26 SES 04 B, Effects Of Leadership On The Student And School Level
There is currently a shortage of good educators worldwide; on the one hand because of too few educators entering the profession and, on the other, due to good educators leaving education (Aspfors & Bondas 2013: 243). One of the reasons educators leave the profession is poor management and leadership. Further reasons can be found that education is one of the occupations in which employees experience the most stress and burnout (Kroth & Keeler 2012: 224; Aspfors & Bondas 2013: 244). The principal has a care function to fulfill and must ensure that staff experience a greater degree of job satisfaction and a lesser degree of stress and concomitant burnout. The literature points out that educators who receive a greater degree of care and support from the principal also enjoy a greater degree of job satisfaction. Support and care by the principal can also help the educator experience a motivating work environment (Davis & Wilson 2000: 349, 352). One of the benefits of caring school leadership is that educators who experience care also tends to be more caring towards their learners. There is a relationship between the care learners experience and their academic achievement (Ellerbrock & Kiefer 2010: 394). Lyman (2000:11-13) claims that caring leadership builds a learning community that includes everyone at school. The presence or absence of care affects and determines the degree or quality of teaching and learning in the school.
When educators experience an absence of care, the following negative effects can be observed in the school (Van der Vyver, Van der Westhuizen & Meyer 2013: 387):
• Decline in performance by educators
• Negative organizational relationships that contribute to a negative school climate
• Low levels of organizational (school) effectiveness
• Low levels of educator engagement
• Poor academic performance of learners
• An attitude of withholding care from others
If the care of the principal's leadership is neglected, this can lead to increased levels of teacher stress and can negatively affect the quality of teachers' working life (Davis & Wilson 2000: 349, 352; Kroth & Keeler 2009: 15). These aspects negatively affect the performance of the teacher in the teaching and learning situation.
The research was directed by the following question: How do school principals evaluate themselves as caring leaders and how does this compare to the experience of educators?
In order to gauge the experience of care in leadership and management, it is essential to look at the factors or determinants of care in school leadership. Using different caring theories, models and instruments across the fields of leadership, education and nursing, determinants were identified. Such determinants can be divided into three main groups, namely psychological, workplace and management determinants (Van der Vyver et al. 2014b: 2-3). The psychological determinants of care leadership focus on the emotional experience of care by educators and include aspects such as emotional intelligence, showing sympathy, empathy and interest in the educator. On the other hand, the workplace determinants are more concerned with the physical work environment in which the educator finds him / her, which includes safety, security and resources. The management determinants of care relate to management aspects such as communication, listening, empowerment, decision making and staff development (Van der Vyver, Van der Westhuizen & Meyer 2014a: 63-64).
The purpose of the empirical part of the research was to determine, with the aid of a standardized instrument, how principals evaluate their own levels of caring leadership and to compare it to the levels of care experienced by educators. The research is embedded in the post-positivist paradigm, as the view was taken that care in leadership can be measured, but that other considerations besides quantification can play a role in the nature of the findings. A quantitative research design in the form of survey research was followed (Onwuegbuzie, Johnson & Collins 2009; Wiersma & Jurs 2009). The population included all principals and educators of primary schools in the North-West Province of South Africa. Systematic stratified cluster sampling was done, identifying 83 schools. All the principals (n = 83) as well as educators of these schools were involved as participants in the research. Questionnaires were received back from 72 schools, which meant a return rate of 87%. 1 041 educators and 65 principals participated in the survey, bringing the total number of questionnaires to 1 106. The instrument used to collect data was the CSLQ (Caring School Leadership Questionnaire) (Van der Vyver et al. 2014b). This instrument is a standardized questionnaire with 59 items in the form of a 4-point Likert scale developed specifically to measure the level of care provided by principals and measure the degree of care experienced by educators. The instrument consists of two sections, of which section A collects biographical information and section B examines all three main groups of determinants of care in leadership. Since a published standardized tool was used, it was assumed that the instrument's reliability and validity was beyond suspicion (Van der Vyver et al. 2014b: 4-6). The collected data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics in the form of t-tests and ANNOVAs. T-tests were used to determine statistical and practical significant differences between the means of two groups. Certain biographical variables divided the population into two groups, for example, the gender variable divides the population into male and female respondents. Statistical and practical significance was calculated in the case of the educators as well as the principals’ responses. In order to determine whether the differences in the means between the different biographical variables and the respondents' experience / giving of care were practically significant, effect sizes were calculated (Fraenkel & Wallen 2008: 244).
The results indicated large practical significant differences, between the mean scores of educators and principals for each of the main determinants of care, as well as for the care function of the principal as a whole (d values are greater than 0.8). The very large, practically significant differences between the mean scores of principals and educators serve as evidence that principals have evaluated themselves far more caring than what educators experienced. The results further showed that female principals, more experienced principals and principals with postgraduate qualifications rated themselves higher in the execution of their caring role towards educators than male principals, principals with less experience and principals having only a diploma. The results also showed that principals from previously disadvantaged groups rated themselves less caring than principals from previously advantaged groups. Principals in general saw themselves less caring towards educators from previously disadvantaged groups. School leaders need more training in emotional intelligence and other aspects of psychological determinants of care. The department of Basic Education should take note of the negative impact of inadequate infrastructure and resources on the experience of care by educators from previously disadvantaged communities. The Department of Basic Education should honor its caring role toward schools in terms of providing adequate resources. Principals should be exposed to the development of emotional intelligence to address psychological aspects of care in a more understanding manner. This development should receive attention during formal professional training opportunities as well as in the personal development plan of school leaders.
Aspfors, J. & Bondas, T. 2013. Caring about caring: newly qualified teachers’ experiences of their relationships within the school community. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 19(3):243-259. Davis, J. & Wilson, S.M. 2000. Principals’ efforts to empower teachers: effects on teacher motivation and job satisfaction and stress. The clearing house, 73(6):349-353. Ellerbrock, C.R. & Kiefer, S.M. 2010. Creating a ninth-grade community of care. Journal of educational research, 103(6):393–406. Fraenkel, J.R. & Wallen, N.E. 2008. How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill. Kroth, M. & Keeler, C. 2009. Caring as a managerial strategy. Human resource development review, 8(4):506-531. Kroth, M & Keeler, C. 2012. Managerial Caring Behaviors: Development and Initial Validation of the Model. Journal of Education for Business, 87(4):223-229. Lyman, L.L. 2000. How do they know you care?: The principal’s challenge. New York: Teacher’s College Press. Onwuegbuzie, A.J., Johnson, R.B. & Collins, K.M.T. 2009. Toward a philosophy of mixed data analysis. Paper presented at AERA, San Diego, CA, 13-17 April. Van der Vyver, C.P., Van der Westhuizen, P.C. & Meyer, L.W. 2013. Organisational development in schools through caring leadership: theory and praxis. In van der Westhuizen, P.C. (Ed). Schools as organisations. Pretoria: Van Schaik, pp. 376-410. Van der Vyver, C.P., Van der Westhuizen, P.C. & Meyer, L.W. 2014a. The Caring School Leadership Questionnaire (CSLQ). South African Journal of Education, 34(3):1-7. Van der Vyver, C.P., Van der Westhuizen, P.C. & Meyer, L.W. 2014b. Caring school leadership: A South African study. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 42(1) 61–74. Wiersma, W. & Jurs, S.G. 2009. Research methods in education: an introduction. Boston: Pearson.
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