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Teachers Reflective Perception On Professional Learning

The purpose of this study is to explore ‘Teacher’s Reflective Perception on Professional Learning Influenced by Leadership Practices’. This research will describe the effects of different form of professional development on teaching and learning in Karachi, public and private Primary Secondary schools, using survey methodology. This research study is a replication of Tebbano’s (2002) research study conducted in the upstate region of New York State. This chapter will discuss the design of the study include a description of research hypothesis, teacher and administrator population and samples, survey instruments, teacher and administrator interview procedures, independent variables, method used for collection and treatment of data, and the statistical techniques used.

Sample Population

The location of the study was Karachi and focused on twenty government and twenty private schools. This was a group study of teachers and principals practicing in public and private schools of Karachi, city district government schools are also included.

Each school principal’s was mailed an introductory letter, as well as a letter of informed consent, regarding the nature of this study. The letter of informed consent contained detailed information about the researcher and the doctoral program that was sanctioning this research project. The superintendents and principals who agreed to participate were asked to complete the Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI; Kouzes & Posner 1997) and principal the school professional staff as a learning community (SPSLC) questionnaire (Hord, 1997) to all professional i.e. certified staff members assigned to their school in December 2003. Principals were asked to provide a letter of confirmation of their willingness to participate in the study. The research explained the survey instruments verbally and also forward a cover letter reiterating the purpose if the research and the exact data collection process proposed along with a copy of the instrument to each principal. Two high school districts agreed to participate. The researcher sought permission to conduct research in each respective school district. Each high school participating in this study was coded as to the DFG assigned by the fact of the location and socio economic factor. To preserve anonymity, each district was coded with a number.

The leadership practice inventory (LPI) was sent to each participating school principal. The school professional staff as a learning community (SPSLC) was sent to the participating school teachers.

Data Collection

Information packets including the following:

A cover letter explaining the procedure and survey administration

An informed consent form for completing the school professional staff as learning community (SPSLC) questionnaire and the leadership practice inventory (LPI) questionnaire and

A self – addressed, postage paid, return envelope by which the principal could return to the researcher, were mailed to each school principal.

Principals utilized two methods of dissemination and collection for the survey instruments. The first method of data collection occurred at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting after school. The alternate method of dissemination and collection was dissemination via teacher mail boxes with a cover letter introducing the purpose of the study and the expected data of return. The participating schools were requested to return the surveys within 14 days. Telephone calls were made to each participating school to confirm receipt of the packets and to stress the timeline for return. Principals were sent a copy of each survey instrument to be completed and returned under separate cover of the twelve schools asked to respond to the survey instruments two schools returned the completed survey instruments. After carefully reviewing and discussing the survey instruments during team planning meetings one school district selected elected not to participate in the research study. The sample consisted of two volunteer schools which consisted of high schools. A combined total of 80 survey instruments from respondents were returned by Feb 18, 2007.

Informed Consent

Each principal and teacher who agreed to take part in the research study was provided with an informed consent form regarding this research study. The informed consent form described the purpose of the study, procedures, possible risks and expected benefits associated with this research. Further, participants were assured confidently of the research records. To the best of researcher’s knowledge, the research activities involved with this study posed no more psychological risk of harm than participants would experience in every day life.

Instrumentation

The leadership practice inventory (LPI) has its origin in a research project Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner began in 1983. They wanted to know what people did when they were at their “personal best” in leading others. They started with the assumption, however, that they did not have to interview and survey. Star performers in excellent companies to discover best practices. They assumed that by asking ordinary people to describe extraordinary experiences, they would find patterns of success, they were right.

After some preliminary research, Kouzes and Posner devised a personal best leadership experience survey consisting of thirty eight open-ended questions such as these:

*Who initiated the project?

*How were you prepared for this experience?

*What special techniques and strategies did you use to get other people involved in the project?

*What did you learn about leadership from this experience?

The Impact of LPI:

Over it’s nearly 20 years history, the LPI has become the most popular off the shelf leadership instrument in the world, used by nearly one million leader’s world wide. Reported analysis of the instrument has proven it to be a reliable and valid measure of a leader’s effectiveness. But most important to its creator, the result has also shown that leadership is understandable and learnable.

