The uses and abuses of power: teaching school leadership through children's literature

Thomson, Pat (2014) The uses and abuses of power: teaching school leadership through children's literature. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 46 (4). pp. 367-386. ISSN 1478-7431

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There are relatively few studies of how representations of teachers, schools and educational administrators in popular films and television might be, and are, used in leadership preparation. This paper seeks to add to this small body of work; it reports on an exploratory study of the representation of headteachers in contemporary children's fiction. Thirty-one texts are analysed to ascertain key themes and the major characterisations. The paper draws on children's literature scholars to argue that both the historical school story and its contemporary counterpart focus heavily on the power of the head to control the micro-world of the school. Because these fictional accounts deal with issues of power and justice more openly than many mainstream educational administration texts, this makes them particularly useful in the preparation of potential school leaders.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Educational Administration and History on 15/09/2014, available online:
Keywords: headteachers, representations, children's literature
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Collier, Elanor
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 11:15
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 14:40

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