Pedagogic Obsolescence: A curtain call for the school principalship

Year: 2007

Author: MacNeill, Neil, Cavanagh, Robert

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This summary of a literature review represents the first stage of research on the topic of principals' pedagogic obsolescence, and it examines the dearth of material that is available on this important topic.

In the last 50 years the role of the school principal has changed from being mainly a teaching role to that of a full-time administrator in most large schools. This change in role has been influenced in British and Australian schools by an ideologically driven phenomenon that is now known as the intensification of work which resulted from the introduction of the ideology of New Public Management, which has changed the way that governments provide public services, and consequently the work expectations of principals changed at the same time. The principals' roles in this process become problematic when the principals do not have pedagogic credibility or the time to engage teachers in dialogue about teaching and learning. Fink and Resnick (2001, p. 599) posit that principals become removed from the instructional aspect of teaching when their knowledge and skills were outdated. Loder and Spillane (2005) referred to this growing dissonance between the principals' pedagogic and administrative leadership expectations as role discontinuity, which has been a neglected issue for those who study school leadership.