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The Man in The Principal's Office: An Ethnography

The Man in The Principal's Office: An Ethnography



Class Presentation Chapter 2-4

Class Presentation Chapter 2-4



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  • Tradition – an established practice or custom (The Canadian Oxford Dictionary) e.g. Tradition dictates that the teacher stands at the front and the desks are neatly aligned in rows. Rearranging the classroom into groups and/or work areas may be considered non-traditional Formal – (of education) officially given at a school, university, etc. (The Canadian Oxford Dictionary) An example of an informal education may simply be apprenticing under a master tradesman – this may be the “traditional” method of learning this particular craft, but it is not formal.
  • Ed Bell has had a variety of educational experiences, including formal, informal, traditional and non-traditional. Information on Ed taking courses towards his M.A., during evenings and summer sessions, and the professional growth policy, can be found in chapter 8.
  • As per the previous slide, Ed has a varied background with respect to his own education
  • When I discussed Ed’s educational background, one of the things I left out was his “education” as an interim principal(s), prior to being appointed to the position full-time at Taft Elementary Ed’s informal style is seen in his interactions with the students, instead of having them report to the principal’s office for “discussion”, conversations with students are often held just outside the classroom There is elaboration on Ed in the role of mentor/sponsor in chapter 8.

The Man in The Principal's Office: An Ethnography The Man in The Principal's Office: An Ethnography Presentation Transcript

  • Erica Allison Couto Shellie Deloyer Lisa Furlotte Melissa Kingston Eugene Lee Zhoufei Li Blair Springate
    • Major Themes
    • An Ethnography of Who/What
    • Connections to the Community
    • Educational Avenues
    • Academic Controversy
    • Final Thoughts & Questions
    • Chapter 2
    • A day in the life of Ed Bell
    • Chapter 3
    • Perceptions of Ed Bell:
    • -Personally
    • -Professionally
    • How typical is Ed Bell compared to other Principal’s?
    • Chapter 4
    • Great detail about Taft Elementary
    • -Physical Building
    • -The Staff
    • -Attendance Area
    • -The City/School District
  • An Ethnography of Who/What?
  • Ed Bell as a Typical Principal
  • Ed Bell as a Typical Principal, Cont'd
  • But How Typical is He?
    • He is a man of integrity and has belief in his role
    • He’s not a “yes-man”
    • He has a greater degree of autonomy
    • -(pg. 2)
  • Strange in the familiar and familiar in the strange …
    • “ I consider myself a teacher first, and an administrator second.”
    • -Another Principal, pg. 33
    • Ed in the staff room
    • Ed teaching and reading to the students
    • Ed and teacher leaving school on personal business
  • Time Period & Setting
    • The ethnography (and Ed's actions) are shaped by the time period and setting of the observations.
    • How would this ethnography be different if written about an Ontario Principal/school, and in modern times? What would remain the same? What would be different?
    • The more things change, the more they remain the same ...
  • Ed’s Life in his School and Community
    • Ed is so involved in the school community that he is not totally immersed in one single aspect of what he does
    • What exactly is Ed accomplishing?
    • Anything at all?
  • Perceptions & Participation
  • Ed & the School
    • “… talk is the work, i.e., it consumes most of an administrator’s time and energy” -Gronn, pg. 61
    • “ The school principal is a drifter moving in and out of different directions locations and areas and in and out of relationships and encounters” (pg. 78)
    • Traditional vs non-traditional
    • Formal vs informal
    • Formal does not always equal traditional
  • Ed Bell
    • Experienced a number of education
    • Methods during his formative years :
      • Rural school
      • Urban school
      • Life/work on the farm
      • Baptist College
      • Evening/correspondence classes
      • M.A. in Educational Administration
      • “ Professional Growth” policy
  • Comparison - Education
    • Ed
    • Mixed – formal, informal, traditional, non-traditional
    • Taft School
    • Formal / traditional
    • Suburban setting
    • School board
  • Comparison - Environment
    • Ed
    • Rural beginnings
      • New(er) to West Coast
      • New(er) to Urban area
    • Taft School
    • New school, in a new suburb, (expanding urban centre)
  • Comparison – Administrative Style
    • Ed
    • Education: university training: on-job
    • Mentored/sponsored
    • Taft School
    • Style is somewhat informal
    • Mentor/sponsor
    • Be it resolved, should principals live and work in the same school community?
    • “ A’s”- Yes; positive impact
    • “ B’s” - No; little or no impact
    • Ed Bell's diverse educational background makes him a better school principal
    • Vs
    • His lesser experience within the formal and traditional school system(s) does not make him as effective
    • What did we learn today?
    • ‘ The Man in the Principal’s Office: An Ethnography’ by Harry F. Wolcott. AltaMira Press, 1973
    • Gronn, P.C. (1983). Talk as the work: The Complishment of School Administration. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(1), pp. 1-21
    • Barlosky, M. (2003). In Search of Leadership Standards: Quest or Quagmire? Some Political and Practical Reflections. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 2 (1). pp. 47-64.