The relevance of institution leaders’ personal qualities for providing quality education is widely recognized. The purpose of this paper is to explore vocational education and training (VET) institution leaders’ character features. The research question was twofold: What are the features of the character of the pedagogical leaders of three Latvian VET institutions according to students, teachers and institution board members? What are the differences between respondents’ groups regarding their perceptions of leaders’ virtues?
Six members of the institution board, five teachers and six students participated in structured qualitative interviews collected in 2013 in three high-quality VET institutions from different fields (tourism, sports and maritime education). Secondary analysis of latent content was used to explore respondents’ perceptions of leaders’ virtues, using software AQUAD 7 for qualitative data analysis.
The results revealed significant differences between students’ and staff (teachers’ and institution board members’) perceptions: the staff members appreciated particularly leaders’ performance virtues (“teamwork orientation”) and intellectual virtues (“critical thinking”), whereas, for students, heads’ moral virtues were more relevant, especially “magnanimity”. Respondents also showed concern about VET institution leaders’ civic virtues (“neighborliness,” “community awareness,” and “communicability”).
The results suggest that different perspectives, and in particular students’ voices, should be integrated in VET leaders’ assessment process and that their continuing professional development should also address their intellectual, moral and civic virtues.
This study represents an innovative methodological trial for investigating educational institution heads’ leadership from the lens of virtue ethics.
Research financed by the European Regional Development Fund within the post-doctoral project number 220.127.116.11/VIAA/1/16/071 and by the University of Latvia within the research project “Human, technologies and quality of education” (2016-2018) conducted at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art.
Fernández González, M., Pīgozne, T., Surikova, S. and Vasečko, Ļ. (2019), "Students’ and staff perceptions of vocational education institution heads’ virtues", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-11-2018-0124Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited