The purpose of this paper is to introduce readers to the special issue on “middle space” education leaders (those individuals who are second-in-command in schools). The…
The purpose of this paper is to introduce readers to the special issue on “middle space” education leaders (those individuals who are second-in-command in schools). The special issue contains papers pertaining to mentoring those preparing for and aspiring to the assistant school leader role, as well as papers on programs that support new assistant principals/vice-principals through mentoring and coaching. The authors provide background on middle space leadership and mentoring from existing research literature, introduce the international papers selected for the issue, and identify unifying themes across the papers.
The authors provide highlights of relevant research literature on the importance of mentoring for school leaders in general, but also specifically address the need for mentoring for middle space leaders from the scant literature that exists on the topic. After reviewing the relevant literature, the authors provide an overview of the seven papers that were chosen for the issue through a rigorous peer-review process.
The co-editors of this special issue identify common themes that emerged from the papers chosen for the issue. In general, authors note that middle space leaders have unique mentoring and coaching needs, and there are few formal programs that address their needs. However, there is a growing awareness of the need to support assistant principals through structured mentoring programs, as well as preparing and mentoring those who aspire to the position.
The seven papers chosen for the special issue represent a variety of research methodologies. A limitation is that the majority of the studies are qualitative, with small sample populations. However, even with small sample sizes, commonalities can be seen across the studies and across international contexts.
This review summarizes the issues facing middle space leaders in education and how they can be effectively addressed. The global audience that can benefit from engaging with the papers in this special issue includes educational leadership faculty, educational governing bodies, policymakers, school district central office personnel, senior principals, and assistant principals themselves.
This paper and the seven that follow extend the scant research literature in the realm of middle space leaders in education. They provide unique insights – from different international contexts including the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, and New Zealand – into the need for and potential benefits of mentoring and coaching aspiring and new middle space leaders.
Reports on a research project which investigated the preparation ofbeginning principals in Queensland primary and secondary governmentschools. Thirty‐six principals…
Reports on a research project which investigated the preparation of beginning principals in Queensland primary and secondary government schools. Thirty‐six principals completed a questionnaire, a return rate of about 80 per cent. Of these principals, 13 were surveyed early in the second year of their principalship, and 23 in August of their first year. Six of the first‐year principals were interviewed in the following month. Presents an overview of the findings, along with some general observations on their practical implications and recommendations for action.
At role conferences, high school deputy principals are continually re‐examining their role in the schools. Increasingly, in school level co‐operative evaluation programmes they are analyzing their work and its contribution to school effectiveness. This paper attempts to develop a classification that would provide a useful framework within which, at both system level and school level, they might examine their behaviour and consider modifications. From a Queensland study, five dimensions of leader behaviour are identified. They are Consideration, Classroom Facilitation, Staff Utilization, Authoritarianism and Routinisation. Other behaviours identified from the literature are Teacher Classroom Contact and School Management Maintenance tasks. These seven behaviours can involve interaction with either of two groups of people; clients and colleagues, thus providing a 14 segment grid that deputies might use to classify their behaviour when considering what they are doing in schools and what might be done better.
Hypotheses on principals’ optimism, teacher perceptions of that optimism, and of school effectiveness were tested. The school was the unit of analysis. Teachers and…
Hypotheses on principals’ optimism, teacher perceptions of that optimism, and of school effectiveness were tested. The school was the unit of analysis. Teachers and principals in 50 secondary schools responded to two standard measures. To avoid same respondent bias, about half of the teachers in each school completed one instrument, half the other. Teacher perceptions of their principal’s optimism and of their school’s effectiveness were correlated, but the principal’s self‐reported optimism was not a predictor of perceived effectiveness. The congruence of teacher perceptions of the principal’s optimism and the measured optimism was associated with perceived school effectiveness. Teachers saw the principals to be less optimistic than the principals scored; however, teacher perceptions of optimism and self‐reported optimism were correlated across schools. We suggested explanations for this unusual combination of significant difference with significant correlation, and for other findings
Reports on a peer assistance programme for principals involving training, observation and feedback. The sample, from three administrative regions for schooling in NSW…
Reports on a peer assistance programme for principals involving training, observation and feedback. The sample, from three administrative regions for schooling in NSW Australia, involved nine pairs of principals, matched by age, experience as a principal and school size. The principals were trained in how and what to observe, and how to provide feedback. They then shadowed each other for two consecutive days prior to providing that feedback. Data were obtained from principal ratings and journals, researcher observation and interviews. Reports the findings in terms of an overall rating by principals, claimed benefits and limitations, the perceived value of training and the criteria for effective matching. Endorses the efficacy of peer assistance as a form of professional development.
The hectic and fast‐paced nature of principals′ jobs oftenprohibits them from learning directly from their on‐the‐job experiences.Nevertheless, having the opportunity to…
The hectic and fast‐paced nature of principals′ jobs often prohibits them from learning directly from their on‐the‐job experiences. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to observe and interview a peer partner can allow principals to become more knowledgeable and reflective about their practice as school administrators. One such programme that encourages knowledge generation and reflection is peer‐assisted leadership (PAL), where principals shadow one another and conduct reflective interviews. The increased self‐knowledge and knowledge of the role of school administrators which principals gain as they engage in personal and vicarious experiential learning is described. In addition, the programme encourages the integration of theory and practice as principals compare a conceptual frame‐work of instructional leadership with the observed realities of their jobs. Principals′ reactions reveal their concern about being isolated from other administrators, their need for information that is immediately relevant, their desire to use alternative observation and feedback strategies with teachers, their frustration as instructional leaders, and their concern with being unfairly criticised by their superiors and others.
Explores the question of why principals rate their schools morehighly than do their own teachers. Following the work of others, showingthat disagreements between teachers…
Explores the question of why principals rate their schools more highly than do their own teachers. Following the work of others, showing that disagreements between teachers and principals stem mainly from disagreements on discipline, reports on results which show that views on disciplinary policy are the only factor which is strong enough to overcome the somewhat biased grading by principals. Concludes that, if a principal wants higher teacher morale and higher grading of their school, efforts must be made to develop greater congruence between teacher and principal expectations and actions on discipline.
The present study examined the potential and actual stress in terms of conflict and ambiguity, in the role of the elementary school principal. The investigation was…
The present study examined the potential and actual stress in terms of conflict and ambiguity, in the role of the elementary school principal. The investigation was focused on the pedagogical and the administrative domains of the principal's role. Data on the perceived ambiguity and conflict were collected by means of individually administered questionnaires to 65 elementary school principals in Israel. In addition, objective ambiguity was measured by content analysis of formal documents of the Ministry of Education. Results pointed at the existence of role conflict as well as that of role ambiguity in objective and in subjective terms. Activities which fell under the administrative domain contained fewer clements of stress than those in the pedagogic domain. It was concluded that role stress forced the principal to neglect his pedagogical duties in favor of the administrative duties.
In this study administrative behaviour of secondary Principals is examined to test hypotheses that assume this behaviour to be bureaucratic. Overall, non‐bureaucratic behaviour is found in the responses of a sample of twenty New South Wales high school Principals to a set of in‐basket items. An alternative role definition is therefore suggested — that of leader — and the implications of the Principals' leadership role definition are discussed.
This paper aims to provide an Australian perspective on successful school leadership.
The paper focuses on case studies in two Australian states (Tasmania and Victoria). Case studies for each state were developed independently and are reported separately.
The findings show a remarkable degree of commonality demonstrating that the core aspects of successful school leadership can be identified in ways that can help explain the complexity of principal leadership that leads to improved student outcomes.
Highlights the importance and contribution of the principal to the quality of education.