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«CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN MARCOS Restructuring Leadership for 21st Century Schools: How Transformational Leadership and Trust Cultivate ...»

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Teacher leaders in this study reported the significance of principals having an “open-door policy” where they could share ideas or seek advice in a non-threatening environment. In addition, teacher leaders reported the importance of principals providing time for teachers to collaborate within the school day. Creating opportunities for teachers to grow in their practice cannot be overlooked if today’s schools are to produce tomorrow’s future.

Collaborative opportunities allow teacher leaders to influence other teachers ultimately affecting their classroom practice (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2009).

Principals and teacher leaders placed high importance on open communication.

Establishing purposeful communication is critical in aligning the message of any organization and schools are no different. Research reveals that teachers want principals who identify and articulate the school’s vision with the staff and placed a high priority on knowing the school’s direction and plan (Lucas, 2002). One of the most important findings in this study focused on reflective feedback sought by principals from their staff.

In wanting to challenge themselves as leaders, principals sought feedback from teacher leaders demonstrating the desire to improve their own practice.

Cultivating teacher leadership through the lens of transformational leadership and trust. Transformational leaders know the importance of developing relationships that sustain school culture and cultivate teacher leadership. As stated in the literature review, leadership is the relationship between a leader and follower based on a unity of purpose and trust. Principals who practice transformational leadership consider the importance of quality relationships and maintain personal interactions with fellow teachers. Furthermore, when those quality relations are built on a foundation of trust, teachers find empowerment to take on leadership responsibilities.

Transformational leadership enhances the followers, challenging them to think in ways in which they are not accustomed to thinking, inspiring them to accomplish beyond what they are felt was possible, and motivating them to do so by keeping in mind the values and high moral standards that guide their performance (Bass et al., 2003, p. 215).

The four components of transformational leadership, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration lead to effective results in organizational performance. When principals inspire, build team spirit, are respected for setting the example, seek new ideas from followers, and seek to promote individuals’ growth they transform teachers into true teacher leaders (Bass, et al., 2003). However, it is clear principals cannot lead schools alone. Therefore, principals must solicit the leadership of others.

When examining the element of trust, this study confirmed that quality relationships were important in building trusting relationships on school campuses and predictive factors such as gender and years of experience were not determining factors in measuring trust between principals and teachers. Most importantly, quantitative results revealed trust as a positive influence on middle school campuses supporting the notion that principals typically act in the best interest of teachers and that the presence of trust among principals and teachers increases teacher loyalty, efficacy and commitment to the school community. When trust is a viable, living part of a school, teachers and administrators become the agents of change education so desperately need.

The development of teacher leadership is far more comprehensive under the conditions of transformational leadership and trust. As principals focus on implementing the characteristics of transformational leadership into their repertoire it is equally important to support and maintain quality relationships with their teachers. As this study first hypothesized, the combination of transformational leadership practices and the presence of trust is the most influential way to cultivate teacher leaders. Nevertheless, the challenge lies in sustaining an environment where teacher acceptance of leadership roles becomes the norm, not the exception. Teacher leadership is essential for schools to navigate through the multifaceted challenges of education in the 21st century.

Implications for Educational Practice Leadership is about vision and educational leaders must be cognizant in including all stakeholders in its implementation. Today's principals are faced with enormous decisions that determine the effectiveness of a school. Being a great leader does not mean coming up with the answers then motivating others to follow (Collins, 2001). Great leaders lead by example, communicate with their followers, and practice inclusion where teachers, parents, and community members are part of the decision-making process.

When principals put into practice the 4Is of transformational leadership greatness can pursue. Principals who promote transformational leadership recognize the unique abilities in others and foster that efficacy through established systems of support. The results of this study also helped establish the important job principals have at creating environments of trust, which support teacher leadership. As Ghamrawi (2011) stated, principals establish trust through shared leadership and supportive environments that inspire teachers to become leaders. But before they can rise up and lead teachers need to be encouraged in the development of their own practice. This is done when a school builds in belief systems that signify to teachers they will be “highly efficacious when carrying out task” (Ghamrawi, 2011, p. 337). Simply stated, transformational leadership and trust are the means for creating teacher efficacy.

Creating equitable learning environments in the direction of social justice is a relevant consideration in any district. Although conclusions from this study were not based directly on school demographics or student ethnicity, districts should still be mindful of opportunities for educational growth and how those opportunities are distributed throughout the learning community. As Nancie Atwell once said, “One teacher can do great things, a community of teachers can move a mountain” (1987, p.

20). I dare to think what I district could produce if they collectively networked for the advancement of the students it serves.

Recommendations for Future Research This study provided an in-depth look into the effects of transformational leadership and trust on principals and teacher leaders. This study began with a comparison of transactional and transformational leadership. Although the styles can easily be blended to meet the needs of a specific learning community, several areas of future research have emerged. While transactional and transformational leadership can produce different results in different school settings, this study does not offer a glimpse into the motivational states or personality differences that explain why a leader might choose one style over another. In addition, a focus on how a principal deals with the issue of staff resistance could further provide analysis to the benefits of practicing one leadership style over the other.