Validity and Reliability of LPI:

Any good instrument should have sound psychometric properties, reliability and validity. In general, an instrument s reliable when it measures what it is supposed to measure, its valid when its accurately predicts performance. When Kouzes and Posner were developing the LPI, they conducted a number of tests to determine whether the inventory had sound psychometric properties. Here’s what they found:

The LPI is internally reliable. The six statements pertaining to each leadership practice are highly correlated with one another.

Test – retest reliability is high. The scores from one administration of the LPI to another, within a short time span (a few months) and without any significant intervening event (such as a leadership training program) are consistent and stable.

The five scales are generally independent (statistically orthogonal). The five scales corresponding to the five leadership practices don’t all measure the same phenomenon. Instead, each measures a different practice as it should.

The LPI has both face validity and predictive validity. Face validity means that the results make sense to people. Predictive validity means that the results are significantly correlated with various performance measures and can be used to make predictions about leadership effectiveness.

Psychometric properties of The LPI:

Means and standard deviations for each LPI scale for leaders (self) and their constituents (i.e. all observers, mangers, direct reports, co worker or peers and others) are presented in Table 3.1. Based upon mean scores, enabling in the leadership practice most frequently reported being used. This is closed followed by Modeling; with the average scores for challenging and encouraging being fairly similar inspiring is perceived (both by respondents and their constituents) as the leadership practice least frequently engaged in.

Table 3.1: LPI “Means and Standard Deviations by Respondent Category”

Leadership Practice

Respond Category

Leaders

(Self)

Observer (All)

Manager

Direct Report

Co-worker or peer

Others

Model the way (Mean and Std Deviation)

47.0

6.0

47.5

8.5

47.6

7.4

47.2

9.5

47.5

7.8

47.6

8.3

Challenge the process (Mean and Std Deviation)

43.9

6.8

44.4

9.1

44.0

8.5

44.3

9.9

41.5

8.5

44.4

9.0

Inspired a shared Vision (Mean and Std Deviation)

40.6

8.8

42.0

10.6

40.4

10.1

42.4

11.4

41.6

9.9

42.7

10.2

Enabling others to act (Mean and Std Deviation)

48.7

5.4

47.8

8.4

48.0

6.9

48.2

9.3

47.6

7.8

47.5

8.5

Encouraging the heart (Mean and Std Deviation)

43.8

8.0

44.9

10.2

45.4

8.3

44.5

11.5

45.0

9.4

45.0

10.2

Table: Reliability (chronbach Alpha) coefficient for the LPI

The reliability of the LPI in assessing the above practices has been proven to be effective based on testing performed by the researchers. The mean, standard deviations, and reliability indexes were developed for the LPI chronbach’s Alpha ranging from .81 to ,91.

Table 3.1 presents the reliability data for the LPI, as developed with a population of 43,899 leaders when the instrument was developed and researched by Kouzes and Posner (1995, p.343)

The organization of the LPI is based on the evaluation on thirty separate statements, refers five of the practices as listed above, in the explanation of the instrument. The statements were randomly placed within the context of the Likert scales are as follows; Almost, Rarely seldom. Once in a while, occasionally, sometimes, fairly often, very frequently and Almost always.

Table: 3.2

Means, Standard Deviations, and Reliability Indexes for the LPI

Leadership Practice

Mean

Standard Deviation

LPI

(N = 43,899)

LPI 1: Challenging the Process

22.38

4.17

.81

LPI 2: Inspiring a Shared Vision

20.48

4.90

.87

LPI 3: Enabling Others to Act

23.89

4.37

.85

LPI 4: Modeling the Way

22.18

4.16

.81

LPI 5: Encouraging the Heart

21.89

5.22

.91

Note, from The Leadership Challenge, by J. M. Kouszes & B. Z. Posner, 1995, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 343

