Priests and heateachers 'doing theology: exploring insights from paired reflection to develop leadership priorites for vision and ethos in two Church of England primary schools

PhD Thesis


Roper, Q. 2020. Priests and heateachers 'doing theology: exploring insights from paired reflection to develop leadership priorites for vision and ethos in two Church of England primary schools. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Humanities and Education Studies
AuthorsRoper, Q.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctorate of Education
Abstract

This thesis reports on a study undertaken in two Church of England primary schools, which engaged priests and headteachers in the practice of paired theological reflection. It employed an experiential methodology with two distinct strands; a research method based on the ‘Doing Theology Spiral’ (Green, 2009) and narrative theological inquiry, through which the author interpreted participants’ experiences. The resulting thesis contributes to the emerging knowledge and evidence base around church school leadership, proposing how theological reflection, rooted in the practical and everyday, might guide educational practice.

The study used ‘Ordinary Theology’ (Astley, 2002a, 2002b, 2013a, 2013b) as a conceptual framework, focusing on individuals’ stories and the interaction between Christian tradition, doctrine and the participants’ lived experience. Insights from Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and capital (Bourdieu, 1977) assisted in revealing individuals’ dispositions and examining social influences on participants and their interactions. Data analysis, underpinned by a system of coding, uncovered patterns and connections within individual narratives and experiences, with meaning derived through a process of narrative thematic analysis.

In this thesis, the author explores the issue that priests and headteachers will encounter questions relating to their own role and ministry whilst discerning how theology inspires vision, ethos and leadership in schools with a Christian foundation. The findings arising from the data inform considerations for designing a new approach for priests and church school leaders to engage in theological conversation as an ongoing learning event. The author, as Director of Education for an Anglican diocese, also proposes initiating a collaborative process with schools and parishes with the intention of developing and piloting this process of inquiry and reflection in their specific contexts.

The conclusion of the study is that as priests and headteachers draw deeper into the life of their shared community, the richness of experiences, insights and responses as they develop new situations from learning and doing theology together could be truly transformational.

KeywordsPriests; Headteachers; Church of England; Primary schools; Leadership priorities; Vision; Ethos
Year2020
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Open
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Restricted
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Aug 2021
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8y654/priests-and-heateachers-doing-theology-exploring-insights-from-paired-reflection-to-develop-leadership-priorites-for-vision-and-ethos-in-two-church-of-england-primary-schools

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