Date of Submission
This research examines possibilities for advocacy leadership in Australian Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings regulated by current ECEC policy (Council of Australian Governments [COAG], 2009a). Advocacy leadership has been defined by Blank (1997) as leading with long- term planning and vision which can be utilised to reform public regulations and policy. Building upon Blank’s (1997) construction of advocacy leadership, this research considers ways to open possibilities for advocacy leadership in the Australian ECEC context through exploring the position of educational leader through changing research approaches. Of central concern in this research are apparent silences regarding advocacy leadership in the implementation and development of current policies including the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and School Aged Care (NQF).
A focus group and an individual interview were used as data collection methods to gather educators’ perspectives about advocacy leadership for themselves. Topical life history narratives were used as methodology to provide narratives for data analysis about one topic related to the participants’ work life. Participants were asked to share stories of their work life in response to questions about leadership in early childhood education. Participants were invited to join the focus group using purposeful selection. Four ECEC educators who did not hold a leadership position, were certificate, diploma or bachelor qualified with a minimum of five years’ experience and from the wider Brisbane area were invited to participate. Subsequently, one participant was invited to elaborate on her life history narrative responses through an individual interview. Although the research was focussed on the role of educational leaders in advocacy leadership, the participants were not educational leaders themselves. Data collected includes: a start list of constructs; transcripts of educators’ responses (from both the focus group and the interview) to questions about leadership prior to, and during, the introduction of the NQF; and field notes.
A Foucauldian genealogical analysis was used to analyse the data which were located in educators’ topical life history narratives about their work. These were read through three discursive lenses, administrative, educational and governmental lenses. A reading of the data through these lenses shows ways in which administrative and educational leadership discourses can be seen to be predominant ways educators narrate their perspectives of leadership. At times, these narrations appear to express their experience of leadership as competing expectations and priorities. The analysis of the data reading for techniques of governmentality highlights ways in which there are multiple opportunities to construct leadership in ECEC. The consideration of ways discourses and techniques of governmentality enable and constrain advocacy leadership opens possibilities for thinking about and doing leadership differently in ECEC. This research could inform both ECEC leaders and educators in their practices and responses to current policy.
School of Education
Master of Education (Research) (MEd(Res))
Faculty of Education and Arts
Beane, L. (2016). Advocacy leadership in early childhood: Educators' perspectives (Doctoral thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from http://researchbank.acu.edu.au/theses/654