26 SES 08 C, Leadership Styles and Their Consequences
The roles performed by school heads in the 21st century have become more challenging. Because of the seeming urgency of many administrative concerns, school heads end up devoting less time for things that are directly affecting learning (Tulowitzki, 2015). Still, school heads need to perform instructional leadership roles. The manner these instructional leadership roles are performed creates the difference between high performing and struggling schools.
Researchers point out that school heads perform instructional leadership tasks by attempting to do the following: establish clear vision, develop people, manage the instructional program, stimulate and support instructional innovation (Smith & Andrews, 1989; Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson & Wahlstrom, 2004; Robinson, Lloyd & Rowe, 2008; Horng & Loeb, 2010; Supovitz, Sirinides, & May, 2010; Sebastian & Allensworth, 2013; Gurr, 2015).
In fact, scholars in the field of educational leadership and management are currently pushing for school heads to be learning-centered (Dufour, 2002). The literature likewise refers to this idea as learning-focused leadership (Copland & Knapp, 2006; Knapp, Copland, Honig, Plecki, & Portin, 2010) or leadership for learning (Murphy, Elliot, Goldring & Porter, 2007; Hallinger, 2011). This clarion call for school leaders to focus on learning has inspired the researchers to carry out this investigation.
This study is anchored on the PIMRS Instructional Leadership Framework (Hallinger, 2011) and Glickman’s (2002) Leadership for Learning theory. It is also based on the theories of organizational commitment, empowerment and trust.
Looking into the extent to which school heads’ focus on learning associates with schooling outcomes and related factors is an endeavor worth undertaking, particularly for practicing educational leaders and managers like the authors of this study. In this age of evidence-based decision-making, the use of empirical data as bases in designing educational interventions is indeed an imperative. This interest on evidence-based practices, particularly on how learning is enhanced by efforts from school heads, is not only common in Europe, but also in other countries including the Philippines.
The main aim of this research is to determine how the school heads' focus on learning is related with schooling outcomes and related variables.
The specific research questions were: (a) To what extent do the school heads focus on learning? (b) Is the level of school heads’ focus on learning associated with pupils’ academic achievement and drop out rates? and (c) Are the teachers’ sense of commitment, empowerment and trust associated with the school heads’ focus on learning?
This is a sequential exploratory mixed-methods research, using qualitative data to develop a questionnaire on Learning-Focused School Leadership and determining descriptive correlations between extent of school heads’ focus on learning with schooling outcomes and related factors. Qualitative data drawn from responses of 28 experienced school principals and 23 acknowledged masterful teachers to an open-ended questionnaire, analyzed via Consensual Qualitative Research together with relevant literature were used to develop a questionnaire on Learning-Focused School Headship. The questionnaire including those developed previously by scholars on Organizational Commitment (Porter, et al, 1974); Psychological Empowerment in the Workplace (Spreitzer, 1995); Trust in Schools (Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 1998) were administered to 96 school heads and 288 grade 6 teachers. All research participants granted informed consent. They were assured that non-participation in the study would not affect their performance ratings and tenure as public school teachers. Specific steps include: determining validity of the questionnaire; computing correlations between the extent of school heads’ focus on learning and pupils’ academic achievement and dropout rates; and determining relationships between the focus on learning and teachers’ commitment, sense of empowerment and trust on the school head.
The research team is in the process of retrieving questionnaires distributed to participants who manifested interest to take part in this study. By mid-February 2018, data will hopefully be available for processing and analysis using SPSS. Among the expected outcomes, which will be available during ECER 2018, are: (1) scores on the extent the school heads are focused on learning; (2) significant validity indicators (principal component analysis and varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization, the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy, Bartlett’s test of sphericity; and Cronbach’s Alpha reliability) for the researchers-made questionnaire on Learning-Focused School Headship; (3) correlations between the extent of school heads’ focus on learning and pupils academic achievement and dropout rates; and (4) correlations between the school heads’ focus on learning and teachers commitment, sense of empowerment and trust on their school heads. Findings will provide the evidence needed in designing relevant professional development activities as well as in providing technical assistance for enhancing the competence of school heads.
Copland, M. A., & Knapp, M. S. (2006). Connecting leadership with learning: A framework for reflection, planning and action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Dufour, R. (2002). The learning-centered principal. Educational Leadership, 59(8), 12-15. Glickman, C.D. (2002). Leadership for Learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Gurr, D. (2015). A model of successful school leadership from the International Successful Principalship Project. Societies, 5(1), 136-150. Hallinger, P. (2011). Leadership for learning: Lessons from 40 years of empirical research. Journal of Educational Administration, 49(2), 125-142. Horng, E., & Loeb, S. (2010). New thinking about instructional leadership. Kappan, 92(3), 66-69. Knapp, M. S., Copland, M. A., Honig, M. I., Plecki, M. L., & Portin, B. S. (2010). Learning-focused leadership and leadership support: Meaning and practice in urban systems. Seattle: University of Washington, Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. Leithwood, K., Seashore, K., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). Review of research: How leadership influences student learning. University of Minnesota, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. Murphy, J., Elliot, S. N., Goldring, E., & Porter, A. C. (2007). Leadership for learning: A research-based model and taxonomy of behaviors. School Leadership and Management, 27(2), 179-201. Porter, L. W., Steers, R. M., Mowday, R. T., & Boulian, P. V. (1974). Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians. Journal of Applied Psychology, 59(5), 603-609. Robinson, V. M. J., Lloyd, C. A., & Rowe, K. J. (2008). The impact of leadership on student outcomes: An analysis of the differential effects of leadership types. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(5), 635-674. Sebastian, J., & Allensworth, E. (2013). How do secondary principals influence teaching and learning?. Principal’s Research Review, 8(4), 1-5. Smith, W & Andrews, R. (1989). Instructional leadership: How principals make a difference. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Spreitzer, G. M. (1995). Psychological Empowerment in the Workplace: Dimensions, Measurement, and Validation. Academy of Management Journal, 38(5), 1442-1465. Supovitz, J., Sirinides, P., & May, H. (2010). How principals and peers influence teaching and learning. Educational Administration Quarterly, 46(1), 31–56. Tschannen‐Moran, M. & Hoy, W. (1998). Trust in schools: a conceptual and empirical analysis. Journal of Educational Administration, 36 (4), 334-352, Tulowitzki, P. (2015) The development of educational leadership and teaching professions in Germany. Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies, Retrieved from http://www.ledonline.it/index.php/ECPS-Journal/article/view/855.
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