«CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN MARCOS Restructuring Leadership for 21st Century Schools: How Transformational Leadership and Trust Cultivate ...»
In order to further examine the effects of leadership on the development of teacher leaders, participating middle school principals were asked to submit the names of teacher leaders on their campus. Based upon identification as teacher leaders, individual interviews were conducted with three teacher leaders at each school site. The purpose of the interviews was for teacher leaders to identify which leadership qualities and practices of middle school principals’ best promoted the development of teacher leadership. Using the lens of teacher leadership that is supported by school leaders, the researcher framed questions to help participants describe their experiences in their own voice (Appendix C).
Phenomenological data analysis. In order to develop an understanding of the relationship between transformational principals and teacher leaders, original data were collected through one-on-one interviews. After data were collected, the goal was to identify unexpected patterns or linguistic features which had become evident during the course of researching the connection between how principals and teacher leaders’ perceive school leadership. Analysis of data began with the researcher deciding that every statement relevant to the topic will have equal value (Moustakas, 1994). According to Creswell (2008) when coding data the first step is to thoroughly read through the collected data then divide the responses into segments of information. After determining similar response segments, the researcher labeled the information with codes. Next, the total number of codes was condensed through the elimination of overlapping and redundancy. Finally, the researcher organized the remaining codes into common themes significant to the study’s research questions. Emerging themes were used to determine if common characteristics or practices were evident in how middle school principals supported the practice of teacher leadership. These common themes were used to write a description of what teacher leaders’ viewed as ways teacher leadership was cultivated by a transformational leader. Through a written depiction the researcher described the structure of the experiences based on reflective analysis and interpretation of the participant's accounting of events.
Triangulation of data. “Triangulation is the process of corroborating evidence from different individuals, types of data, or methods of data collection in descriptions and themes in qualitative research” (Creswell, 2008, p. 266). Triangulation of collected data allowed the researcher to compare data from the initial superintendent’s identification of transformational principals, the principals’ self-identification of their leadership style, and finally how teacher leaders perceived the leadership style as supporting teacher leadership.
Phase Two: Quantitative Analysis Participants. The quantitative focus of this study was to examine the presence of trust among middle school principals and teachers. For that reason, middle school principals and teachers from sites determined by the district superintendent to have a transformational principal were given a survey to measure the levels of trust among principals and teachers. Based on results from the previous phase, three principals were identified as transformational leaders therefore teachers from each of those sites were asked to participate in the survey. With the goal of understanding the importance of trust on school campuses the researcher sent out a letter to participating schools inviting teachers to participate in this study.
Instrument: Omnibus T-Scale. In order to best study this relationship, the researcher used the Omnibus T-Scale, a survey instrument originated by Hoy and Tschannen-Moran (2003) (Appendix D). Supporting the idea that trust and relationships
are reciprocal the test examined four levels of trust:
Although this 26-question survey examined the four facets of trust, the researcher focused solely on the trust relationship between the middle school principals and teachers.
The format for the test was a 6-point Likert scale where responses ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (6). Previously, the original authors of this survey (Hoy and Tschannen-Moran, 2003) tested the validity of the instrument through a pilot where constructs were positively or negatively correlated with collaboration and trust.
Questions were submitted to a factor analysis using a Varimax orthogonal rotation to ensure that specific items in the survey were strongly related to the other items validating a correlation of the measures of the construct. In the end three subsections emerged examining the collaborative relationship of teachers and principal, teachers and colleagues, and teachers and parents. Eventually, the measure of trust between the teacher and student was added to the survey creating the fourth subsection. Based upon the above determinations, the researcher believed the original factor analysis supported claims of validity and reliability, thus providing strong support for the Omnibus T-Scale as a valid instrument.
Data Collection Methods.
Procedures. Computer-based survey programs protect anonymity of teachers’ responses as responses are sent back to the originator without tracking information. Using Survey Monkey, the Omnibus T-Scale was sent through the district’s email to teachers at school sites where middle school principals had been identified as leaders who practiced transformational leadership based upon the first phase of this study. Survey Monkey also allowed for follow-up reminders to be automatically sent via email giving participating teachers more than one opportunity to contribute. Through the use of Survey Monkey and the anonymous collection method it guaranteed, answers provided by the participants were believed to be authentic and not prompted in any way.
Data Analysis. Data were combined from all returned surveys and entered into a singular database file. Utilizing the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 18 data analysis software program, the researcher coded and tabulated each survey question.
Significance of the Study The implications of this study emphasize the importance of progressive leadership in 21st century schools and how the relationship between principals and teachers can become a determining factor of school success. The results of this study may prove that the practice of transformational leadership and presence of trust on middle school campuses may be the missing link in creating schools that support teacher leadership.
Combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies in order to examine this phenomenon allowed the researcher multiple data collection methods as a tool in examining collaborative leadership.
