A Phenomenological Study of Mindfulness of Curriculum Directors in a Midwest State
Carenza, Gregory S.
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Problem: Today’s educational leaders face a growing barrage of challenges that threaten to detract from their ability to sustain resonant leadership over time. Leaders who ignore the signs and signals around them not only debilitate themselves as leaders but their organizations as well. These leaders simply are not getting enough, accurate, or timely information that helps them to sustain successful leadership over time. Procedures: In the rich tradition of qualitative research, this phenomenological study explored the phenomenon of mindful as it relates to curriculum directors. The grand tour question is “How is the phenomenon of mindfulness manifested in the work of curriculum directors?” The curriculum directors were selected using purposive sampling. A semi-structured interview, conducted with seven curriculum directors, explored various questions about mindfulness in their personal and professional lives. Upon the conclusion of the interviews, participants were asked to describe their understanding of mindfulness through the use of a journal response. Data analysis was conducted through the use of open, axial, and selective coding and was used to identify key themes. Verification of data included member checks, triangulation, rich, thick descriptions, and a reflexive journal. The findings were written up in a phenomenological structure to provide a narrative description of the experience. Findings: This study revealed eight mindful practices utilized among curriculum directors that help to sustain their success in their position. Those practices involve the use of feedback for learning and leading others, reflection for personal and professional growth, collaboration to build trusting relationships and the development of relationships through collegial support. In addition, mindful curriculum directors used planning and preparation to achieve success developed an awareness of themselves and others, saw dialogue and discussion as opportunities for growth, and saw purpose in their work. Conclusions: While reflection can seem unnatural and unrewarding, those who persevere acknowledge the power in the process itself. Leaders who seek the thoughts and insights of others set themselves up to lead confidently with the greatest amount of understanding. Recommendations: Educational leaders at all levels, especially curriculum directors, should engage in regular practice of mindful habits to develop their skills. They should be purposeful to set aside time with specific opportunities for reflection and renewal, and discover ways that the findings can be incorporated into their work with individuals and their organizations. Most importantly, leaders should seek to work from a mindful state of awareness.
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