Catholic secondary school principals' leadership on functional community and social capital in relation to critical pedagogy

Thomas Vincent Forget, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examines the role of principals in Catholic secondary schools serving students from low socio-economic status in the creation of functional community and social capital in their schools. Catholic secondary schools evidence success in standard academic terms beyond that which would be predicted for their disadvantaged populations. The existence of functional community and social capital are posited as reasons for this success. The study explored with principals whether and how they fostered these functions.^ At the same time, Catholic secondary schools embody an implicit tension of purpose between seeking standard academic success by their students or inviting socially critical thinking from their students. The study reflected with participants on their responses to this purposive tension in light of the insights of critical pedagogy.^ In a series of in-depth phenomenological interviews, participants articulated a central theme of communal mission; one unified history, purpose, and vision of their schools. Elements of communal mission include Catholic religious faith, school charism, high concurrence, a formation vision of education, and supportive interpersonal relationships in the school.^ Minor themes of difference and power in their school communities were articulated by study participants. Participants valued difference among students, but discouraged difference about the communal mission among staff members. Participants indicated collegial power for faculty members. They said students had little power, yet demonstrated significant relational power for students in their schools.^ The study concluded that participants foster and maintain functional community and social capital in their schools. A distinction about the nature of functional community as more internal to the schools and less centered on relationships among students' families was made from Coleman's proposition. Participants built functional community and social capital by leading schools in the articulation and maintenance of communal mission. The study concluded that participants engaged in variant degrees of practice of critical pedagogy in their leadership, especially under the rubric of a formation vision of education. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Secondary|Education, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

Thomas Vincent Forget, "Catholic secondary school principals' leadership on functional community and social capital in relation to critical pedagogy" (January 1, 1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9530947.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9530947

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