01 SES 07 C, The Value of Knowledge in Learning Organisations
The international surveys (PISA OECD) show how the drop out and the school selection are still present and serious in Europe : the school in not totally inclusive and equal place yet. The model of school like as real learning organization (Konidari &Abernot,2006) indicates, for the student’s progress and for the learning of all, that the role of the leadership is one of most important element that determines, together the teachers collective reflective thinking, the school quality.
Recently, research on the role played by this leadership style also in the educational field indicated that transformational leadership behaviors (i.e., individual consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, idealized influence) may significantly enhance positive outcomes of teachers work activities: for instance, teaching efficacy, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment (Bass & Riggio, 2006). In fact, research in organizational contexts revealed that the presence of transformational leaders may provide employees with a renewed sense of passion and energy towards their work, by delivering inspirational visions and encouraging them to develop new ideas (Macey & Schneider, 2008). As a result, employees could be more likely to be emotionally, cognitively, and physically engaged in achieving their work goals. Moreover, the positive impact of transformational leaders on subordinates’ performance has been explained also through the improvement of collaboration among employees (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). In addition, empirical findings in the educational settings suggested that principals’ transformational leadership is positively associated to the widespread of a collaborative culture within schools which, in turn, may result in an enhanced level of teachers’ self-efficacy and collective efficacy (Demir, 2008): important preconditions for an inclusive and democratic learning community. In the current study, collaboration has been included as a mediator positively related to the intention to transfer the content of trainings into teachers’ everyday practice based on the evidence that interaction with colleagues in school settings represents an important source for improving professional knowledge (Grangeat & Gray, 2007) and professional development of teachers (Steve Oliver, Star Johnson, Graham, & Oppong, 2007). In particular, through collaboration teachers are provided with a strategic support for promoting their critical thinking and the development of new challenges and beliefs (Kwakman, 2003). Apropos, a recent longitudinal research (Ciani, Vannini, 2018) on the democratic beliefs of 206 University of Bologna pre-service teachers carried out a significant correlation between a reflexive and collegial attitude with a positive and useful vision of the instructional desing. In regard to in service teachers, effects of teachers collaborative design on curriculum change have been reported by several scholars. Voogt et al. (2011) found that teachers’ collaborative curriculum design contributes to the professional development of teachers for systematic curriculum design skills. This skills are fundamentals to plane individualized, equal and more rigorous teaching in classroom.
In the current study, a positive view of instructional design (not useless, bureaucratic and linear but flexible, dynamic and shared), was assumed to be positively related to the translation into practice of the contents acquired through the attendance of training initiatives for teachers. In particular, the present research was aimed at delving deeper into the process that links the perception of a transformational leadership style adopted by school principals to the likelihood to implement the contents of training concerning the improvement of individualized teaching practice. In particular, based on the existing related theory and research, the following hypotheses were postulated:
Hypothesis 1. Principals’ transformational leadership (independent variable) was hypothesized to relate positively to the transfer of training (criterion variable) through the subsequent mediation first of a positive view of instructional design (first mediator), and then of collaboration among teachers with the aim of improving school development (second mediator).
Participants. Data were collected through a self-report survey after an informative meeting with school principals and teachers’ representatives from the schools involved. In particular, teachers were invited to participate on a voluntary basis by completing an anonymous paper-and-pencil questionnaire during periodical school staff meeting scheduled by the school principal. The final sample included N = 675 teachers working in 12 Italian schools. Most of them were women (87.6%) and the mean age was 50.25 years (sd = 8.14). The mean job tenure in the current school was 11.12 years (sd = 9.04) and the overall teaching experience was, on average, equal to 22.30 years (sd = 10.09). Measures. Transformational leadership was measured using the Global Transformational Leadership Scale developed by Carless and colleagues (2000). This scale comprises seven items aimed at capturing the behaviours that identified as distinctive of a transformational style: vison; staff development; supportive leadership; empowerment; innovative thinking; lead by example; charisma. All items were scored on a Likert scale that ranges from 1 (totally disagree) to 6 (totally agree). A sample item is: “My school principal fosters trust, involvement, and cooperation among team members”. Collaboration among teachers was measured using the Collaborating subscale of the Teachers’ Professional Development at School survey (TPD@Work) validated by Evers and colleagues (2016). The scale included four items rated on a four-point frequency scale ranging from 1 = (almost) never to 4 = (almost) always. An example item is: “I give an opinion together with colleagues about school organisational matters to the school management”. Positive view of instructional design was assessed with a 4-item scale validated in the Italian educational sector by Luppi and colleagues (2014). This scale is designed to assess the perceived level of suitability and usefulness of a detailed and continuous definition and adjustment of instructional design among teachers. Responses were given using a 4-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). A sample item was: “Planning teaching means to set clear learning goals that all students have to attain”. Transfer of Training was measured with the perceived application to practice subscale taken from the Questionnaire for Professional Training Evaluation (Q4TE, Grohmann & Kauffeld, 2013). Respondents had to indicate their level of agreement with each item using values ranging from 0 to 10 (that is, from 0% to 100%). A sample item was: “In my everyday work, I often use the knowledge I gained in the training”.
