Leadership Challenges Confronting Middle Managers at a Secondary School in Trinidad

Leadership Challenges Confronting Middle Managers at a Secondary School in Trinidad

Charmaine Bissessar (University of Roehampton Online, UK)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1700-9.ch001


Middle management in school is one of the most critical. The manager acts as a conduit between teachers and the principal. With this in mind, this chapter presents some of the problems encountered by Heads of Department and Deans at a secondary school in North-East Trinidad. A purposive sample of three heads of departments and two deans responded to open-ended interview questions on the issues they face. A conventional content analysis determined that the themes were professional development; varying management/leadership styles; lack of senior management support; and poor communication. Demographic information indicated that the participants were 45-58 years old with 20 to 30 years' service. Recommendations are made for a more extensive study to be conducted.
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Professional Development

Both Mizell (2010) and Saeed and Asghar (2012) defined professional development as the active process of acquiring and implementing new knowledge to improve the individual’s performance on the job. Professional development is critical for middle managers to effectively fulfil their roles and objectives and competently cope with the various role ambiguities and conflicts they encounter daily. It is also pivotal in improving job performance. These, according to Mulford (2007), entail influencing people, administration, whole school leadership, teaching, and student success. Therefore, as the definitions imply, training and leadership development should not be ad hoc (Deece, 2003) but systematic in order to reap the most rewards (Glover et al., 1998; Joseph, 2007; Bissessar, 2013).

Training, according to Craft (2000), should address the needs of the school, teams and individuals. However, Tomlinson (1997) viewed training along a continuum from preparation for the post to induction to development in the post. Preparation, according to Tomlinson, encompasses professional development which allows for succession planning. During the induction stage support is given to the teacher through professional development and mentoring. However, the most critical function is that of development in the position, where teacher professional development focuses on buttressing and expanding the skills, knowledge and strategies used by the teacher. Moreover, Dean (2002) promulgated specific characteristics that should be found in the school environment. These include: adequate resources; unity of purpose, clear guidelines and goals and a collective sense of responsibility; a culture of collegiality and collaboration which include problem-solving; and teachers being rewarded for growth, risk-taking and change.

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