Administrative Mentoring Research Proposal

Pages: 20 (6069 words)  ·  Style: Turabian  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Administrative Mentoring

Mentoring and the Emergent Educational Leader

The principal is the de facto leader of the public school. With this role comes no small degree of pressure and responsibility. And as the nature of education changes and evolves, so too does this role and that which is implied by it. In many ways though, there remains a great philosophical divide on how principal leadership is to be pursued. To the perspective of this research endeavor, this divide is based on varying conceptions of how leadership and education might best be integrated for the office. Therefore, the research seeks to appeal to the conceptions of those most directly effected. This discussion is intended to promote a discussion concerning administrative development, ascendance to the office of principal and the value of mentoring in this equation. The literature review conducted hereafter will be intended to confirm the value of mentorship and the need for a greater support of mentor/mentee relationships during the professional development path of the academic principal or administrator. Considering such matters as the political pressures of the job, the practical challenges of the role and the relevance of demographic factors such as race, ethnicity and gender, the discussion here supports the argument that mentorship can be crucial to helping increase and diversify the pool of qualified and willing candidates for administration or principalship.

Rationale:

This study is designed to explore the various career development aspects of becoming and being a public school principal that contribute to the effective ability to serve in a leadership capacity. The principal has a unique role in both the lives of teachers and students, serving as both a figure of authority and as an advocate in the face of administrative and political demands. This makes the principalship a deeply complex position, imposed upon by the challenges of organizational stewardship, economic constraint and political imposition. The experience of developing into and serving in the position of the principal is of importance to those aspiring to evolve to the role. For individuals viewing the principalship as a career path, firsthand accounting of the obstacles, opportunities, demands and distinctions there associated might be an invaluable source of verification for that which one might expect. This serves as the rationale for the endorsement of mentoring programs as a path to meeting the career development needs and interests of those working to become principals or those working to improve their grasp on the position. Indeed, as the review will illustrate, research generally supports the claim that education as a whole is a discipline in which mentoring programs can have a substantially positive impact. Accordingly, Klausmeier (1994) offers the claim that "the need for mentoring is clear. New teachers often emerge fresh from their university coursework believing that they are armed with all of the information and skills necessary for dealing with discipline, the curriculum, and student issues. After a short exposure to the realities of teaching, many of these beginning teachers become frustrated, stressed to the point of ill health, and often choose to leave the profession rather than seek help in learning the additional skills they need." (Klausmeier, 27) This underscores the primary impetus for this research process, which considers that shortcomings in the field relating to the need for more viable candidates and the problems concerning retention. The discussion will also touch upon the importance of mentor programs for the continuing development of those who serve as mentors. The literature review conducted hereafter is underscored by this mutually beneficial scenario in which the exchange of knowledge and ingenuity can be instrumental to improving a school or district's general orientation.

Literature Review:

An Overview of the Value of Mentoring in Education:

That schools in the United States in particular have generally experienced a decline in standards, in performance and in personnel commitment is evidenced throughout the field. To many theorists in the last decade, this is indicative of a core problem relating to the orientation and distribution of leadership. This is especially a challenge for the principal, whose leadership responsibilities are inherent but who faces myriad obstacles to the effectiveness of this leadership. Overly centralized ways of designing curriculum, of engaging students and of evaluating performance of teachers and students, some will argue, has had the impact of disassociating school leadership from the environment which it impacts. This is why "in the view of many analysts, the task of transforming a school is too complex for one person to accomplish alone. Consequently, a new model of leadership is developing." (Lashway. 6) This new model is something that developing school principals and serving principals alike must prepare for. The leadership of the school administration or principalship is often looked upon as the sole determining factoring the curricular standardization and approach which pervades a learning institution.

However, this is a view which is increasingly being challenges by the demand for a greater support system to be available to those in a position of educational leadership. As the article by Kinsella & Richards (2004) reveals, the perceived singularity of this leadership is both a product of a fundamental misapprehension of the opportunities for in-school leadership and may be a contributor to a negative educational experience all around. At the heart of this conception of administrative leadership is the notion that too much vested authority in this position will tend to create what he refers to as a 'wall,' which reinforces an improper notion that administration and principalship are isolating from one another and from the goals of the school itself. A perception which may be shared by both parties, it is likely to cause an improperly aloof administrative approach to leadership which is more dominated by bureaucracy than a true and inquiring interest in the improvement of education.

Equally as destructive, such an attitude imperils the security of the teaching faculty, which tends to respond to being undervalued with resentment, occupational antipathy and diminished morale. To the perspective of Kinsella & Richards, this is a valid cause for instituting a stronger mentoring program for principals and administrators which can both prepare for the realities of the position and remove the types of perspectives which can be damaging to the longevity of one's tenure. Indeed, "recruiting, hiring, and -- most important -- retaining the best leaders seem to be constant tasks for school boards. Providing mentoring for new administrators can make the difference. Mentoring helps individuals learn the skills needed for immediate survival in the position and become more thoughtful administrators and instructional leaders." (Kinsella & Richards, 32)

Mentorship should be seen as a valuable way to approach this model for administrative leadership as it can be central in helping those that would occupy the role in preparing for the political vagaries of the field. Today. This review uses an extensive number of studies available on the subject of principals in education. Some of the research directed the fix of our attention toward the external pressures which denote the need for a principal to develop a clear base of support from within the school. The challenges inherent in the No Child Left Behind legislation, according to the findings of most survey studies considered here, have compromised the ability of principals to lead effectively. The implications of externally shaped standards and performance consequences are undermining to the capacity of the principal and his or her faculty to lead in the shaping of curriculum, philosophy and evaluation. Some of the research available on the subject demonstrates the need to develop a clear strategic approach to leadership in the face of such pressures. To this end, according to Daresh (2001) "mentoring is an ongoing process in which individuals in an organization provide support and guidance to others who can become effective contributors to the goals of the organization. Unlike many other views of mentoring, a mentor does not necessarily have to be an older person who is ready, willing, and able to provide all of the answers to those who are newcomers. Usually, mentors have a lot of experience and craft knowledge to share with others. But the notion that good mentoring consists of a sage who directs the of the experienced to the point that no one will make any mistakes is not reasonable." (Daresh, 3)

In this way, we can see that the mentor can be an important source of practical, social and emotional support as one faces intractable challenges such as those being imposed by current legislative realities in education. There may be no internal way for educators, principals and administrators to remove the pressures and even inconsistencies which are provoked by the external controls levied by our political system, the presence of a qualified mentor can at least ease the mentee into these challenges with assurances that there is room for error, growth and improvement. The occupational characteristics of the role denote that while challenges are likely to be unpredictable and sometimes emotionally draining, a good mentor can help the subject develop the fortitude and understanding to face up to these… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Administrative Mentoring.  (2009, October 26).  Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/administrative-mentoring/2792308

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