Gavin Murphy (2022): Principals’ accounts of practices, system support and challenges in leading secondary immersion education in Ireland, Journal of Educational Administration and History, DOI: 10.1080/00220620.2022.2070140
Sparse attention in the educational leadership literature is given to those leading immersion schools, despite the established connection between educational leadership and context, including cultural context. By eliciting principals’ accounts of practices in leading Irish language-medium immersion education in secondary schools, this study begins to fill this gap. Here, six principals’ accounts provide insight into principals’ leadership practices; system-level support; and challenges encountered as they lead immersion schools. Analysis of their accounts points to the necessity to support these and future principals in more specialised, targeted and practice-focused ways for the contexts in which they lead, with implications for multiple education system stakeholders. These implications are relevant to dual-language and bilingual schools in other cultural contexts, particularly minority language settings, and to educational settings more broadly in recognition of diversity and multilingualism.
This small-scale, qualitative case study research explores six principals’ perspectives on leading in secondary immersion schools in Ireland where the school community engage in education activities and curricular provision, such as geography and mathematics, through the medium of Irish Gaelic (a Celtic language, referred to as ‘Irish’ both locally and in the remainder of the paper) rather than English. The paper’s aim is to provide an in-depth understanding of principals’ perceptions of their leadership practices in these schools. While filling a gap for the national context by providing contemporary research about the leadership of Irish-medium education (IME), in so doing, the research focused on leading bilingual (Menken and Solorza 2015) and dual language (DeMatthews and Izquierdo 2019) schools more broadly.