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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
It has become a custom for this Editor to point to the diversity of countries represented by the contributors to each issue of the journal. It is a source of pride that writers from many countries contribute to the journal and thus help satisfy one of its long-held intentions – to represent the best of scholarship from around the world. In this issue, however, little can be said about the origin of the contributors since four of the five articles have been written by Australians. Several reasons have conspired to bring about such a design on this occasion and, as Editor, I feel somewhat strange in sending this manuscript to press. There is, nevertheless, one article from the Netherlands – it is our lead article, in fact – and its presence prevents me from labelling this “an all Aussie issue”. Readers should be reassured that the second issue of the 2006 volume will be more cosmopolitan in its authors’ makeup. But now – to the first issue in the journal’s 44th year of publication.
Our first article by Maslowski at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, is a most timely (some will say overdue), detailed analysis and synthesis of numerous inventories or scales that have been developed to enable researchers (and practitioners) to examine and to further their knowledge of school cultures. Maslowski notes that there are several validated instruments available for measuring cultural factors in both primary and secondary schools although these are all limited to the countries in which they were developed. The article will be of use to scholars and, especially, practitioners who want to “diagnose” the cultures of their schools.
Hansford and Ehrich next assess the significance of mentoring programs designed to assist the professional development of principals. Forty research papers were subjected to a structured and searching review and were coded according to relevant criteria. Although both positive and negative outcomes of mentoring were reported in the 40 papers, substantially more were favourable in their findings. Frequently cited positive outcomes included support, sharing ideas, and development as professionals. Negative outcomes included lack of time to conduct mentoring programs effectively and personality or expertise mismatch. The authors provide herein an excellent background paper for any education system embarking on a mentoring program.
The next article by McCormick, Ayres and Beechey, investigates the relationships among teachers’ occupational stress, their coping with such, their self-efficacy and their perceptions of the curriculum changes that were integral to a major educational reform. A theoretical framework that included the attribution-of-responsibility for stress model, social cognitive theory and perceptions of change guided the study. One of several significant findings is that the teachers involved may have coped with stress associated with the curriculum changes had they used palliative strategies rather than direct problem solving. The findings also add considerably to a growing understanding of the emerging concept of self-efficacy.
Our fourth article, set in the Australian state of Tasmania, provides guidance to school leaders and others regarding the effective implementation of information communication technology (ICT). The authors, Robertson, Grady, Fluck and Webb, report on their analysis of interviews and conversations with 65 school-based personnel in 50 schools. Fourteen themes were identified, many of which related to issues of governance. Of significance was the similarity of the conversations and the likelihood that they would be concerned with people and processes rather than with ICT technology/software/hardware and the like.
The final article in this issue addresses issues relevant to the higher education sector in Australia from the late 1980s. Dollery, Murray and Crase employ a fascinating framework to examine reform policy in Australian higher education – Le Grand’s conceptual model of the interaction between human motivation and policy formulation. This is the first application of the Le Grand model to higher education reform and the results of such are most revealing. The novel, metaphorical guidelines of the model contribute to an understanding of the changes that have taken place in Australian higher education because of the reform process and also account for some of the unintended consequences of such. We must sadly acknowledge David Murray’s contribution to this paper prior to his death in late 2004.
A. Ross Thomas