Toward a Pedagogy of Self

Dec. 01, 2009

Source: Teachers College Record ,Volume 111 Number 12, 2009.

Background: The literature on emotional and social intelligence, based on the theoretical constructs of several authors, identifies self-awareness as a core skill for leadership development. However, there is very little research or theory on how one might develop a pedagogy of self-awareness for leaders.

Purpose/Focus of Study: This study describes an innovative leadership development program in self-awareness in the Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College. It describes both the theoretical and practical pedagogy of self-awareness training. What follows is a description of that pedagogy and some preliminary research results based on the journals and feedback of 45 students who completed the program in 2006.

Intervention/Program: The intervention consisted of daily 45-minute sessions of training in sensory awareness. The primary modes of training focused on breath, body sensations, listening, and visualizations. The training occurred as part of a five-day-per-week, six-week intensive leadership development master degree program over two summers.

Research Design: Participants recorded their thoughts and feelings in semi-structured journal entries immediately following the training sessions. At the end of each week, they reviewed their journal notes and wrote a weekly reflection on their experiences with the practice. In addition to the weekly reflections, they wrote three-week, six-week, and summative reflections on their experiences with the practice. These qualitative data were entered into NVivo software, coded, and analyzed for themes.

Results: The themes that emerged from the data led to the development of cognitive maps for practitioners that provide heuristics and developmental guides for practice, as well as refinements of the training protocols.

Updated: Oct. 19, 2009