The Anatomy of Conversation: A Critical Case Study of the Comunidad-Building Conversations of a School Leader




Garcia, Enrique

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Currently, social and political forces contribute to public school communities that are characterized by fear, finger-pointing, and self-serving interests. In particular, these dehumanizing characteristics contribute to lack of community within schools among and between campus leaders and teacher leaders. This current reality stems from the reliance on traditional directive, command-and-control approaches to organizational development and mechanistic systems views of school communities. Purpose: This research seeks to reframe the understanding and practice of organizational development by viewing it terms of collaborative, community-building within the organic systems of a campus community in order to underscore how current approaches based on directive, organizational-development practices that view campuses from a mechanistic hierarchical systems perspective result in fractured communities (Block, 2002) that dehumanize campus and teacher leaders. By understanding the contexts, conditions, and attributes of community-building conversations campus leaders will learn to engage in restorative community-building (Block, 2002) in order to rehabilitate campus communities. It attempts to find alternatives for campus leaders to engaging teacher leaders in ways other than command and control leadership and hierarchical structures. Methodology: Epistemologically, this research is framed from a critical social constructivist perspective couched in dialogical learning and dialogical community theory. Data collection done through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews. A dialogical learning/community process will be used in the analysis of the data in order to problematize the process of community-building. Findings and Implications for Practice and the Literature: This research is a step toward deconstructing current practice of command and control leadership in public schools and the adverse affect it has on school communities. The process for developing a culture of conversation through a theoretical framework for effective conversations is presented a more humanizing alternative based on inviting others to collaboratively share their intelligence for the practice of campus leaders engaged in organizational development and as a contribution to the organizational development literature.



Contexts, Conditions, Attributes, Campus leaders, Comunidad-building, Conversation, Communicative action, Dehumanizing, Self-organizing systems, Restorative community, Platica, Dialogical learning, Turning to one another, Invitation, Ontology, Habermas, Bakhtin, Freire, Wheatley, Block


García, E. (2017). <i>The anatomy of conversation: A critical case study of the comunidad-building conversations of a school leader</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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