School leaders for the future: The use of cases in the leadership development of principals

Year: 2007

Author: Cranston, Neil

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There is little doubt that school leaders face challenges as never before. Indeed, successful principals now are required to demonstrate leadership capabilities spanning educational, personal, relational, intellectual and organisational dimensions. Most education systems in recent years have acknowledged the increasingly complex roles and responsibilities for principals, re-developing their leadership statements and frameworks for principals away from the dominant managerialist orientations of the nineties to those more reflective of the capabilities identified above. Having laid out what principals ought to be capable of doing and how they ought to act, the real challenges then arise as to how these capabilities might be developed in principals and those aspiring to such positions.

Education Queensland, the state school system comprising some 1300 schools, recently developed a new statement about the principalship, Leadership Matters. To support this, the system has embarked on a range of leadership development strategies for its principals and aspirants. One of these strategies is the development of a set of cases, drawing on problem-based learning principals (Bridges & Hallinger, 1995). This paper documents the development of the cases and reports some early feedback from users of the cases as to their relevance and efficacy as leadership development "tools" for principals.