Learning to lead: an investigation into the preparation, induction, roles and practices of beginning principals: a Canadian study

Northfield, Shawn K. (2011) Learning to lead: an investigation into the preparation, induction, roles and practices of beginning principals: a Canadian study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The growing complexity regarding a principal's role and associated leadership tasks, combined with changing societal realms and educational reform pose serious challenges to even the most experienced educational leaders. For new school leaders, taking on the principalship within a given organizational context is predicated on the notion that learning the role is a continual process of "being and becoming."

This research inquires into the nature of early-phase leadership and strives to understand the phenomenon of the beginning principalship by examining roles, agency and practices of new leaders as influenced by their preparation and induction support. Given that school leaders impact the performance of organizational members and that new principals are required to perform the same job as their experienced counterparts, in order to identify ways to meet the needs of individuals transitioning into the position, it is important to understand new principals' experiences.

This qualitative phenomenological study used semi-structured interviews to investigate perceptions and experiences of sixteen newly appointed and one-year experienced principals from two separate school boards in the following areas: preparation and induction experiences, developing relationships and building trust with colleagues, as well as how newcomers enacted their roles, utilized their agency and exercised their emerging leadership practice.

Evidence substantiates that beginning principals experienced role-identity transition in adjusting to the nature and demands of new leadership, including administrative overload, and challenges associated with organizational dynamics and external influences. New leaders developed compensatory strategies and immediately acted to acquire organizational information and improve conditions for teaching and learning. The investigation found that beginning principals employed engagement processes and attended to "three dimensional" trust criteria to develop relationships and build trust. In addition, although new principals valued the use of cohorts, real-time training and mentoring, they missed receiving formal support during the transition time frame referred to as the "crossover gap."

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Day, C.
Keywords: Educational leadership, teacher-principal relationships, school principals, Canada
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 13320
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 28 May 2013 12:30
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2017 17:25
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13320

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