Limitations and Challenges Although the researcher was an active member of the teaching profession and one of the participating middle schools, it is felt that answers provided by participants were authentic due to the way data were professionally collected. The researcher also acknowledged that the sample size included participating middle school principals and teacher leaders from only one district in Southern California. Although this population may appear small, the research believed the study yielded valuable insights beneficial to those who desire to promote transformational leadership, trust and the development of teacher leadership within their own schools across the country.
Positionality. Subjectivity is often viewed as a major obstacle in methodological research (Levering, 2006) and in order to protect the integrity of the study, potential biases were acknowledged and triangulated when possible. Keeping in mind the supports and constraints of emic research, the researcher acknowledged her role as an active member in the selected school district used in this study and recognized her positionality and the appearance of any bias.
Summary This mixed method study investigated ways in which a principal’s leadership style and the presence of quality relationships best cultivates teacher leadership. In the qualitative phase, the researcher used the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) as a baseline for identifying principals who are practitioners of transformational leadership.
Next, participating principals identified teacher leaders to partake in the study and through one-on-one interviews the researcher collected rich responses, which further supported the need for shared leadership to be practiced in order to create opportunities for teachers to rise up and become school leaders. In the quantitative phase, the Omnibus T-Scale was employed as a way to detect the presence of quality relationships. Data was collected via Survey Monkey then coded and tabulated using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 18. Results focused on the levels of trust between principals and teachers. Using a mixed method design, the researcher was able to analyze data in order to increase the understanding of how a principal’s leadership style along with the presence of trust fosters the development of teacher leadership. The findings of
As stated in the previous chapter, this study explores the leadership practices of middle school principals, as perceived by the principal and their teacher leaders. This study seeks to connect the ways in which the practice of transformational leadership and the presence of quality relationships have on the cultivation of teacher leadership.
This chapter presents findings in relation to how transformational leadership and quality relationships on middle school campuses impact the cultivation of teacher leadership. The first phase of this study presents qualitative findings from a leadership questionnaire and one-on-one interviews with teacher leaders. The second phase presents quantitative findings from a survey designed to measure the presence of trust between middle school principals and teachers at school sites where the district superintendent deemed the principal transformational. With a focus on how the practice of transformational leadership impacts the development of teacher leadership, the researcher
framed the data analysis and findings around the following central research questions:
1. In what ways does the principals' leadership style affect the development of teacher leadership in the middle school setting?
2. In what ways might the principals' leadership style affect the quality of relationships among middle school principals and teachers in
Previous research has revealed that when teachers are given opportunities to lead in a supportive, trusting environment they take on more leadership roles (Ash & Persall, 1999). Principals must be willing to create environments of collaboration and schools where shared leadership is practiced. As teachers rise to the occasion and become campus leaders their influence reaches beyond their classrooms as they inspire the pedagogical performances of other teachers (Reeves, 2008). As stated in chapter one, superintendents and principals cannot effectively execute tasks associated with educational leadership alone. In their study on teacher leadership, Katzenmeyer and Moller (2009) assert that teacher leaders have the potential to enhance the possibility of school reform by becoming dynamic leaders in their schools. Teacher leaders are needed as agents of change as they help administrators facilitate school practices, which benefit all members of the school community.
Data Analysis In order to best report the finding of the data analysis, this chapter is organized in two sections: qualitative and quantitative. This study was conducted in three middle schools within a district in Southern California. By focusing on middle schools within the same district, the researcher hoped to gain insight into the natural ebb and flow taking place inside an organization and the people it connects.
Phase One: Qualitative Findings Leadership from the perspective of the superintendent. To begin this investigation the researcher met with the superintendent of the chosen district. After an informal conversation about the basic qualities of effective leadership gleaned from the work of Bernard Bass (1985; 1990), she was asked to identify which middle school principals she viewed as being transformational leaders. With high consideration on choosing middle school principals who exemplified transformational leadership through their practice, the superintendent identified three middle school principals as being transformational leaders.
Next the superintendent completed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Rater Form (Appendix A) on each of the principals. The MLQ, designed to evaluate leadership qualities specific to transformational leaders also measures a leader’s perceived ability to move a group of individuals toward higher, measurable outcomes. As affirmed through their work on leadership, Avolio and Bass state that “transformational leaders become a source of inspiration through their commitment to those who work with them, their perseverance to a mission, their willingness to take risks, and their strong desire to achieve” (2004, p. 26).
Questionnaires were analyzed in order to understand the individual strengths of each principal as well as to confirm the superintendent’s initial determination that the chosen principals were indeed transformational leaders. As presented in detail in chapter two of this study, transformational leadership is framed by four components where each aspect highlights the unique talents of leaders. Noting that each area of leadership builds upon the next, the additive feature of transformational leadership allows leaders to combine the efforts of all four factors for ultimate results (Hall et al., 2002). As shown in
Figure 3, the four components of transformational leadership or “4Is” are as follows: