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ERIC Number: EJ1056830
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0951-354X
Mentor Teachers as Leaders and Followers in School-Based Contexts in the Republic of Ireland
Clarke, Marie; Killeavy, Maureen; Ferris, Ruth
International Journal of Educational Management, v29 n3 p368-379 2015
Purpose: The purpose of this exploratory small-scale study is to examine the intertwined leadership and followership aspects of the roles performed by school-based mentors in the Republic of Ireland. Design/Methodology/Approach: In order to investigate mentor teachers' perceptions of their role with reference to leadership and followership in their school contexts, a questionnaire was distributed to the full cohort of 56 mentor teachers who participated in the National Programme for Teacher Induction. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with four mentor teacher facilitators from different regions across Ireland who were also mentors in their respective schools. Findings: The findings from this exploratory small-scale study suggest that the hierarchical nature of the school context influenced mentor teachers' perceptions of their leadership and followership roles. They regarded themselves as leaders in a general sense and considered that all members of staff had something to contribute to the leadership process in the school. However, the school context moderated their own perceptions about their individual approaches to leadership. Participants in this study were unclear about the term followership and were reluctant to use it. They considered themselves to be performing a supportive role in the hierarchical structure of the school context. Research Limitations/Implications: As this is an exploratory qualitative study with a small sample size in a country where the role of a mentor teacher in schools is a relatively new concept, the findings should be interpreted with caution. Future research would benefit from multi-method approaches to data collections that examine variations in followership perceptions from individuals prior to becoming mentors in order for comparisons to be made. Practical Implications: The practical implications of this study from a management perspective suggest that followership needs to be considered very carefully in school contexts as a way of contributing to the co-construction of leadership which engages all members of staff. It is clear that there is a need to move away from hierarchical interpretations of middle management posts of responsibility. More emphasis should be placed on the ways in which teachers construct their roles within schools as this impacts upon leadership processes and organizational effectiveness. Equally important is an open acknowledgement of the tensions involved in developing such roles and responsibilities. Originality/Value: Followership is not researched widely in schools, particularly with reference to the role of mentor teachers. This is an interesting group as the very nature of their work involves maintaining boundaries and managing multiple relationships. They are generally collaborative in their approach and are well placed to co-construct leadership with their colleagues and their principals with appropriate supports in the school context.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A