MODELS AND MENTORS

OF CHALLENGES AND PERSEVERANCE

CARING IS MOTHERHOOD

PERSPECTIVES ON LEADERSHIP, WOMEN AND THE ETHIC OF CARE

v Leadership is passion

Women and Leadership

CARING IS LIFELONG

GUIDING LIGHTS

NARRATIVE II: INTRODUCING ARIEL WYNNA, SPECIAL EDUCATION EXEMPLAR

PATHS TO LEADERSHIP

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

CHILDHOOD LESSONS

DEVELOPING STYLES

Jumping Rope

Of Mentors and Models

SHARING THE GIFTS

THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING WOMAN AND EDUCATIONAL LEADER

CARING AND BEING CARED FOR

PERSPECTIVES ON LEADERSHIP, WOMEN AND THE ETHIC OF CARE

On Gender and Uniqueness

The Ethic of Care

THE SACRED TASK

NARRATIVE III: INTRODUCING KULTYA CALYPSO, EDUCATIONAL PIONEER

SOME PAIN

PATHS TO LEADERSHIP

EXPERIENCING LEADERSHIP

BECOMING A COMMUNITY: LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS

Sharing Caring

Mentorships

EXPERIENCES AS A WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP

Caring Leadership

PERSPECTIVES ON WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Feminism: A Male Issue

Caring and Leadership

REFLECTIONS ON HER LEADERSHIP

On Success and Successors

The Importance of Smell

NARRATIVE IV: INTRODUCING DAPHNE JOHANN, EDUCATIONAL EXEMPLAR

PATHS TO LEADERSHIP

EXPERIENCING LEADERSHIP

Flexibility: A Key to Effective Leadership

Zigzagging the Line

EXPERIENCES AS A WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP

Lessons on Caring Leadership

An Issue of Gender?

Leadership Training

CLOSING A CHAPTER

SUMMATIVE OVERVEIEW

INDIVIDUAL LEADERSHIP CONSTRUCTS

Leadership as Achievement

Leadership as Influence

Leadership as Service

LEADERSHIP AS CATALYST

CHAPTER FIVE: ANALYSIS AND REFLECTIONS

COMMON ELEMENTS PRESENT IN PARTICIPANTS’ TESTIMONIES

Mother Power

Educational Experiences

Community Connectedness

vi Personal Responses to the Dominant Culture

The Value of Caring

Attributes Across Constructs

Leadership as Developmental

Caring, Mentoring and Preparation as a Community Member

Equity, Interrelatedness, and Gender

Moral and Spiritual Awareness

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND FUTURE RESEARCH

Some Lessons Learned

The Guideposts to Leadership

Voices and Narratives

Caring Leadership as Evolution

Building Community

Uniqueness, Inter-relatedness and Spirituality

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

REFERENCES

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

APPENDIX C

APPENDIX D

VITA

–  –  –

Women are under-represented in policymaking roles and under-recognized for their leadership skills at the national level in the education system of Trinidad and Tobago (Morris, 1999; Taylor, 1997). This under-representation and under-recognition is a reality not limited to education (Leo-Rhynie, 1997). It is evident in the broader Caribbean society as well. The under-recognition exists despite women’s: (a) dynamic roles alongside their men during slavery, indentureship, Spanish and British colonialization; (b) sterling roles as surrogate parents; and (c) dominant pioneering and “backbone” roles in voluntary institutions, churches, political parties and professional groups (Cole, 1996).

Statement of the Problem The pervasive non-legitimization of women's roles and contributions within the education sector exists despite: a higher percentage of women in the teaching profession;

more equitable numbers at the level of principalship, particularly at elementary and special schools; and higher levels of academic qualifications among women (Dove, 1999;

Morris 1999; Taylor, 1997). Male dominance is characterized in the education system of Trinidad and Tobago through policymaking and documentation epitomized by consolidated autocratic, cautious, and power-oriented traditionalist styles. There is a need for more equitable gender representation in educational leadership (Morris; Taylor). The maintaining of traditionalist bureaucratic systems clashes with the reform mandate, which seeks to establish a unified and pro-inclusive education system for Trinidad and Tobago’s educational policy.

When women's roles as leaders have been recognized, their contributions have gone unrecorded by the dominant patriarchy. According to a senior male school supervisor, there is a consolidation of patriarchy among educational policy makers (Conrad,1998). The supervisor attributed this reaction of male executives to rapidly changing governments, greater demands on education without adequate resources, an oil and natural gas based economy--impacted upon by first world issues, and the perception that women are taking over the society and its leadership. There are perceptions that the bureaucracy has become more of a product of control and manipulation, than a process for reform, and that woman in leadership are being marginalized. These views may create a threat to educational reorganization and change, and the very foundation of our democracy. The tendency to consolidate autocratic leadership styles, according to that supervisor, poses a problem to teacher motivation, educational reform, academic achievement, community dissatisfaction, and transformational leadership.

Purpose of the Study This study explores the experiences and perceptions of four women educational leaders from Trinidad and Tobago. The goal of the study is the sharing and documentation of the voices of four women, well recognized informally as educational leaders by the audience of teaching practitioners. I use qualitative methodology and oral history interviewing to collect data needed for penetrative qualitative analysis without the constraints of participant observation or shadowing.

In this study, I develop narratives which seek to share and understand the following elements: (a) the character and experiences of the four participantinterviewees; (b) how they experienced and nurtured the ethic of care; and (c) their leadership styles. A synthesis of literature on leadership, women in educational leadership, and care theory is provided to relate relevant research to the narratives of lived experiences.

This inquiry study comprises five chapters which include: (a) the conceptualization and clarification of the problem, (b) the background and related literature; (c) the design and methods used for investigation; and (d) the four oral history narratives; and (e) implications for the practice of leadership and recommendations for future research.

Methods of Inquiry I used methodology based on qualitative inquiry. Qualitative research, according to Merriam (1988), facilitates an inductive focus on the process, meaning, and understanding of the narratives developed, and utilized fieldwork in a natural setting. The nature of the problem--the lack of voice among women at executive levels of educational leadership--warrants an approach to data collection and analysis that is explorative (Morse, 1991).

In seeking to emphasize the practices and experiences unique to the participant interviewees, I opted for a descriptive and interpretivist approach, characteristic of qualitative methodology, using oral history interviewing (Reinharz, 1992). Oral history techniques accommodated my objectives of sharing the voices and facilitating the legitimization of the participants (Kramer & Masur, 1979). The sharing of these women’s voices in a narrative style is intended to enable greater understanding of middle level educational leaders at the school level, and executive leadership at the Ministerial level (Hampsten, 1986).



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