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SYSTEMATIC PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPALS IN CROATIA PROMOTING QUALITY AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR ROLE. Methods and types of principals ’ professional development , by Blaženka Jurić-Mrša Krk, June 11, 2007. STARTING POINT.

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Methods and types of principals’professional development, by Blaženka Jurić-Mrša

Krk, June 11, 2007

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  • In the 21st century school and school’s system have become very complex.

  • In terms of academic level, type of previous experience, motivation and requirements the profession of principal is very heterogeneous; therefore professional development should have compensational and complementary character.

  • Are the programs, methods and types of principals’ professional development providing satisfactory anwers to the problems we are facing?

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“Each success in life requires a certain know-how; whether the education for a doctor, basic knowledge of Latin for gardeners or knowledge of basic rules of successful communication is at stake. Unfortunately, there are many people who wish to be or to have all that is possible, but are always steering clear of “knowledge”.

CoraBesser-Siegmund : The power of positive thinking, Mozaik knjiga, Zagreb 2002

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Expectations from principals in the 21st century

  • According to the National Standard for Principals (2004, UK ) the role of principal includes the following tasks:

  • 1.Forming of the future

  • 2. Managing the process of learning and teaching

  • 3.Personal development and work on the development of others

  • 4.Leading the organisation

  • 5.Ensuring responsibility

  • 6.Strengthening of community.

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  • Altogeter147 competencies needed for the role of principal arised from these six “innocent” formulations quoted in the above mentioned document. All these competences must be mastered for a successful management in the 21st Century.

  • How to be a superman?

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  • Competencies are defined as follows: “ inventory of knowledge, skills, capabilities, characteristics, standpoints, values,.. which every principal should possess in order to successfully realize the objectives, tasks and programs of the school.”

    Staničić, S., Training of Principals of Primary and Secondary Schools, Program Proposal Zagreb, December, 2005

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  • How to develop necessary competences ?

  • By systemic professional development conceived according to individual needs of a principal and by applying appropriate methods and forms.

  • Ensuring conditions for life-long education

  • Creating accessibility to sources of knowledge, new technologies and services (agencies, centres of excellence)

  • Promoting development of personality

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Methods and forms of professional development

Tradicional methods:

  • Lecture

  • Consulting

  • Seminars

  • Round tables

  • Discussions

Modern methods:

  • Simulation

  • Case study

  • Plays

  • Projects

  • Exercises (practicum), internship, field work

  • On-line learning

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Organisational forms of professional development

  • Plenary work (transfer of general information): this form is adequate for larger number of participants (but no more than 100)

  • Individual work, work in pair and group work: standard forms of work, in the “so-called” pedagogic workshops and all modern methods of professional development

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Use and value of methods

  • In order to acquire knowledge by means of acceptance, traditional methods are adequate and sufficient.

  • In order to acquire knowledge and developing other types of competences (skills, capabilities, characteristics, standpoints, values ) modern methods, based on experience, are more adequate.

  • Scientific research did not show advantage of one particular method over the other “ ..there are no good or bad methods per se, rather such methods which, in light of the precise learning objective – with taking into account concrete assumptions of participants and the situation of the course – may be considered as adequate or inadequate.” (Terhard E.)

    prema Evald Terhart: Metode poučavanja and learning, str. 136.

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The sources of knowledge may be considered to be the materialized methods, since methods are “empty” unless they refer to proceedings with particular source of new knowledge (text, picture, various other media, and even personal experience).

Information from the media

Broad general education

Professional knowledge from the study

Professional knowledge

Exchange of experience with colleagues

Reviving personal experience

Collecting experience out of school

Personal experiences

Learning on own initiative


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  • For building capacity for team leading, conflict solving, management of stress or development of communicational skills, we will use modern methods (simulation, case study, play) in a pair or group form, whereas only introductory information may be given in plenary part.

  • It is necessary to take into account the patterns of educations of adults.

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Andragogic aspects

In the organisation of learning:

  • Stronger encouragement

  • Ensure time for the anticipation of results

  • Enable individual working tempo

  • Enable direct insight into the achieved results

  • Remove influences which result in uneasiness, tiredness and stress

  • Promote successful behaviour, encourage and stimulate

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Example of good practice

  • Project:

    “Improving knowledge, skills and competences in teaching, leading and management of professional staff in schools in Croatia”

    Project was created in partnership between Agency for Education and the British Council.

    Duration of project:

    April 2006 – March 2008

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Composition of the project’s team

  • 1. Teachers and associates collaborators in primary and secondary schools (counties’ leaders, mentors, consultants, all counties and school’s types, advisers of the Agency for Education) up to 30 participants

  • 2. Principals of primary and secondary schools, all regions and types of school and advises of Agency for Education, up to 25 participants

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Project Framework

  • To provide expertise and support to more intensive professional development of the counties’ leaders and design, monitor and assess the progress and enable progress of all counties’ leaders in the system in all aspects of the project.

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Planned Activities

Two-years education; completed 1st year with 4 modules

  • Topics: mentoring, presentation and dissemination skills, management of changes, standards and competencies;

  • Networking and the exchange of best practice

  • Self-evaluation and evaluation

  • Annual report of realized objectives

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Characteristics and results of the project

  • Professional lecturer and leader of workshops from Great Britain

  • Different methods and forms of work, with an emphasis on the activities of participants and learning based on experience

  • Acquisition of new professional competences, including progress in English language

  • Contacts with new people coming from varius environments

  • Establishment of the group of people with high professional and actional potential, using advantages of the group’s work

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Partnership of the organizers and continuity of activities

Stimulating mutual and joint learning

Evaluation of the achievement and joint meeting of both project’s teams on 25 May, 2007- achieved sinergy and pronounced care

Presentation of dissemination and round table “Challenges in the concept of professional development of the teachers – exchange of experiences

Some 50 trainers educated for new disseminations

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Conclusion – what am I dedicated to?

  • For a learning community, or, as Margaret J.Wheatley says: “How are we going to travel this time? The answer is, order to verify ideas, share what we have learned, help each other to see it in a new way, see that our story is heard...We all have curiosity, wisdom and courage.”

  • For methods and forms of professional development which will enable development of personality since we do not remember what we heard from someone but how we felt at that moment.

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The role of principal is often a lonely role

In spite of the need for transparency of performance the principal can not share just about everything with his/her colleagues in the school. What we need is a support from the system and mutual assistance so that we do not grow like trees in the wood, one close to the other, but making alone our way up to the sun.

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TOGETHER TOWARDS THE SUN – society of knowledge

But that all participants of this process, in partnership and synergy create conditions which will enable us to fly together towards the sun. If we all unite, SKY IS THE LIMIT!

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1. Besser-Siegmund, C., Power of positive thinking. Mozaik knjiga, Zagreb,


2. Staničić, S., Management in education. vl. Naklada, Rijeka, 2006.

3. Group of authors: Innovations in primary education, Školske novine, Zagreb, 2002.

4. Meyer, H., Didactic of a classroom’s door-handle. Educa, Zagreb, 2002.

5. Yudelowitz, J., Koch, R., Field, R., Smart things to know about leadership. Capstone Publishing Limited,Oxford, 2002.

6. Terhard, E., Methods of teaching and learning. Educa, Zagreb, 2001.

7. Materials from Module 4.

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