The Influence of Trust in Principals’ Mentoring Experiences across Different Career Phases

Apr. 20, 2010

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 16, No. 2, (April 2010), 245–258.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study is to examine the primary school principals’ perceptions of ‘trust’ in their mentoring experiences at different career phases.

Research questions

The study tries to investigate answers to the sub-questions below:
1) What are principals’ views on the personal attributes expected from their mentors on the basis of trust and to what extent did they feel the need for trust at different career phases in their careers as principals?
2) How do principals emphasize ‘trust’ in relation to the nature of their prior mentoring experiences?

Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used in the study.
The Primary School Principals’ Mentoring Questionnaire previously developed by the researchers was applied to 1462 primary school principals in Istanbul.
As a follow-up study, focus groups were carried out with 50 school administrators at various career phases in order to gather more in-depth data about the impact of ‘trust’ in the mentoring process.

Results and Discussion

Primary school principals’ perceptions revealed that trust played a crucial role in maintaining the collegiality in their mentoring experiences. This sense of trustworthiness among the principals had great influence on the other phases of mentoring field. Results of this study indicated that mentoring functions as a theoretical and practical bridge with trust as their main pillar.
The results of this study also indicated that all the mentoring interactions formed among the principals were informal.

The responsibilities of the expert and the novice principals create a profound sense of solidarity among the people involved in this process. Thus, there would be a definite need for both types of principals: mentor and mentee. Nearly all the principals reported that this model taught them more and gave them sufficient practical information. It was found in accounts of principals that mentors played important roles in principals’ careers.

These findings highlight issues to policy-makers so that they can take them into consideration in developing programs or creating learning setting for aspiring principals. In developing programs or onsite learning opportunities, the human factor should always be considered and principals’ own potential to observe and learn through other professionals should never be underestimated.

Updated: Oct. 17, 2010