The hypothesized model was testes using the PROCESS macro for SPSS (Hayes, 2012). Gender and job tenure were included as possible confounding variables. This strategy of analysis allowed to estimate all path coefficients simultaneously using a bootstrapping procedure that generates an estimate of the indirect effect, including a 95% confidence interval. When zero is not in included in the confidence interval, one can conclude that the indirect effect is significantly different from zero at p < .05. The current study hypothesized that collaboration among teachers and positive view of instructional design subsequently mediated the positive association between principals’ transformational leadership and the transfer of training. The obtained results indicated a positive direct relationship between transformational leadership and the perceived application to practice of the training content (i.e., transfer of training). Concerning the indirect effects under investigation, collaboration among teachers mediated the association between leadership and transfer of training. Similarly, also the positive view of instructional design acted as a mediating variable in the association between principals’ transformational leadership and transfer of training. In addition, the obtained results showed that collaboration among teachers and positive view of instructional design sequentially mediated the relationship between principals’ transformational leadership and the transfer of training, thus supporting Hypothesis 1. In particular, in the current sample transformational leadership was associated with a greater collaboration among teachers and a positive view of instructional design, which in turn was related to a greater implementation of the contents acquired through the training initiatives attended by teachers. In conclusion, the close and productive relationship between transformational leadership, teacher cooperation, transfer of training and the positive vision of instructional design poses interesting reflections and perspectives on the action of each actor (in particular for principal and teacher) to creating a school as inclusive and democratic learning organization.
Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Carless, S. A., Wearing, A. J., & Mann, L. (2000). A short measure of transformational leadership. Journal of Business and Psychology, 14(3), 389–405. Ciani,A.,Vannini I.,(2018). Equità e didattica. Validazione di scale sulle convinzioni democratiche. CADMO.(being printed) Demir, K. (2008). Transformational leadership and collective efficacy: the moderating roles of collaborative culture and teachers’ self-efficacy. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 33, 93–108. Evers, A. T., Kreijns, K., & Van der Heijden, B. I. J. M. (2016). The design and validation of an instrument to measure teachers’ professional development at work. Studies in Continuing Education, r38(2), 162–178. doi:10.1080/0158037X.2015.1055465 Grangeat, M., & Gray, P. (2007). Factors influencing teachers’ professional competence development. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 59(4), 485–501. doi:10.1080/13636820701650943 Grohmann, A., Kauffeld, S. (2013). Evaluating training programs: Development and correlates of the questionnaire for professional training evaluation. International Journal of Training and Development, 17(2), 135–155. Konidari V., &Abernot, Y. (2006).From TQM to learning organisation: Another way for quality management in educational institutions. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 23 Issue: 1, pp.8-26, https://doi.org/10.1108/02656710610637523 Kwakman, K. (2003). Factors affecting teachers’ participation in professional learning activities. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(2), 149–170. doi:10.1016/S0742-051X(02)00101-4. Luppi, E., Tartufoli, L., & Vannini, I. (2014). Valutazione degli esiti di un progetto di ricerca-formazione nella scuola primaria: le convinzioni e gli atteggiamenti degli insegnanti. In: La professionalità dell'insegnante. Valorizzare il passato, progettare il futuro (pp. 91-98). Roma, ARACNE editrice. Macey, W. & Schneider, B. (2008). The meaning of employee engagement. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1(1), 3–30. doi:10.1111/j.1754-9434.2007.0002.x Park, S., Steve Oliver, J., Star Johnson, T., Graham, P., & Oppong, N. K. (2007). Colleagues' roles in the professional development of teachers: Results from a research study of national board certification. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(4), 368–389. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2006.12.013. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H., & Fetter, R. (1990). Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers' trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior. Leadership Quarterly, 1, 107–142. doi:10.1016/1048-9843(90)90009-7 Voogt,J.M., Westbroek,H.,Handelzalts,A.,Walraven,A.,McKenney,S.,Pieters,J.,&DeVries,B.(2011). Teacher learning in collaborative curriculum design. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 1235– 1244. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2011.07.003
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