The role of the headteacher in facilitating workplace learning opportunities: an empirical investigation in three primary schools in Cyprus

Michael, Androula (2012). The role of the headteacher in facilitating workplace learning opportunities: an empirical investigation in three primary schools in Cyprus. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000bfd9

Abstract

This thesis explores teachers' access to learning opportunities in their workplace and their headteachers' roles in enabling this in three primary schools in Cyprus. More specifically, the objectives are to investigate the types of formal and informal learning opportunities teachers have in their workplace, and the relationship between how headteachers implement school leadership and how this impacts on teachers' access to learning opportunities.It is based conceptually on professional development, adult and workplace learning and leadership and provides answers as to how headteachers can enact their school leadership in order to motivate and facilitate their teachers to be developed professionally, as reported by teachers, headteachers and inspectors. Mixed method research approaches, within the interpretivism paradigm, were used to address the research questions. Three medium-sized primary schools within a central area of Cyprus were selected to participate in the study, and the opinions of the headteachers, inspectors and teachers were collected using qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, during the school year 2008-09. The findings revealed that all headteachers facilitated teachers' access to centrally organised formal learning opportunities, and the overall majority of teachers believed that there was equality of access to those opportunities. Each headteacher had organised additional learning opportunities. The type of formal, as well as the frequency and type of informal, learning opportunities were influenced by the way headteachers exercised their leadership. The factors influencing teachers access to formal and informal learning opportunities and to more in number informal learning opportunities are the creation of a collaborative culture motivating and facilitating learning, encouraging reflection, dialogues, discussions, teachers' interactions, mentoring, peer observation and coaching, fostering mutual trust and respect and modelling learning. These results are consistent with previous research, but in addition they emphasise headteachers' formal and informal roles in facilitating teachers' professional development. The thesis concludes by discussing the implications for theory and practice which emerged from this study.

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