Different worlds: The cadences of context, exploring the emotional terrain of school principals’ practice in schools in challenging circumstances
Mac Ruairc, Gerry
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Brennan, Jarlath, & Mac Ruairc, Gerry. Different worlds:The cadences of context, exploring the emotional terrain of school principals’ practice in schools in challenging circumstances. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, doi: 10.1177/1741143217725320
The centrality of emotions in the personal and professional practice of school leaders is by now well established in scholarship. Much of the investigation that has been carried out over the years provides a strong basis and rationale for the data presented in this paper. This study sought to explore the extent to which the socio-economic context of the school impacts the emotional timbre of the interactions of school principals and to seek to establish how this group of leaders manage the emotional drivers of their different socio-economic contexts. This paper specifically focuses on principals' perspectives on the impact children’s social worlds and their associated lives have on how leadership practice is shaped, from the point of view of the playing out of emotions in school. Qualitative research using multiple, in-depth interviews and shadowing as research tools, was utilised to focus on the emotional experiences of the principals in the study. This approach enabled the research to come as close as possible to understanding the meaning principals make of their lived experiences from their subjective point of view. Most of the data presented here will explore the perspectives of leaders working in schools in some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Ireland.