International schools as emotional arenas: facing the leadership challenges in a German context

Kelly, Helen (2017). International schools as emotional arenas: facing the leadership challenges in a German context. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


This study offers an understanding of the emotional challenges encountered by AGIS (Association of German International Schools) head teachers in the course of their role; the consequences and impacts these challenges have on their personal and professional lives and the strategies they use to cope. This mixed methods study employs a questionnaire survey of 34 AGIS leaders, plus semi-structured interviews with eight of them, to explore their lived experiences in relation to the emotional demands they face. The findings show that, in addition to the challenges experienced by heads in wider contexts, AGIS leaders face demands specific to the multi-cultural context and transitional nature of international schools. They also highlight how school leaders may contribute to the challenges they encounter through their poor understanding of the cultural contexts that they operate in.
The demands that heads face, may lead to a range of negative consequences and impacts for many. The coping strategies upon which they draw, reflect the context in which heads operate and their individual resilience capabilities. The study suggests a range of strategies by which leadership-training providers, school boards and regional and local networks may better support international school leaders. It is also suggested that international school leaders take greater initiative for both their own cultural literacy and the development of personal resilience capabilities. Such steps should reduce the demands placed on heads and enable them to better withstand the challenges they face.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Berlin International School
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year