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Constructing identities: perceptions and experiences of male primary headteachers

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This article presents research undertaken with male headteachers in early years schools within the UK and explores several influential discourses in relation to male headteachers' identities. The article discusses the ways in which different identities are constructed for headteachers by parents, governors and wider society, and also how a variety of discourses impact on men's professional lives. It seeks to examine themes inherent in headteachers' discourses as they reflect upon their roles and experiences within the school context and consider the practice of identity construction. The article notes that tensions are increased as a result of multiple, frequently conflicting identities, for example the pressure to present both distant and caring personae. The article concludes that the role of headship functions to protect men from the denigration to which other male teachers are sometimes subject. However, it may operate to distance them from the closer relationships which they frequently desire. As such the role is characterised by complexity.

Keywords: Gender; Leadership; Male headteachers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Brunel University, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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