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Calidad en la educación

On-line version ISSN 0718-4565


WEINSTEIN, José; CUELLAR, Carolina; HERNANDEZ, Macarena  and  FERNANDEZ, Magdalena. First time principal: A study about the experience and socialization of new public school principals in Chile. Calidad en la educación [online]. 2016, n.44, pp.12-45. ISSN 0718-4565.

Taking the role of a school principal for the first time is a critical period in their job performance, issue that has been sparsely studied in Chile despite of the increasing renovation of school leaders at the time. Based on 12 case studies and a survey administered to 76 principals, this article explores the experience and socialization of beginning principals at public schools, capturing their professional development needs as well. The main results include: a profile of beginning principals; the confirmation of an abrupt start at school organization; focus on short term actions emphasizing school climate and institutional management actions (delaying focus on pedagogical management); experiencing external and internal school difficulties combined with a lack of personal competencies to overcome challenges; the absence of institutional support during this initial period, which is compensated by school internal actors’ support and individuals’ personal networks with other principals; and the need to differentiate between the experiences of beginning principals depending on whether they are insiders or outsiders to the school organization or the municipal sector.

Keywords : beginning principals; Chile; school leadership.

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