Principals’ Conceptions of Competent Beginning Teachers
The variation in high‐school principals’ conceptions of beginning‐teachers’ competence was investigated. Sixteen high‐school principals from Central and South‐East Queensland were interviewed, and phenomenonographic techniques were used to elicit, from the data, categories of description that depicted the principals’ varying conceptions of beginning‐teacher competence. Five distinct conceptions of beginning‐teacher competence emerged from the data analysis. A competent beginning teacher may be conceived as: (i) having a particular type of personality, (ii) being a subject expert, (iii) being a skilled manager, (iv) having a professional approach, or (v) having control of the class. It is argued that principals with different conceptions of competent teaching behaviour focus their attention on different aspects of teaching performance and so may provide beginning teachers with qualitatively different performance ratings.