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Lies, damned lies and storytelling: an exploration of the contribution of principals’ anecdotes to research, teaching and learning about the management of schools and colleges

By Angela Thody, Peter Downes, Mark Hewlett and Harry Tomlinson


This article investigates the extent to which story telling can be an acceptable and effective presentation of experience which facilitates research, teaching and learning in education management. Stories, written by school principals about real events which influenced their practice, are interspersed with discussion first, on the art of storytellers and how their magic can be distinguished from that of actors and of management gurus. Secondly, story telling is suggested as a method of research since it records authoritative experience, can lead to categorisation. is documentary in source, recreates the past from participant observation and offers easy access to data. Thirdly, storytelling is an effective teaching method, stimulating imagination, offering learning stimuli from varying sources, linking teacher and taught through shared experiences, allowing relaxation in the learning process and opening up opportunities for frank exchanges of feelings. The three stories included in the article offer the reader the chance to test the ideas presented

Topics: X370 Academic studies in Education (across phases)
Year: 1997
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