Student mentality: intentionalist perspectives about the principal

B. Jeannie Lum (University of Hawaii)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 1 August 1997


The purpose of this study is to examine student perspectives about the principal from an intentionalist perspective. The following claims are made: One, that student mentality appears as a knowledge construction and reified mode of consciousness out of which students perceive and interpret principals’ practices. This mental mode is composed of unconscious and conscious negative images and representations that are shared as general background knowledge to students’ collective intentionality about the principal. Two, that through metaphor we can discover this phenomenon in the reification of consciousness ‐ the objectification of the principal and self‐objectification of students in the relationship based on an information fetishism in the communicative form of gossip. And three, furthermore, that student mentality is supported and reproduced in the traditional hierarchical organization of schools, institutionalized routine practices of principals, and extended through social knowledge networks that students share with other members of the school. Provides a metaphorical analysis of this mental configuration, identifies the social networks and school contexts that contribute to and sustain its construction and suggests that leadership needs to become better informed and sensitively aware in their reflective practices of intentional leadership.



Jeannie Lum, B. (1997), "Student mentality: intentionalist perspectives about the principal", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 210-233.

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Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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