AWEJ Volume.3 Number.4, 2012                                                                                                   pp. 19 – 35

Abstract PDF
Full Paper PDF

Leadership Perspectives and Influences: A Conversation with Five Leaders in TESOL

Dr. Lauren Stephenson
College of Education, Zayed University
Dubai, UAE


This article draws on some of the initial findings of a qualitative research project that seeks to describe and interpret the leadership perspectives, significant events, successes, challenges and relationships that impact the leadership practices of five internationally renowned leaders in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The methodology used in this study is narrative inquiry (Connelly and Clandinin, 1990). Using a convenience sample the study seeks to explore leadership perspectives and identity formation at the level of lived experiences situated in a complex, globalized TESOL context with rapidly changing characteristics. The specific findings include the leadership perspectives and practices of five TESOL leaders; the influences that have shaped their leadership development and how they became leaders in the profession. Data were drawn from electronic interviews and were analysed using an inductive process of identifying similarities and differences across the participants’ stories. Drawing on writing techniques of fiction used in narrative inquiry (Richardson, 1990; 1999), the findings are presented as a fictitious panel discussion and are interpreted in a concluding reflection.

Key words: leadership, TESOL, narrative inquiry


Lauren Stephenson holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and organizational learning from the
University of Sydney, Australia. She is currently an Associate Professor in the College of Education at
Zayed University, United Arab Emirates. Dr Stephenson is an experienced educator with a background in
English language teaching, teacher education, professional development and educational leadership. She
has published and presented papers in the areas of educational leadership, teacher professional learning,
organizational learning, teacher education, collaborative research and English language education