The Role of the Private Christian School Administrator on Teacher Professional Development & the Need for Relational Partnerships

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Janine Allen and Suzanne Harrison

Janine Allen and Suzanne Harrison

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  • 1. Janine Allen, EdD & Suzanne Harrison, PhDICCTE Conference, Azusa Pacific University May 24, 2012 1
  • 2.  Interested learning more about private K-12 school communities Philosophically and programmatically, both higher education institutions include teacher education that focus on collegial teamwork We encourage the “voice” of the preservice & inservice teachers; teacher leaders Alignment or misalignment? Goal: Retention in the profession [private setting] = fulfillment of calling 2
  • 3.  Purpose of the Study * To discover perceptions of administrators in private Christian schools about leadership characteristics, roles, and teacher professional development. Research Questions 1. What are the perceptions of private Christian school administrators regarding the role and attributes of a school administrator? 2. What are the perceptions of private Christian school administrators regarding their view about success as administrators? 3. What are the perceptions of private Christian school administrators regarding their role in supporting teacher professional development? 3
  • 4. *Transformational Leadership: Leithwood’s (1994) transformational model of school leadership which is based upon the theoretical models of Burns (1978), Bass (1985), and Bass and Avolio (1994). 1. Attend to the needs & give personal attention to individual staff members; 2. Help staff members think of old problems in new ways; 3. Must communicate high expectations fro teachers & students alike; and 4. Through personal accomplishments & demonstrated character, the principal must provide a model for behavior of teachers. (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005, p. 15). 4
  • 5. Servant Leadership: Attributed to Robert Greenleaf (1970, 1977).Places the leader centered within the organization ratherthan a position at the top of a hierarchy.1. Understand the personal needs of those within the organization;2. Healing wounds caused by conflict within the organization;3. Being a steward of the resources;4. Developing the skills of those within the organization;5. Being an effective listener. (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005, p. 16-17). 5
  • 6.  Effective School Leaders  Roles of the leader (Brown, 2006)  Guide towards deeper spirituality, teacher ministry  Collective leadership (Samuels, 2010)  The influence of educators, parents, and others on school decisions  Life as community (Sergiovanni, 2005)  Encourages others (Kouzes & Posner, 2002).  Teamwork, fostering collaboration  Theoretical framework (Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005) 6
  • 7.  Christian School Leadership  Spiritual leader for school; Directs school values (Brown, 2006; Cardus, 2011)  Help others to grow in their relationship with God; focus on the mission and vision of the school. (Banke, Maldonado, Lacey, & Thompson, 2005)  View role as spiritual leader rather than intellectual leader  Leadership values not primarily focused on rigorous education (Cardus, 2011) 7
  • 8.  Teacher Professional Development  Often regarded as presentations but should have active engagement and build capacity (Reeves, 2010)  School culture supports or hampers, positive and healthy school culture strongly correlates to increased student achievement and teacher productivity and satisfaction (Stolp, 1994).  PD must have coherence, agreed upon vision and aims, focus on educators as learners, student centered (Headley, 2003) 8
  • 9.  Setting & Participants *Participants: 6 private Christian school administrators who were participating in a workshop/training. *Setting: Conference room located at 1 private Christian university in the Northwest. Research DesignExploratory Qualitative Study (Creswell, 2007, p. 73).Purposeful Sampling (Creswell, 2007, p. 73).Instruments: 1. Written Questionnaire 2. Two Focus Group Interview Sessions (Krueger, 2002) 3. Co-Researcher Observations/Field NotesValidation of Data (Creswell, 2007, p. 207-209): Use of triangulation, co-research debriefing sessions 9
  • 10.  Written questionnaire given to the 6 participants --demographic information --ranking of leadership characteristics/attributes Two focus group sessions with the 6 participants Researcher observations during focus group sessions 10
  • 11.  Held two focus group sessions with same 6 participants. Duration: 2 hours each session First session: disseminated written questionnaire and conducted group interview using guided questions. While one researcher asked questions, the other researcher observed the group taking field notes. Second session: follow-up group interview with additional questions that unfolded from the first interview session. While one researcher asked questions, the other researcher observed the group taking field notes. 11
  • 12.  Tabulation of data from written questionnaire based on demographics and ranking of leadership characteristics/attributes Transcription of focus group interviews Written field notes from the researcher observations during the focus group sessionsAnalysis Coding Seeking themes and patterns 12
  • 13. DemographicsSix private Christian school administrators4 principals, 2 superintendents3 doctorates, 3 master’s degrees3 with state administrator licensing, 3 do not3 administrators work in secondary schools, 3 K-12 schools1 with more than 25 years of experience ,1 with 14 years of experience, the other 4 with less than 6 years in the private Christian schools as an administrator2 of the 6 have public school experience THREE EMERGENT THEMES 13
  • 14. The participants discussed the vision and mission of the school most frequently. “[Educational leadership] means casting a vision.” “A leader takes a vision and then converts it into a shared vision.” “A leader should inspire people to lead and to equip them to lead as well. It is important to understand the overall culture of the school and the learning environment that you are trying to establish.” 14
