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Principal Voice: Triumphs, Trials and Training. The Experience of Beginning in Principalship from the Perspectives of Principals in Years 3 - 5.

ABSTRACT It is widely accepted that the quality of school leadership and school improvement are inextricably linked. Therefore it can be said that, investment in principal development is an investment in quality schools, and therefore an investment in the future. This report describes a qualitative research project undertaken in 2006, to examine the experience of beginning in principalship in New Zealand, from the perspectives of principals now in their third to fifth year in the role. It attempts to seek answers to questions: What training do those entering principalship receive prior to taking up the role? How are principals supported as they begin in the role? What support is available to them currently - beyond the induction period? What training and support is considered to be effective by beginning principals? What else could do they believe could be introduced to enhance current support and training? Twelve principals were interviewed, from a diverse range of school contexts, individually, and then a focus group approach was used to affirm and clarify emergent findings, and to suggest a potential model for improved development. A review of the literature identified a series of stages that principals move through during their career and the importance of professional learning to support each career stage. It highlighted several strategies deemed to be effective in assisting the development of leadership within the stages identified. The literature concluded, that while there is an awareness of both the stages of leadership, and the importance of targeted development to meet the needs of individuals throughout those stages, most learning remains organisationally rather than individually focussed, and there remains a lack of a planned, structured and synergistic approach to principal development. The biggest area of concern is suggested as being in the stage where principals are deemed to be effective. The research findings showed that in the current New Zealand context, there are several effective strategies enhancing principal professional learning. It does, however, conclude with several recommendations for strengthening and enhancing the status quo. Participants in the research suggested that many of the current initiatives offered, remain isolated from each other and now need to be brought into a more robust and aligned framework. There is a perception from those involved in the research, that beyond the induction period, currently eighteen months, there is a void in professional learning opportunities, and that principals struggle to get targeted feedback that allows them to identify their needs. They further suggested that greater preparation for principalship on appointment was required, and believed that a period shadowing an experienced colleague would be invaluable.
Type of thesis
Patuawa, J. M. (2007). Principal Voice: Triumphs, Trials and Training. The Experience of Beginning in Principalship from the Perspectives of Principals in Years 3 - 5. (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2273
The University of Waikato
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