In several studies, involving non – U.S. populations reliabilities have also been more than acceptable. For example, in study involving Australian bank manager’s reliabilities on the LPI self ranged from 0.81 to 0.94. Reliabilities ranged between, .82 to .93 for a sample of therapeutic radiographers from Hong Kong. Internal reliability for a Spanish language version of the LPI, with Mexican respondents, ranged between 0.81 to 0.89, another study reported to very good internal reliability for a Chinese language version of the LPI. As one researcher, who translated the LPI in to Mongolian for use in a study of the leadership practices of higher education leaders, concluded: ‘The response options on the LPI are fairly straight forward, and there are no statements that directly reflect American cultural values that could potentially confuse respondents from other Nations, Test – retest reliability for the five leadership practices has been consistently strong, generally at the .90 level and above. In a study involving school administrators, test, retest reliabilities were reported to be .86 for superintendents and .79 for school principals. Test – retest reliabilities for the student LPI, over a ten week interval, were statistically significant. In general, scores on the LPI have been relatively stable over time. Comparing LPI scores every two years, for example from participants in the leadership challenge workshop since 1987 reveals considerable consistency across the five leadership practices for each time-period comparison.

Comparisons Based upon Individuals Differences:

LPI scores have been found, in general, to be unrelated with various demographic characteristics (e.g. age, marital status, years of experience and educational level) or organizational features (e.g. size, functional areas, line verses staff position). This finding extends across a wide variety of non – business settings as well, as suggested by research with school superintendents principals, and administrators, health care administrators, female executives in banking and higher education administrators, U.S Air Force Nurse Corps Captains law enforcement officers, hotel managers, Hong Kong staff nurses, and with family support centre directors. Multiple regression analysis revealed that age educational level, or work experience had no significant influence on the leadership practices of either male or female Thai managers with a population of college students, leadership practices (using the student version of the LPI) were not related to gender, race, age, gender role orientation, work experience, or year in school.

Comparison between Self and Observer Perspective:

As the simple size; increases, the chance of finding statistically significant differences between groups also increases, even if these differences are not, for any one individual respondent, particularly meaningful, practice or significant. This has generally been true for the Leadership Practice Inventory (see table 1). Empirical tests of differences between leaders (using the LPI self form) and their constituents (using the LPI observer form) reveal no statistically significant differences (at the .001 level of probability) between these two groups on modeling and challenging. While statistically significant the mean differences between these two groups on Inspiring, Enabling and Encouraging have little practical significance, except to note that leaders review themselves as engaging some what less in Inspiring and Encouraging, and slightly more in Enabling, then do their constituents. It has not been unusual to find self scores higher than observer scores in specific workshop or research settings, although the rank order of the practices has been generally consistent across sample populations. Some researchers have reported no significant differences between self and observer response.

Comparison across leaders (LPI) and their specific constituencies reveal no statistically significant differences (p less then .001) for the leadership practices of modeling and challenging. Direct Reports, co workers / peers and others report their leaders engaging more on Inspiring than do the leaders themselves for Enabling there are no difference between the leader’s views and those from their managers or Direct Reports. Co workers / peers and other report less Enabling than do leaders on Encouraging, the scores from leaders and their Direct Reports are not statistically different, while manager, so worker / peers and others report more Encouraging than do leaders.

Comparison between Males and Females:

The possible impact of gender on LPI scores was analyzed by looking at differences between male and female respondents. Generally, the leadership practices are not significantly different for males and females on the LPI-self. Both groups report engaging in Modeling the way, Inspiring a shared vision, Challenging the process, and Enabling others to act with about the same approximate frequency. Female mangers report engaging in the leadership practice of Encouraging the heart significantly more often than do their make colleagues.

Other researcher has reported similar results in regards to gender and leadership practices within specific sample populations. For instance, no gender differences were reported for studies involving public health agency directors, public sector managers, fraternity and sorority chapter presidents, school principals or superintendents, college president or collegiate coaches. Gender made no difference in leadership practices of Mexican, Australian or Swiss managers. The LPI scores of female elementary school principals were reported or higher than their male counter parts although gender made no difference in the out come variables. Female university professor reported engaging in encouraging more than their male counter parts while the two groups did not differ on the remaining four Leadership practices. Gender differences were found for Thai managers, with male reporting significantly higher scores than females on Modeling, Inspiring and Enabling. Looking further in to possible gender differences, we examine the extent to which the constituent gender interacted with the leader gender. This study took place within a nation wide retail organization. No differences were found for Inspiring, Enabling or Encouraging. However, female constituents reported their managers, whether male or female, to engage in more. Modeling and challenging behaviors than did male constituent. Female constituents also reported their male manager engaging in Modeling and Challenging more than did male constituents of female managers. Same gender dyads were compared with mixed-gender dyads and statistically significant differences were found for only one leadership practice: constituents of the same gender as their manager reported more Inspiring behavior than did mixed-gender dyads. A study involving government managers revealed no significant differences across al possible gender-based dyads of managers and direct reports.

