A principal's and teachers' perceptions and understandings of instructional leadership : a case study of one school
Poirier, Daniel Omer
The purpose of this study was to explain and describe the differences in a principal’s and four teachers’ perceptions and understandings of instructional leadership and supervision. In the literature review of Blasé and Blasé, Glanz, McEwan, Andrews and Soders, Quinn, and Hallinger and Heck, to name a few, I examined two focal areas: instructional leadership and supervision. The first area I examined was reasons for the lack of principal instructional leadership. I described the historical context, purpose, function, and personal qualities required for instructional leadership. Then, I discussed the negative and positive impacts that the implementation of instructional leadership may have on teachers. The second area I explored was the concept of supervision and, based on instructional supervision literature, I examined two core concepts that emerged: staff development and reflection. My conceptual framework for instructional leadership was based primarily on the works of Blasé and Blasé and Glanz and was centred on supervision, staff development, and reflection. For the case study I used questionnaires and interviews conducted with the principal from Colourful School, along with two teachers from the primary grades and two teachers from the elementary grades. I collected data from the questionnaires and interviews of the principal and the four teachers I analyzed, and aggregated to examine the respondents’ differences in perceptions on instructional leadership and supervision. Regarding the theme of instructional leadership, the findings revealed a few differences between the principal’s and teachers’ perceptions. Concerning the theme of supervision, differences emerged about the purpose of supervision. There was no consensus on the portion of time a principal should spend on instructional leadership; none of the teachers chose the same portion of time as the principal did. Another difference was with the definition of instructional leadership. Teachers focused on personal characteristics to define an instructional leader, whereas the principal emphasized enhancing instruction. A third difference on instructional leadership centred on the impact of the instructional leader on a school; the principal focused on establishing school culture, whereas the teachers emphasized the support teachers must provide the principal. With respect to the theme of supervision, the difference concerned the purpose of supervision. The teachers perceived supervision as being primarily evaluative, while the principal’s perception was that purpose of supervision was for teacher growth and recognition. The implications of these findings emphasized the need for school educators to engage in clear communication and on-going dialogue about the responsibilities of the principal. Also, clarification is needed on the purpose and process of supervision. Finally, the policies and procedures needed to be put in place to provide the necessary professional development to enhance both principals’ and teachers’ skills and abilities to do their jobs more effectively.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeCottrell, Michael; Stelmach, Bonnie; Burgess, David; Ralph, Edwin; Renihan, Patrick; Noonan, Warren
Copyright DateOctober 2009