A Critical Analysis of Systemic Professional Development Offerings for Principals in Education Queensland Secondary Schools

Mr Dean Russell (). A Critical Analysis of Systemic Professional Development Offerings for Principals in Education Queensland Secondary Schools Professional Doctorate, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mr Dean Russell
Thesis Title A Critical Analysis of Systemic Professional Development Offerings for Principals in Education Queensland Secondary Schools
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Professor Neil Cranston
Total pages 181
Total colour pages 2
Total black and white pages 179
Abstract/Summary This dissertation is the outcome of a qualitative research project which critically analysed the suite of professional development programs provided by Education Queensland (responsible for the state government school system in Queensland) for Principals. The project focussed specifically on secondary school Principals. Five Education Queensland programs were included in the scope of this study: • Strategic Leaders Program • Leadership Toolkit • Enhancing Leadership for the Future (ELF) • Mentors for First Time Principals • Supportive School Leadership Program The overall focus of this research was the examination of these professional development programs for Principals by addressing the following four research questions: 1. What is the level of uptake and awareness of professional development programs among a group of Principals and Executive Directors (Schools) (supervisors of Principals) across the 2002-2006 period? 2. How well do these professional development programs meet their intended outcomes in practice in terms of an alignment between intended and actual outcomes? 3. Do participants in these professional development programs, or supervisors of participants, believe the programs contribute to improved leadership in so far as school performance and/or student learning is improved? 4. What suggestions can the Principals and other senior officers make in regard to current professional development programs and other potential learning opportunities for Principals? A review of literature examined the forces of change that have contributed to the complexity of the Principal’s role in recent decades and the work that has occurred in many contexts in order to professionally develop Principals in this new era of complexity. The literature review revealed that the role of the Principal has changed significantly in recent decades and that Principals are now doing work that is different from that done by Principals decades ago. Professional development for Principals has evolved in an attempt to align with this changing role. A body of professional development for Principals is occurring internationally, in Australia and in Queensland. However, research indicates that this new wave of professional development for Principals has not had a high level of success in achieving the intended outcomes. The findings of this research project would suggest that Education Queensland secondary Principals are accessing a limited amount of professional development offered by their own system. This may be partially because of an evident lack of awareness of what professional development programs are actually offered by Education Queensland. Both these findings may be linked to a miscommunication of corporate expectations between Education Queensland’s Central Office and Regional and District Offices and schools. When these programs are completed by Principals, the findings of the research suggest that based on the perspectives of the participants, only the Strategic Leaders program, Enhancing Leadership for the Future (ELF) and the Mentors for First Time Principals program were effective and had strong alignment between intended outcomes and the perceived outcomes of the participants. None of the programs are effecting a direct improvement in school or student learning outcomes. Recommendations for improving professional development programs for Principals to emerge from the research include developing individualised professional development based on the context of the Principal, increasing opportunities for Principals to develop collegial and professional relationships with other Principals, utilising programs and expertise offered by universities, increasing the scope and depth of mentoring and coaching programs and creating professional development opportunities which scaffold the learning experiences against real-life work tasks completed by the Principals in their schools.
Keyword Principal Professional Development Leadership
Additional Notes 179-181

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Created: Mon, 17 May 2010, 17:30:44 EST by Mr Dean Russell