Comparison across Ethnic Background:

Possible LPI differences due to ethnic background were investigated in a study involving executive directors of community development organizations. LPI scores for Caucasians directors were compared with those directors of color (Black, Hispanic and Asian). The two groups did not differ on Challenging, Enabling or Engaging. Directors of color reported significantly higher Modeling and Inspiring scores than their Caucasians counter parts. However, assessments provided by their constituents revealed no systematic differences between the leadership practices of mangers based upon their ethnic background. Re-examination of the data by respondent gender also made no difference in the pattern of results.

LPI scores were not found to be statistically different in an investigation of Native American and non-Native American secondary school administrators. A comparison of African – American and Caucasian female leaders in college student personnel administrator positions revealed no significant revealed no significant main or interaction effects by leader ethnicity.

Validation of the LPI:

Validity addresses the question if whether or not an instrument truly measures what it supports to measure and, accordingly, whether its scores having meaning or utility for a respondent. Like reliability, validity is determined in a number of ways. The most common assessment of validity is called face validity, which considers whether, on the basis of subjective evaluation, an instrument appears to measure what it tends to be measuring. Given that the items on the LPI are related to the statements that workshop participants generally make about their own or others personal best leadership experiences, respondents have found the LPI to have excellent face validity.

Another method for examining the discriminate validity of the LPI is to determine how well LPI scores differentiate between high and low performing managers. This issue was examined using discriminate analysis as a classification technique we wanted to determine how well LPI scores could group mangers in to various performance based categories. The lowest third and highest third of the managers on the LPI observer leader effectiveness scale formed the low and high performing categories.

Approximately 85% of the sample of LPI observer respondents was used to create the canonical discriminate function, with the remaining 15% used to create a holdout sample for classification purposes. One discriminate function was derived and it correctly classified 92.6% of the known cases and 77.8% of the cases in the holdout sample. Including the middle third of the sample in this analysis, resulted in correct classification of 71.1% of known cases and 67.9% of the holdout sample. All four of these results are beyond the .001 level of chance probability.

Several Meta reviews of leadership development instruments have been conducted. The LPI is consistently rated among the best, regardless of the criteria. For example, in one assessment of 18 different leadership instruments, the LPI was the only one to receive the top score in psychometric soundness and ease of use. There is good evidence to support the reliability and validity of the LPI concluded one reviewer of the LPI. Another explained

“The conceptual scheme on which the LPI is based is elegant and the test items on the LPI have excellent face validity as well as psychometric validity. Factor analysis and multiple regressions provide strong support for both the structural and current validity of the LPI.”

A large number of researchers have utilized the leadership practices inventory in their investigation of various leadership issues. Such independent efforts substantiate the utility and robustness of the LPI. Correlation with other sociological and psychological instruments further enhances confidence that the LPI measures what it is purported to measure and not some other phenomenon (construct validity). The LPI has been applied in studies investigating leadership practices and:

Motivation and commitment

Work group performance

Professional burnout

Spirituality

Effectiveness of bank mangers and their work groups

Commitment, satisfaction and productivity of hospital employees

Recruitment and retention of nursing mangers and quality of patient care

Satisfaction, commitment and productivity of nurses

Public health leaders

Effectiveness and credibility of school principals and superintendents

High and low performing schools

Principals of Christians’ schools

Principals in effective and ineffective schools

Ethical philosophy of middle school administrators

Levels of parental involvement by elementary school principals

College presidents

Academic deans impact on department chairperson satisfaction

College coaches

The impact of an academic collegiate leadership development program

Organizational identification and commitment among no profit employees

Church leaders

Pastors involved in establishing new churches and congregational growth

Myers Briggs type indicators

Thinking styles, conflict styles, learning styles

Optimism and proactive personality

Self esteem.

