Dr Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector at the Department of Education and Skills, spoke of the importance of collaborative leadership in schools and the role all leaders and significantly middle leaders can play in maintaining a focus on teaching and learning.
Speaking on Thursday (21/06/19) at the conclusion of the MIC Thurles three-day summer school on Middle Leadership, Dr Hislop invited participants “to find ways to support collaborative leadership that attends to enhancing skills associated with observing, having engaged conversations, giving and receiving feedback, reflecting, learning, and nurturing improvement”.
According to Dr Finn Ó Murchú, Head of School of Education (Post-Primary) at MIC Thurles, it is timely to address middle leadership as a function of learning to teach and continuing to learn to teach. MIC Thurles is introducing a new Graduate Certificate in Middle Leadership and Mentoring in Primary and Post-Primary Settings, starting in September.
“As a provider of teacher preparation programmes, we at MIC Thurles understand the importance of forging postgraduate links with practising teachers, especially in the area of middle leadership. To that end, the new programme is set in the context of awakening and acknowledging the role of middle leaders in our schools. A recognition that pays particular attention to mentoring, instructional leadership, understanding how teachers learn in context-sensitive settings and how change wisdom is central to the success of all our efforts,” added Dr Ó Murchú.
Also speaking at the event was Prof. Tom O’Donoghue from University of Western Australia who said: “The understanding and practice of leadership are often contested. Also, they can vary signiﬁcantly from context to context. As a result, academics, policy makers and educational leaders, including school leaders, need to spend a signiﬁcant amount of time deliberating on the crucial importance of considering matters of context alongside leadership theories when engaging with school improvement for any particular setting.”
Prof. Michael Fullan OISE/University of Toronto who also contributed to the summer school congratulated Dr Ó Murchú and his team for the initiative shown in addressing middle leadership in both the summer school and the new postgraduate programme “where middle leadership plays a key role in nuancing the interplay between learning, teaching, school and system improvement”.
The Graduate Certificate in Middle Leadership and Mentoring in Primary and Post-Primary Settings is a one-year part-time programme providing an academic qualification for teachers in professional studies and will be offered by and located at MIC’s Thurles campus. Designed to suit teachers’ professional lives, the programme uses onsite and online lectures and tutorials. It will act as both a challenge and a support to those interested in middle leadership in our schools.
A strong practical dimension will keep alive a link between teacher practice, theory and policy, prioritising reflective practice and teacher research as a vehicle for teacher professional development in the area of middle leadership. It will draw from international and national practitioners, many who presented at our recent summer school, to offer a unique learning opportunity and will be coordinated and taught by Head of School, Dr Finn Ó Murchú, and colleagues at MIC, St Patrick’s Campus, Thurles.
It will run for six Saturdays per semester commencing 14 September and concluding 7 December 2019. A range of flexible modes of assessment will be undertaken including submission of written assignments and in-class presentations as well as online provision.
Further information on the programme is available here.
Main photo above (L-R): Dr Finn Ó Murchú, Head of School of Education (Post-Primary), MIC Thurles, Prof Tom O’Donoghue, University of Western Australia; Professor Eugene Wall, President of Mary Immaculate College and Dr Harold Hislop, Chief Inspector at the Department of Education and Skills pictured attending the MIC Thurles summer school exploring the potential of middle leadership in post-primary schools.