Principals and professional development: A phenomenolgical study

Year: 1995

Author: Ehrich, Lisa, Simpson, Terry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The function and purpose of professional development of staff has taken on new meanings within national and state agendas for education since the 1980s. In current literature and policy documents, educational leaders, such as principals, have been identified as needing to play a central role in the professional development of teachers.

This paper outlines the conceptualisation of a research study which will investigate principals' involvement in and response to teachers' professional development. The methodology underpinning the study is an alternative to the dominant scientific paradigm used primarily in research in educational administration, because its focus lies with principals' perceptions outside the confines of theoretical constructs and overarching world views. The approach taken will be phenomenological which means that principals' experience of the phenomenon of professional development will be sought utilising a rigorous process of analysis in order to abstract the essential structures presented in their consciousness.

In addition to describing the nature of the research study, this paper explores the meaning of phenomenology and its applications to educational research.