The Leadership Practices Inventory has sounded psychometric properties. Internal reliabilities for the five leadership practices (both self and observer version) are very good and are consistent overtime. The underlying factor structure has been sustained across a variety of studies and settings, and support continues to be generated for the instruments construct and concurrent validity. For the most part, findings are relatively consistent across people, gender, ethnicity and cultured backgrounds, as well as across various organizational characteristics: An independent assessment of the LPI reached similar conclusions:

“The LPI one of the most extensively researched management development tools. I have encountered. It is a model of sound research design from its initial development and refinement. Through subsequent concurrent validity studies the instrument and instructions are easy to read and follow and the trainer’s guide is logical and clear. I highly recommended it, as a development tool for new and experienced managers.”

Our own studies, along with those of other researchers, and comparison with other leadership instruments have all shown the LPI to quite powerful in assessing individual’s leadership capabilities, and demonstrating that the five practices of exemplary leaders do make a difference at the personal, inter personal, small group and organizational level. The LPI has proven quite robust in assessing individual leadership behaviors and in providing feed back useful for developing and enhancing leadership capabilities. Overall, the five practices of exemplary leadership framework and the LPI contribute richly to our understanding of the leadership process and in the development and unleashing of leadership capabilities.

SPSLC:

The school professional staff as a learning community (SPSLC) was developed by Dr. Shirley Hord (1997) of the south west Regional Educational Development Laboratory, in conjunction with the staff of the Appalachia Educational Laboratory. Originally designed as an assessment tool for a school that reinvented itself over several years, the SPSLC was created to “assess globally the maturity of a schools professional staff as learning community. (Mohan, or Iestsky & Sattes, 1997, p. 4 ).

The field-testing on the SPSLC was conducted by the Appalachia Educational Laboratory confirming that the instrument was reliable in differentiating faculties of twenty one schools “in terms of their maturity as learning communities” (Meehan or Iestysky & Sattes, 1997, p. 4 ).

In education circles the term learning community has become common place. It is being used to mean any number of things, such as extending class room practice in to the community, bringing community personnel in to the school to enhance the curriculum and learning tasks for students, or engaging students, teachers and administrators simultaneously in learning to suggest just a few.

This thing focuses on what Astuto and colleagues (1993) label the professional community of learners, in which the teachers in a school and its administrators continuously seek and share learning and then act on what they learn. The goal of their actions is to enhance their effectiveness as professionals so that students benefit. This arrangement has also been termed communities of continuous inquiry and improvement.

As an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seem as a powerful staff development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement state department personnel, intermediate service agency staff, district and campus administrators, teachers, leaders, key parents and local school community members should find this interesting.

The above information represents an abbreviation of Hord’s review of the literature (1997), which explored the concept and operationalization of professional learning communities and their outcomes for staff and students. During the eighties, Rosenholtz (1989) brought teachers work place factors in to the discussion of teaching quality, maintaining that teachers who felt supported in their own ongoing learning and classroom practice were more committed and effective than those who did not receive such confirmation. Support by means of teacher networks, cooperation among colleagues, and expanded professional roles increased teacher efficacy in meeting students need. Further, Rosenholtz found that teachers with a high sense of their own efficacy were more likely to stay in the profession.

Mc Laughlin and Talbert (1993) confirmed Rosenholtz findings, suggesting that when teachers had opportunities for collaborative inquiry and the learning related to it, they were able to develop and share a body of wisdom gleaned from their experience, Adding to the discussion, Darling-Hammond (1996) cited shared decision making as a factor in curriculum reform and the transformation of teaching roles in some schools. In such schools, structured time is provided for teachers to work together planning instruction, observing each other’s class rooms and sharing feed back. These and other attributes characterize professional learning communities.

Attributes of Professional Learning Communities:

The literature on professional learning communities repeatedly gives attention to five attributes of such organizational arrangements:

Supportive and shared leadership

Collective creativity

Shared values and vision

Supportive conditions, and

Shared personal practice.

Supportive and Shared Leadership:

The school change and educational leadership literature clearly recognize the role and influence of the campus administrator (principal and some timed assistant principal) on whether change will occur in the school. It seems clear that transforming a school organization in to a learning community can be done only with the sanction of the leaders and the activity nurturing of the entire staff’s development as a community. Thus, a look at the time principal of a school whose staff is professional learning community seems a good starting point for describing what these learning communities look like and how the principal “accepts a collegial relationship with teachers“ (D.Rainey, Personal communication, March 13, 1997) to share leadership, power, and decision making.

