A study of the role learning and socialization during the transition from teacher to elementary school administrator
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This thesis examined the role transition from an elementary teacher to an elementary principal. In particular, the training and socialization process of becoming an elementary principal was explored through the study of the hierarchical and political structure of a southern Ontario school board, and how this influenced the learning experiences of new elementary principals. A qualitative methodology, with a grounded theory design, was employed to investigate this process through interviews with 10 participants to examine their experiences and role learning occurs during their development. Specifically, participants perspective shifts, developmental experiences, understanding of group culture, and expansion of a board profile were highlighted in the data. One of the compelling results of the study was the degree to which principals of aspiring administrators influence the socialization of their subordinates. The beliefs and practices of the school principal determine the socialization orientation that teachers and vice-principals will experience during role learning. The results of this study also imply that role orientation needs to be understood as a continuum between custodial and innovative role assumption. Varying degrees of custodianship or innovation depended on the context of the administrative placement and the personal attributes of administrative candidates. Principals who are willing to share responsibilities, who are good communicators, and who wish to develop a collaborative relationship with their viceprincipals are the individuals the participants in this study described as making the best mentors.