Principals are increasingly responsible for ensuring an equitable learning environment in their schools. The development of a disposition to meet this responsibility is an under-researched area. This study was a qualitative narrative analysis of the stories of five white, female, elementary principals from the same suburban school district who were interviewed to understand where their disposition may originate and how their disposition manifests itself in their self-reported decisions and actions. The following question became the focus of the research: What do principals report are the factors that support or challenge their decision-making regarding students and families with diverse characteristics? A qualitative inquiry method with an emphasis on narrative analysis was used to identify themes. These themes were illuminated using the lens of Bourdieu's sociological theory of habitus and field. Principal narratives of equity fell into two broad thematic areas of capital and management. Principals who participated in this study build social capital, which is then used as a currency to create and support equity with the other habitus and structures on the field. According to the analysis of the data, the stances principals take to provide equity include a managerial orientation. The analyses of the narratives reveal that where principals stand for equity is evident through the stories they tell rather than their statements of what they believe and value. This study suggests that building upon the stories of personal experiences may be a good starting point for professional development around issues of equity. These opportunities could strengthen a principal's ability to both understand and articulate a concrete set of self-expectations for equity. Additionally, Bourdieu's theory of habitus and field presents a way to understand a principal's actions and intentions on their field of work.
|Advisor:||Naso, Paul A.|
|Commitee:||Cahill, Gail, Fink, Katherine|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Access, Bourdieu, Disposition, Equity, Leadership, Principals|
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