Another area of research that deserves further examination is a deeper understanding of the roles principals, leadership teams, and transformational leadership play in the development of a positive school culture and the importance of including all stakeholders in the forward movement of the school. An investigation of the balance of power between principals and teachers would further warrant the need for transformational leadership in today’s schools.

Final Remarks The ultimate goal of any school is the education of its students. While an increased emphasis on student test scores exists, it is important for principals and teachers to remember that shared leadership positively impacts the learning environment. This study set out to examine transformational leadership and quality relationships and how the intersection of the two would impact the cultivation of teacher leadership. In many schools across the nation principals effectively execute shared leadership, thereby encouraging teachers to become involved in the decision-making process. In addition, discussions around culture building and trust are more prevalent than ever as teachers find themselves with more responsibilities and fewer instructional days due to statewide cuts to education. This research supports the concept that while shared leadership and quality relationships are needed to support student learning it is the presence of both which provides the biggest impact.

Study findings and results highlight the important role the principal plays in creating conditions that support the implementation of transformational leadership and the refinement of quality relationships. This study has established the need for these two entities to be present in tandem, thus creating the best environment for successfully supporting and sustaining teacher leadership. While this study specifically examined the leadership practices of middle school principals, the researcher feels that the lessons gleamed from this research can easily be transferred to all levels of education. Whenever people come together for a common purpose there will always be a need for leaders and followers to share in the decision-making process in an environment of trust. As principals empower teachers to lead, they work side-by-side with teacher leaders to establish best practices while creating the agents of change so desperately needed for the

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Name of Instrument: Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Rater Form (Form 5X-Short) Authors: Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass

Sample Item:

Forty-five descriptive statements are listed on the following pages. Judge how frequently each statement fits the person you are describing.

The person I am rating…

1. Seeks differing perspectives when solving problems.

2. Specifies the importance of having a strong sense of purpose.

3. Talks enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished.

4. Helps me to develop my strengths.

5. Acts in ways that builds my respect.

For use by Cheree McKean only. Received from Mind Garden, Inc. on January 9, 2012.

Copyright © 1995 Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Mind Garden, Inc., www.mindgarden.com

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Name of Instrument: Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire Leader Form (Form 5XShort) Authors: Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass

Sample Item:

Forty-five descriptive statements are listed on the following pages. Judge how frequently each statement fits you. The word "others" may mean your peers, clients, direct reports, supervisors, and/or all of these individuals.

1. I seek differing perspectives when solving problems.

2. I specify the importance of having a strong sense of purpose.

3. I talk enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished.

4. I help others to develop their strengths.

5. I act in ways that build others' respect for me.

For use by Cheree McKean only. Received from Mind Garden, Inc. on January 9, 2012.

Copyright © 1995 Bruce Avolio and Bernard Bass. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Mind Garden, Inc., www.mindgarden.com

–  –  –

1. What is your definition of a teacher leader?

2. You have been identified by your principal as being a teacher leader on your campus.

Tell me about your ability to serve in a leadership capacity at your school.

3. In what ways does your principal support teacher leadership on your campus?

4. What steps has your principal taken to ensure that teachers have an active leadership role in carrying out the school vision?

5. What would you like to see your principal do to better support your leadership or the development of your leadership skills?

6. What challenges do you believe your principal faces in trying to support teacher leadership and build leadership capacity?

7. What are some of your principal's best leadership characteristics?

8. In your opinion, how important are teacher leaders to the vision of the school?

9. Is there anything you would like to add?

10. If further questions arise would it be alright to contact you again?

–  –  –

Instrument: Omnibus T-Scale Authors: Wayne K. Hoy and Megan Tschannen-Moran Directions: Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements about your school from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Your answers are confidential.

1. Teachers in this school trust the principal.

2. Teachers in this school trust each other.

3. Teachers in this school trust their students.

4. The teachers in this school are suspicious of most of the principal’s actions.

5. Teachers in this school typically look out for each other.

6. Teachers in this school trust the parents.

7. The teachers in this school have faith in the integrity of the principal.

8. Teachers in this school are suspicious of each other.

9. The principal in this school typically acts in the best interests of teachers.

10. Students in this school care about each other.

11. The principal of this school does not show concern for the teachers.

12. Even in difficult situations, teachers in this school can depend on each other.

13. Teachers in this school do their jobs well.

14. Parents in this school are reliable in their commitments.

15. Teachers in this school can rely on the principal.

16. Teachers in this school have faith in the integrity of their colleagues.

17. Students in this school can be counted on to do their work.

18. The principal in this school is competent in doing his or her job.

19. The teachers in this school are open with each other.

20. Teachers can count on parental support.

21. When teachers in this school tell you something, you can believe it.

22. Teachers here believe students are competent learners.

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