  • 15. Attributes/Characteristics (based on mean score on written questionnaire): *Most important attributes: trustworthy, administratively skilled, communicative, team builder, and confidence builder. *Least important attributes: motive arouser, coordinative, just, dynamic, and effective bargainer.What we celebrate: success stories from teachers or staff about a spiritual moment for a student, “See a life transformed” “Seeing a dormant seed [child] fall on fertile soil in the school and they get to grow, their life has changed…” “We have a student back years later and they say their life was changed.”What success means to us: “When you hear God say „well done‟” you know you‟ve been successful.” “When the student becomes better than the teacher, that‟s when I know I‟ve been successful.” 15
  • 16. Decision makers: “In a smaller setting it seems mostly about making decisions all day long.”Teacher Professional Development: “Until recently we’ve probably had a fairly traditional model for professional development once a week, on Monday’s we have a late start, we bring in somebody on a topic to talk to our teachers…” 16
  • 17. The participants…*highlighted the role and characteristics of a leader focusing on mission/vision,*suggest the importance of developing a shared mission/vision and collaborative action. Is Administrator professional development needed? (Leithwood as cited in Marzano et al., 2005; Reeves, 2006; Dufour, Dufour, & Eaker, 2010; Schmoker, 2006)*mentioned shared leadership but never stated who the partners would be…teachers???*focused on daily administrative tasks & decision making, 17
  • 18. *mentioned working with parents, school boards, and students, but little mention about work with the teachers.*little time spent on professional development opportunities for teachers or opportunities for professional growth. 18
  • 19.  Supportive discussions needed between CCCU Higher Ed and private school administrators for possible growth opportunities Servant leadership  Definition needed for clarity Mentoring opportunities for private school administrators may be of benefit Research in the area of teacher perceptions of shared leadership in private schools and pedagogical growth 19
  • 20.  Researchers’ Lens *Both researchers are Christians who have spent most of their professional educational career within the public school arena. *Both researchers have or currently work with preservice teacher training programs and work with inservice teachers as well in private Christian universities who train educators primarily for the public school environment. *Both researchers instruct “current practices in effective teaching” in their respective universities. *Both researchers view collaborative efforts as well as professional development as imperative for teachers. 20
  • 21. Allen, J. (2007). Mentoring influences on retention of the early career teacher and enculturation of leadership behaviors in standards-based schools. (Doctoral Dissertation). George Fox University, Newberg, OR.Banke, S., Maldonado, N., Lacey, C., & Thompson, S. (2005). The role of spirituality in Christian school leadership: A qualitative study. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Florida Educational Research Association, November, 2005, Miami, FL.Berg, B. (2007). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.Cardus Education Survey. (2011). Cardus education survey: Do the motivations for private religious catholic and protestant schooling in north America align with graduate outcomes? www.carduseducationsurvey.comCreswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Donaldson, G., Marnik, G., Mackenzie, S., & Ackerman, R. (2009). What makes or breaks a principal? Developing School Leaders, 67(2), 8-14.Eaker, R. , Dufour, R., & Dufour, R. (2002). Getting started: Reculturing schools to become Professional learning communities. Bloomington, IN: Solution TreeHeadley, S. (2003). Professional development policies and practices in schools affiliated with the Association of Christian Schools International. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 12(2), 195-215. Retrieved December 27, 2010, from ProQuest Religion. (Document ID: 810801261).. 21
  • 22. House, R.J., Hanges, P.J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. In Northouse (5th ed.). 2010. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2002). Leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Krueger, R. (2002). Designing and conducting focus group interviews. University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.Lunenburg, F., & Irby, B. (2006). The principalship: Vision to action. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Marzano, R., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. (2005). School leadership that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.Northouse, P. (2010). (5th ed.). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Reeves, D. (2006). The Learning Leader: How to Focus School Improvement for Better Results. Alexandria, VA: ASCDReeves, D. (2010). Transforming Professional Development into Student Results. Alexandria, VA: ASCDSamuels, C. (2010). Study: Effective principals embrace collective leadership. Education Week, 29(37), 14-114.Sergiovanni, T. (2005). Strengthening the heartbeat. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Smylie, M., Conley, S., & Marks, H. M. (2011). Exploring new approaches to teacher leadership for school improvement. In E. B. Hilty (Ed.), Teacher leadership: The “new” foundations of teacher education (pp. 265-282). New York: Peter Lang. 22
  • 23. Stolp, S. (1994). Leadership for school culture. Clearinghouse on Educational Policy and Management. Retrieved September 27, 2011 from http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest091.htmlVaughn, S., Schumm, J., & Sinagub, J. (1996). Focus group interviews in education and psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Wheatley, M. (2002, September). Spirituality in turbulent times. School Administrator. Retrieved June 17, 2003, from http://www.aasa.org/publications/sa/2002_09/wheatley.html. 23
  • 24. Janine Allen, EdDDean of Education & Counseling Corban University 5000 Deer Park Drive SE Salem, OR 97317 Phone: 503-589-8158 Email: jallen@corban.edu Suzanne Harrison, PhD Assistant Professor George Fox University Newberg, OR 97132 Phone: 503-554-2855Email: sharrison@georgefox.edu 24