MAEL 215
Job Shadowing: Educational Leadership in Practice

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Supervised Placement Hours: 60​

Contact Hours: 10

Self Study Hours: 30

Assessment Hours: 25​


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Job Shadowing offers an opportunity for experiential learning. It provides students with a first-hand experience to observe and understand the complexity of the role of a Head of School. Through shadowing, students can gain an insight into the real-life merger of the dual nature of the role of a Head of a School: that of an organisational manager and an educational leader. By observing a Head of School in a real-life scenario, students will have the opportunity to bridge theory and practice. Ahead of the Job Shadowing experience, students will be asked to delve into the ethical considerations of the forthcoming experience. Students will have the possibility to closely study and evaluate the leadership styles, managerial approaches, communication skills, delegation processes, decision-making procedures, stress management mechanisms and conflict resolution strategies being presented. An added bonus is that students will be experiencing a new school system, and this could help widen their perspective, both from an academic and a practical viewpoint. The Job Shadowing experience will include a self-reflective component. Students will be asked to reflect on the leadership-in-action observations and analyse their personal leadership development and motivation for a school leadership position. Students will be expected to conduct reflective discussions with the host Head of School. This could offer an opportunity for a form of cognitive apprenticeship. 

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a) Conduct an overall assessment of the ethical considerations that should guide the Job Shadowing experience, 
b) Utilise the job shadowing experience to direct the learner’s own learning and learner’s leadership development, 
c) Assess the leadership and managerial styles and procedures observed, 
d) Develop an insight into the cognitive processes involved during decision-making as witnessed during the Job Shadowing experience, 
e) Collaborate with the host school community to enable immersion learning about the host school as an organisational system.



a) Define the ethical considerations which should inform and guide the learner’s behaviour during the job shadowing experience, and when reporting about the experience, 
b) Describe the school system and its immediate context, 
c) Understand the demands on the host Head of School in the day-to-day running of a school, 
d) Develop an awareness of the complexity of the role of the Head of School,
e) Identify and assess the different leadership styles which were observed, 
f) Contexutalise theoretical perspectives on educational leadership and management within the Job Shadowing experience.



a) Create a Personal Code of Conduct for the Job Shadowing experience to ensure reporting on the experience is conducted in an ethical manner, 
b) Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the host Head of School, 
c) Critically analyse the leadership styles and managerial procedures which were observed, 
d) Connect theoretical perspectives with the leadership real-life scenarios which were observed, 
e) Apply the principles and practical measures of self-reflection throughout the job shadowing experience to direct and ameliorate the learner’s leadership journey, 
f) Evaluate the leadership self-development progression from both a personal and a professional perspective.  


Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
1) Bennis, W. G., & Nanus, B. (2007). Leaders: Strategies for taking charge. (2nd ed.). Harper Business. 
2) Lussier, R. N. (2021). Management fundamentals: Concepts, applications, skill development. (9th ed). Sage Publications. 
3) Richards, K. (2014) Job shadowing: Techniques to get maximum impact from the Experience. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 
4) Acker-Hocevar, M. A., Ballenger, J., Place, A. W., & Ivory, G. (Eds.). (2012). Snapshots of school leadership in the 21st century: Perils and promises of leading for social justice, school improvement, and democratic community. Information Age Publishing. 
5) Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2019 ). Reframing the path to school leadership: A guide for teachers and principals. (3rd ed.). Corwin. 
6) O’Brien, J. (Ed.) (2016). School leadership. (3rd ed.) Dunedin. 
7) Duignan, P. (2022). Leading educational systems and schools in times of disruption and exponential change: A call for courage, commitment and collaboration. (2nd ed.) Emerald Publishing.
8) Hughes, L. W. (2005). Current issues in school leadership. Routledge  


Supplementary Reading List
1) Earley, P. (2012). Observation methods: Learning about leadership practice through shadowing. Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies, 6(2), 9-251.
2) Service, B., Dalgic, G.E. and Thornton, K. (2016). Implications of a shadowing/mentoring programme for aspiring principals. International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, 5 (3), 253-271. 
3) Tulowitzki P. (2019). Shadowing school principals: What do we learn? Educational Management Administration & Leadership. 47(1), 91-109. doi:10.1177/1741143217725325

4) Yahaya, R., & Ebrahim, F. (2016). Leadership styles and organizational commitment: literature
review. The Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 190-216. 


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