This new relationship forged between administrators and teachers leads to share and collegial leadership in the school, where all grow professionally and learn to view themselves (to use an athletic meta phor) as “all playing on the same team and working toward the same goal: a better school” (Hoerr, 1996, p.381). an additional dimension, then, is a chief executive of the school district who support and encourages continuous learning of its professionals. This observations suggests that no longer can leaders be thought of as top down agents of change or seen as the visionaries of the corporation; instead leaders must be regarded as democratic teachers.

Collective Creativity:

In 1990, Peter Senge’s book “The fifth Discipline” arrived in bookstores and began popping up in the boardrooms of corporate America. Over the next year or so, the book and its description of learning organization which might serve to increase organizational capacity and creativity, moved into the educational environment. The idea of a learning organization “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desires, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are natured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together“(p.3) caught the attention of educators who were struggling to plan and implement reform in the nation’s schools. As Senge’s Paradigm shift was explored by educators and shared in educational journals, the label become learning communities.

In school, the learning community is demonstrated by people from multiple constituencies at all levels, collaboratively and continually working together (Louis & Kruse, 1995). Such collaborative work is grounded in what Newman (reported by Brandt, 1995) and Louis & Kruse label reflective dialogue, in which staff conduct conversations about students and teaching and learning, identifying related issues and problems, Griffin (cited by Sergiovanni, 1994 a, p.154), refers to these activities as inquiry, and participants in believes that as principals and teachers inquire together, they create community. Inquiry helps to overcomes chasms caused by various specializations of grade level and subject matter. Inquiry forces debate among teachers about what is important. Inquiry promotes understanding and appreciation for the work of others. And inquiry helps principals and teachers create the ties that bond them together as a special group and that bind them to a shared set of address. Inquiry, in other words, helps principals and teachers become a community of learners. Such conversations learn to apply new ideas and information to problem solving and therefore are able to create new conditions for students.

Shared Values and Visions:

“Vision is a trite term these days. And at various times it refers, to mission, purpose goals, objectives, or a sheet of paper posted near the principal’s office”, (Isaacson & Bamburg, 1992, p.42). sharing vision is not just agreeing with a good ideas; it is a particular mental image of what is important to an individual and to an organization, staff are encouraged not only to be involved in the process of developing a shared vision but to use that vision as a guide post in making decisions about teaching and learning in the school (ibid).

A core characteristics of the vision is an understanding focus on student learning, maintains Louis and Kruse, (1995), in which each student potential achievement is carefully considered. These shared values and visions lead to binding norms of behavior that the staff supports. In such a community, the individual staff member is responsible for his/her actions, but the common good is placed on a par with personal ambition. The relationships between individuals are described as caring. Such caring is supported by open communication, made possible by trust. (Fawcutt,1996).

Supportive Conditions:

Several kinds of factors determine when, where and how the staff can regularly come together as a unit to do the learning, decision making, problem solving and creative work that characterize a professional learning community. In order for learning communities to function productivity, the physical or structural conditions and the human qualities and capacities of the people involved must be optimal, (Boyd,1992; Louis & Kruse, 1995).

Physical conditions: Louis and Kruse identify the following physical factors that support learning community time to meet and talks, small school size and physical proximity of the staff to one another, interdependent teaching roles, well developed communication structures, school autonomy, and teacher’s empowerment. An additional factor is the staff’s in put in selecting teachers and administrators for the school, and even encouraging staff who are not in tune with the program to find work elsewhere.

Boyd presents a similar list of physical factors that result in an environment conducive to school change and improvement: the availability of resources; schedules and structures that reduce isolation; policies that encourage greater autonomy, foster collaboration, enhance effective communication, and provide for staff development. Time is clearly a resource: “ Time, or more properly look of it, is one of the most difficult problems faced by schools and districts”. (walts & Castle, 1993, p.306). Time is a significant issue for faculties who wish to work together collegially, and it has been cited as both a barrier (when it is not available) and a supportive factor (when it is available) by staff’s engaging in school improvement.

