Watts, Pauline (2012)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study offers an understanding of the leadership learning of headteachers through an exploration of their practices and perspectives when dealing with challenging situations. The research methodology uses semi-structured interviews to capture the experiences of eighteen primary school headteachers as they describe the challenges they face and the way in which they learn from them. The findings show that primary school leadership is embedded in relationships which are complex and challenging. The strategies and coping mechanisms headteachers use to deal with challenges are similar and reflect the powerful influence of values, trust and emotional resilience.
The insights presented in this study should inform the future research agenda in educational leadership and identify inadequacies in the leadership development of school leaders. Strategies which enable headteachers to experience more planned and meaningful development are presented. These include formal coaching systems, the formation of meaningful networks and guided critical reflection on experiences. A framework for integrated leadership development, which supports the aspects of leadership acquired through real-life challenges, is also proposed. This should enhance those aspects of leadership which can be learnt through challenging situations and better equip headteachers to manage and lead their schools.
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