Entry stategies of new principals: Neophyte perceptions of becoming a secondary school principal in Cameroon
The dissertation inquired into new secondary school principal transition to the principalship in Cameroon and theories that will rationalize the findings. The sample of principals was obtained through snowballing. All principals were given a questionnaire to which they responded in the comfort of their homes. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The quantitative data were analyzed for central tendencies and dispersions in the taking-charge process. The qualitative data were coded in order to bring out themes in the taking-charge process. Both data were corroborated to establish commonalities in the entry strategies of new principals.
Three strategies were discovered: First was strategic learning, which is ecological and has to do with finding out where a school is and where it should be. Learning, therefore, focuses on the discrepancy status of the school. This status in a way defines the specific role of the new principal in a school. Learning underscores the self-development of new principals. Learning challenges new principals to have feedback structures, to engage in professional development, and to rethink career advancement. Andragogical theory, an adult learning theory as opposed to pedagogy, explains the kind of learning that new principals should be engaged in.
Change is a second strategy associated with doing the job of the principal. Change includes the planned activities by which a new principal closes the gap between where the school is and where it should be. The advantages of change as a taking-charge strategy are that change reinstates the principalship in its proper place, puts the responsibility of school improvement on the shoulders of principals, and reinforces the stance that school administration is a craft. Change challenges new principals to define their philosophy of education and to deinstitutionalize the responsibility for school change. Change agent role theory is a theory that makes change understandable.
Vision is the third taking-charge strategy and it orients, integrates, and focuses the activities in the learning and change strategies. It is the strategy through which new principals craft the future of their school. It spells out the difference that the new principal wants to make in the school. As a management strategy vision has the advantage of defining the parameters of a new principal's creativity, checking school stagnation, and facilitating decision making. A basic challenge that is inherent in vision is how to align the vision of the new principals with the vision of the school.
0533: Secondary education