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Title: 'There is a lot to be learnt' : assistant principals' perceptions of their professional learning experiences and learning needs in their role as middle leaders in Irish post-primary schools
Author: O'Connor, Eileen
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores Assistant Principals' perceptions of their professional learning and learning experiences as Middle Leaders in Irish Post-primary schools. The purpose of the study is to gain insights into and an understanding of the key enablers and inhibitors of Assistant Principals' learning, an area hitherto ignored in the Irish education research context. The study aims to contribute to the qualitative knowledge base on Assistant Principals' learning and to inform Irish discourse and policy with regard to the continuing professional development of this group of educators in Irish post-primary schools. The literature called upon is found within the fields of teacher professionalism, adult learning, and continuing professional development. It serves the dual purpose of shaping the data generated in the study and of providing a theoretical lens through which data are interrogated. Using qualitative methodology, the empirical investigation is based on semi-structured interviews with 21 Assistant Principals, incorporating the range of Irish post-primary schools, both religious and state run, both genders and a range of experience in the role. With regard to this area of professional learning, the findings are significant in that they have disrupted a prevailing silence and have made overt issues hitherto neglected in the Irish education context. They pose a range of challenges to our understanding of the complexity of Assistant Principals' learning. They highlight that Assistant Principals' learning is haphazard, time-poor, emotionally charged and neglected both by themselves and the system. The roles of school culture, school leadership and emotions emerge as significant variables which impact on Assistant Principals' learning. The outcomes of the study are challenging for Assistant Principals as professional learners, for their school communities as enablers and supporters of their learning and for those charged locally and nationally with overseeing and developing a learning agenda for middle leadership in Irish post-primary schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available