Praxis Leadership: A Micro-Autoethnography of Intersections Between Tension, Spirituality and Education




Lunkin, Karen L. Maxfield

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This study explores the unexpected moments of tension experienced by educational leaders who consider themselves to be spiritual leaders. Our research questions that guide our work are: (a) How do educational leaders who self-identify as spiritual beings, make sense of unexpected moments of tension with students, teachers, parents and other community members (b) To what spaces do spiritual educational leaders go to negotiate unexpected moments of tension and (c) Why is this concept and inquiry important to the spiritual educational leader and education community? Two research partners and I are the primary unit of analysis. The research employs micro-autoethnography with critical self-reflection as our methodology which allowed us to explore our data sources within our lived experiences; and focuses on unexpected moments of tension; through interview, audio recording, poetry, artwork, song, written expression and plática. We created a process of analysis whereby we used multi modal and multi layered contexts of the data as a tool to paint a portrait with words purposed to find our collective voice and make it visual. This is a spiritual undertaking, which according to Dantley (2005) "is actually a spiritual activity that ...liberates one to create what is essential to enhance and often transform the real world. Faith allows one to read the world very differently." (p. 23) These data were then transformed into portraits of lived experiences informed by the written narratives and interviews. The contributions of this body of work invites a different type of conversation for educational leaders; a conversation that acknowledges the complexity of the lived experiences of educational leaders, including spirituality, as a part of a larger community; and one that embraces the need for using critical self-reflection for personal growth and development. Educational leaders who gain understanding of their multi-faceted selves through critical self-reflection are better positioned to serve others.



Autoethnography, Critical Self-Reflection, Educational Leadership, Micro-Ethnography, Spirituality, Plática, Praxis, Third Space


Lunkin, K. L. M. (2015). <i>Praxis leadership: A micro-autoethnography of intersections between tension, spirituality and education</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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