People Capacities:

One of the first characteristics cited by Louis and Kruse (1995) of individuals in a productive learning community is a willingness to accept feed back and to work toward improvement. In addition, the following qualities are needed: respect and trust among colleagues at the school and district level, possession of an appropriate cognitive and skill base that enables effective teaching and learning, supportive leadership from administrators and others in key roles, and relatively intensive socialization processes.

Boyd (1992) points out that the physical and people factors are highly interactive, many of them influencing the others. Boyd and Hord (1994) clustered the factors in to four overarching functions that help build a context conducive to change and improvement: reducing staff isolation, increasing staff capacity, providing a caring and productive environment, and improving the quality of the school’s programs for students.

Shared Personal Practice:

Review of a teacher’s behavior by colleagues is the norm in the professional learning community (Louis & Kruse, 1995). This practice is not evaluative but is a part of the “peers helping peers” process. Such review is conducted regularly by teachers, who visits each others classrooms to observe, script notes, and discuss their observations with the visited peer. The process is based on the desire for individual and community improvement and is enabled by the mutual respect and trustworthiness of staff members.

Wignall (1992) describes a high school in which teachers share their practice and enjoy a high level of collaboration in their daily work life. Mutual respect and understanding are the fundamental requirement for this kind of work place culture. Teachers find help, support, and trust as a result of developing warm relationships with each other.“Teachers tolerate (even encourage) debate, discussion and disagreement. They are comfortable sharing both their success and their failures. They praise and recognize one another’s triumphs, and offer empathy and support for each other’s troubles” (p.18). One of the involvement of the teachers in interviewing, selecting, and hiring new teachers. They feel a commitment to their selections and to ensuring the effectiveness of the entire staff one goal of reform is to provide appropriate learning environments for students. Teachers, too need “an environment that values and supports hard work, the acceptance of challenging tasks, risk taking, and the promotion of growth” (Midglay & Wood, 1993, p.252). Sharing their personal practice contributes to creating such a setting.

If strong results such as the above are linked to teachers and administrators working in professional learning communities, how might the frequency of such communities of schools be increased? A paradigm shift is needed both by the public and by teachers themselves, about what the role of teachers entails. Many in the public and in the profession believe that the only legitimate use of teacher’s time is standing in front of the class, working directly with students. In studies comparing how teachers around the globe spend their time, it is clear that in countries such as Japan, teachers teach fewer classes and use a greater portion of their time to plan, confer with colleagues, work with students individually, visit other classrooms, and engage in other professional development activities (Darling-Hammond, 1994, 1996). Bringing about changes in perspective that will enable the public and the profession to understand and value teacher’s professional development will require focused and concreted effort. As Lucianne Carmichale has said, “Teachers are the first learners”. Though their participation in a professional learning community, teachers become more effective, and student outcomes increase a goal upon which we can all agree.

The SPSLC was coded as 01 or 02 to define the participating school. The statement describing teacher’s perceptions were coded using 17 columns in SPSS labeled as dim 1a, dim1b, dim2a, dim2b, dim2c, dim3a, dim3b, dim3c, dim3d, dim3e, dim4a, dim4b, dim5a, dim5b, dim5c representing each of these 17 descriptors from the school professional staff as learning community. A row is SPSS was used for each respondent to record the ratings (1to5) from the SPSLC instrument.

Table 2 is a presentation of the descriptive statistics for the SPSLC five dimensions as developed in the validation study performed by Meehan and colleagues (1997).

Table: 3.3

(SPSLC)

Descriptor

N

Mean

Median

Mode

Standard Deviation

Descriptor 1

677

6.72

6.00

6.00

1.87

Descriptor 2

679

10.97

11.00

9.00

2.55

Descriptor 3

673

17.77

18.00

20.00

3.90

Descriptor 4

649

5.12

5.00

4.00

2.04

Descriptor 5

655

17.25

18.00

18.00

4.18

Total Score

595

57.97

58.00

61.00

12.33

Note: from Field test of an instrument measuring the concept of professional learning communities in schools, by M. L. Meehan, S. R. Orletsky and B. Sattes 1997, Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc, Charleston, WV, p. 16.

The SPSLC will show data on the organizational picture of the school district from the position of the staff members. This information will be used in developing a coordination analysis with the behavior of the LPI. Further more, it will provide an understanding of teacher’s reflective perceptions on professional learning as influenced by leadership practices.

