An embedded case study of how knowledge, competences and skills are acquired through coaching, mentoring and training for leadership at an Adult Education Centre in Ireland
Ndlovu, Rabson Koto Mphululwa
MetadataShow full item record
This study explores a proposed construct of leadership in the adult education sector. The construct is a fusion of sustainable, transformational and distributed leadership that is mediated by the Competing Values Framework (CVF). It develops an argument that leadership is a fluid role and is still growing as a field of study, and that its theoretical perspectives are still evolving. The examination of how students, administration and teaching staff experience leadership and the co-creation of new knowledge by capturing the voices of key stakeholders is central to this research process. The study is carried out at a Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) Adult Education Centre in Ireland. The Irish adult education sector has got challenges in that it has local, national, regional and international dimensions. As a result, the leadership in the VTOS programmes work through dilemmas because it has to meet competing expectations of the local communities and those of the national leadership. While notions of leadership in local communities are premised in the model of Professional Learning Communities, and are collaborative and democratic, the national organisational structures are hierarchical and bureaucratic. The lack of congruence in leadership style between the grassroots and national structures creates complexities and tensions. Harmonising the leadership style and narrowing the gap between the local and national structures requires locating and creating a new body of knowledge. The new body of knowledge will help to fill spaces and bridge gaps that exist between the local communities and national leaders even if we have never experienced those spaces and gaps ourselves. Research participants will co-create the new body of knowledge that will usher a new working relationship between local communities and national structures. This study is on an embedded single case. The single case is the VTOS Adult Education Centre, and the embedded units are the course groups. The researcher is of the opinion that this approach will help facilitate an indepth and holistic examination of the concept of leadership. The study adopted a flexible mixed methods design in a sequential explanatory strategy embedded with an interpretivist paradigm with a critical constructivist stance, and a narrative approach. Findings reflect that some of the teachers that trained about two to three decades ago did not learn leadership skills during their training. However, they state that they have gained leadership skills during the course of their duties and through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses that are either sponsored by their organisation or privately funded. One of the teachers who did a degree course two years prior to this study says leadership skills were included in the course. Teachers transfer leadership skills to informal leaders by encouraging second-year students to coach first-year students. One of the teachers says that she puts students into groups and encourages them to rotate group leadership so that all members are given a chance to lead. The administration and teaching staff encourage students to plan activities such as field trips. The plans are then scrutinised by the staff members who check for costs and compliance with requirements. The organisation employs sustainable, transformational and distributed leadership approaches, but key stakeholders find it difficult to explicitly define and express the approaches that they use. Lack of laid down procedures makes it difficult for students to get insurance cover and to be granted access into historic sites. Students with disabilities find it difficult to access supports. The majority of adult learners assert that they get high quality support from peers and staff members, and the courses meet their objectives.