School principals growing positive affect and sustaining overall satisfaction with life contributes to engaging positively with school community

Carter, Susan (2018) School principals growing positive affect and sustaining overall satisfaction with life contributes to engaging positively with school community. In: European Educational Research Association 2018 Conference (ECER 2018), 3-7 Sept 2018, Bolzano, Italy .

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Over the last decade there has been a focus to improve student attainment levels and be inclusive of all students, especially our most disadvantaged. This improvement can be seen to occur through enhancing leadership capacity (Riley & Mulford, 2007), and opportunity, in order to improve outcomes. Simultaneously a cacophony of educational leaders have described issues with job complexity and difficulty sustaining personal well-being (Devos, Bouckenooghe, Engels, Hutton & Aelterman, 2007; Fullan, 2009, Lacey, 2007, Phillips & Sen, 2011) leading to shortages as people choose not to undertake leadership roles (Norton, 2015). Research has shown that principals are unlikely to confide in a college if they are having issues with sustaining their well-being (Lacey, 2007: Carter, 2016), and this can lead to serious stress (Riley, 2013; 2015) affecting job performance and overall satisfaction with life (De Nobile & McCormick, 2010). This concern has been voiced both nationally and internationally (Devos, et al., 2007; Engels, Hutton, Devos, Bouckenooghe, & Aelterman, 2008; Riley, 2015). In 2010, Hurrell raised the issue that researchers still have much to learn about well-being in the workplace and there is minimal research into how experienced educational leaders sustain their well-being (Carter, 2016). This paper contributes to this research gap.
Providing a concise definition for well-being is a complex pursuit with numerous meanings available. Therefore, it is pertinent to conceptually clarify the definition of well-being used in this study which is based on Diener’s (2009) work. The definition consists of three components and two domains, all of which involve cognitive appraisal:
1) life satisfaction, where one has cognitively appraised that one’s life was good;
2) high levels of pleasant emotions; and
3) relatively low levels of negative moods.
Life satisfaction is considered a cognitive domain as it is based on evaluative beliefs and attitudes about one's life, where as positive affect and negative affect comprise the affective domain (Diener, 2009).
People’s views and definitions are personal and dependent upon how each individual evaluates their life and includes what lay people call happiness, peace, fulfilment, and life satisfaction (Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2003, p. 403).
Given that some, not all principals were reporting they were experiencing issues with maintaining their SWB (Lacey, 2007; Riley, 2013; 2015), the focus question became: How do principals maintain their SWB? In considering this question four conceptual questions surfaced:
1. How do principals conceptualise SWB?
2. What were the factors that impact upon SWB?
3. What strategies or processes are utilised to maintain SWB?
4. What are the dynamics of the interplay between how principals conceptualise their role, perform their work and maintain their SWB?
(Carter, 2016)

The main purpose of this study was to understand from the perspectives of principals, their experiences and how they maintained SWB to competently perform their role (i.e., lead a quality school) and in so doing understand those factors, which influence school leaders’ SWB and the various approaches used by the participants to maintain their SWB. Specific key aims that directed the study were:
• To reveal insights into how experienced principals maintained SWB.
• To identify potential mechanisms or strategies for maintaining SWB.

This paper illustrates a framework in action detailing how participants sought to grow positive affect and sustaining overall satisfaction with life in a manner that helped them to engage positively with the school community.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract published in Online Programme/Abstract Database. No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit of Accepted Version.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 01:33
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2019 02:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: participation and learning; health and subjective Well-being
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions

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