Improving the Selection and Performance of School Principals: Using Theatre as a Professional Development Tool

Author: Meyer, Matthew John
This study demonstrates how theatre as representation is a successful teaching and learning tool for field educators in the area of educational administration. This book contains five black and white photographs.


“The method that Meyer uses is interesting in a couple of ways. First, the process to transform a research case into a script is detailed, thus enabling others who may wish to take this approach to the development of scripts for other situations. The process is rigorous and grounded in data, with the possibility for the manipulation of the script to represent key factors or issues that the author wishes to highlight. Second, by having students taking the parts and then reading through script, the situation has the potential to become far more “in the present” for both the readers and the audience than would be the case for a clinical examination of an illustrative case study. Different voices, different expressions in the voices, and even different body movements during the reading may lead to more subtle representation of the issues than what a flat text could provide. Instead of using technology to teach some of the concepts, this may be a more accessible way to approach the teaching of difficult concepts.” – Prof. Robert B. Macmillan, University of Western Ontario

“. . . Meyer’s work attends to the real world inhabited by educational leaders. His book escapes the pseudo-scholarly trap of considering educational leadership merely as a theoretical construct. As a result, the book’s combined focus on principal selection and on the use of a creative research methodology will be accepted as credible and provocative by readers with experience in practicing administrators.” – Prof. Charles F. Webber, University of Calgary

“. . . reveals the political nuances of leadership succession in a thought-provoking, fresh, and compelling way. . . . In sum, there are three important reasons to read this book. First, the quality of writing and message are intriguing and innately enjoyable. Second, read to glean information of the political nuances of leadership succession which is critically important as we approach a succession crisis in finding qualified and capable aspirants to the principalship. Third, it is an excellent model for research into educational administration, or other areas of study. In other words, [this work] is valuable for the story itself, its contribution to understanding leadership succession in the political realm, and as an innovative methodology for exploring other genres.” – Prof. Kirk Anderson, University of New Brunswick

Table of Contents

1. The Study’s Path
2. Foundational Literature: Theatre as Representation
3. Structural Pillars of the Dissertation
4. Data Collection and Analysis
5. The Findings
6. Notions of Scriptwriting
7. Transcendence
8. Transitional Wars
9. The Public Performance and Viewer Reactions
10. Conclusions and Future Reactions
Appendix I – Approved Consent Form
Appendix IIA – Invitation to Staged Reading
Appendix IIB – Viewing Consent Form
Appendix IIC – Biographical Information and Initial Reaction Survey
Appendix IID – Likert-like Survey Questions
Appendix IIE – Transitional Wars Cast and Program
Appendix III – The Novella