Saturday 18 March 2017

Southwell & Social Construction

  • What does Southworth mean by 'social construction'?

Social constructivism is the idea that our understanding of the world is based on the shared ideas, concepts and expectations created through the interactions with others.  Vygotsky has been a key theorist of social constructivism.

Socially constructed views of educational leadership change based on culture, history and context(Southworth, 2000). It is based on the current beliefs of educational leadership and what ‘good’ educational leadership is. This has continuously changed over time from where the role was more of a managerial role to now focused on more inspirational leadership while still requiring aspects of educational leaders as managers. Southworth suggests that social construction is the assumed norms, though we may not always be conscious of them.

  • What might be some of the 'deeper structural beliefs' to which Southworth is alluding?
Some of the ‘deeper structural beliefs to which Southworth is alluding to might be the traditional forms of leadership. This may include the idea what white males have traditional occupied leadership roles in most settings. Race, gender and religion (as well as many other cultural and social contexts) have impacted the what is considered ‘good leadership’ through the passing of accepted norms throughout generations. It is often difficult (or at least an uphill battle) to redefine the socially constructed norms into more equitable expectations and understandings.

Southworth, G. (2000). School leadership in English schools at the close of the 20th Century: Puzzles, problems and cultural insights, Paper presented at the meeting of the American Education Research Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.

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