Bottlenecks and Breakthroughs: A Narrative Inquiry into the Storied Experiences of how School Administrators Understand their Efforts Towards Decolonization

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This research study was undertaken to offer a space to engage in conversation and to make sense of how school administrators understand their efforts toward decolonization. It evolved out of curiosity in how narratives have shaped and continue to reshape our current context of the curriculum, and how to best (re)consider the current knowledge structures that are present in schools. The purpose of this study is to come to a better understanding of how school administrators understand their role towards decolonizing education. The guiding question for this research was, what does it mean to live together well in this world, and what is the role of curriculum in it? Narrative inquiry as a methodology, offered, by way of interviews and written narratives, an opportunity to attend to the stories using the commonplaces of temporality, sociality and place. The field texts included research conversations transcripts, field notes, and journals. Three narrative accounts were co-composed, one for each participant. The use of narratives allowed participants to express their views and articulate their own interpretation of their lives and stories. After looking across the narrative accounts, three resonant threads were identified that highlighted the importance of understanding a Settler1 identity, of unlearning colonialism, engaging in sustained professional learning, and of embracing ambiguity. One conclusion arising from this study is that unlearning colonialism is an ongoing process.
Decolonization, Story, Unlearning, Settler identity, Colonialism, Leadership, Narrative inquiry
Sarson, A. (2023). Bottlenecks and Breakthroughs: A narrative inquiry into the storied experiences of how school administrators understand their efforts towards decolonization (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from