The SPSLC questionnaire is composed of the following dimensions and descriptors:

Dimension 1: School administrators participate democratically will teachers, sharing power, authority and decision-making.

Descriptor 1a: Although there are some legal and fiscal decisions required of the principal, school administrators consisted by involve the staff in discussing and making decisions about most school issues.

Descriptor 1b: Administrators involve the entire staff.

Dimension 2: Staff shares visions for school improvement that have an undeviating focus on student learning and are consistently referenced for the staffs work.

Descriptor 2a: Visions for improvement are discussed by the entire staff such that consensus and a shared vision results.

Descriptor 2b: visions for improvement are always focused on students, and learning and teaching.

Dimension 3: Staff’s collective learning and application of the learning’s (taking action) create high intellectual learning tasks and solutions to address student needs.

Descriptor 3a: The entire staff meets to discuss issues, share information, and learn with and form each other.

Descriptor 3b: The staff meets regularly and frequently on substantive student centered educational issues.

Descriptor 3c: The staff discusses the quality of their teaching and student learning.

Descriptor 3d: The staff based on their learning’s, makes and implements plans that address student’s needs, more effective teaching, and more successful student learning.

Descriptor 3e: The staff debriefs and assess the impact of their and makes revisions.

Dimension 4: Peers review and give feed back based on observing each other’s classroom behavior’s in order to increase individual and organizational capacity.

Descriptor 4a: Staff regularly and frequently visit and observer each other’s classroom teaching.

Descriptor 4b: Staff provides feed back to each other about teaching and learning based on their classroom observations.

Dimension 5: School conditions and capacities support the staff’s arrangements as a professional learning organization.

Descriptor 5a: Time is arranged and committed for whole staff interactions.

Descriptor 5b: The size, structure, and arrangements of the school facilities staff proximity and interaction.

Descriptor 5c: A variety of processes and procedures are used to encourage staff communication.

Descriptor 5d: Trust and openness characterize all the staff.

Descriptor 5e: Caring, collaborative, and productive relation ships exist among all the staff.

The SPSLC will display data of the school district from the position of the staff members. The information will be used in developing a correlation analysis with the behavior of the LPI.

Data Analysis

The data from the LPI and the SPSLC will be evaluated using: descriptive statistics, including frequency distributions for each school (mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation) for each school and corresponding superintendent data. A person with a 2-tailed non-directional test will be used with the LPI profile data and the SPSLC profile data to determine correlation (i.e., relationship between two or more variables) across the dimensions of the leadership style of the school superintendent and their respective school districts capability to become a professional learning community.

Research Questions

Research Question 1:

How do school administrators perceive their leadership style in the selected schools? This research question was designed to characterize the leadership style of the school principal or superintendent and his or her relationship with their staff. This question was designed to characterize the leadership style of the superintendent and principals of the sample schools. This information will be obtained from the superintendent’s and principal’s completion of the LPI. Scoring and suggested contextual definition for an appropriate leadership style is suggested by Kouzes & Posner (1997).

Research Question 2:

How do school teachers perceive their reflection on professional learning? Using data procured from the SPSLC completed and submitted by the participating teacher’s of the schools, a data analysis was conducted to using these variables with the SPSLC data from each school.

Research Question 3:

How does teacher’s reflection on professional learning differ by administrator leadership style? This question intends to compare whether teacher’s reflection on professional learning differ by schools with administrators of different leadership style.

Research Question 4:

What are the relationship between administrator’s leadership style and teacher’s reflection on professional learning? This question will be defined from the correlation procedures described using the school superintendents and school principal’s LPI data with the corresponding school’s SPSLC information.

Table 3.4: Research Questions and the Descriptors and Dimensions used

Research Questions

Descriptive / Dimensions used

How do school administrators perceive their leadership style in the schools?

Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)

Dimensions 1 – 5

How do school teachers perceive their reflection on professional learning?

School professional staff as a learning community (SPSLC) Dimensions 1 – 5

Descriptors 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d and 5e

How does teacher’s reflection on professional learning differ by administrator’s leadership style?

School professional staff as a learning community (SPSLC) dimension 1 – 5

Descriptors 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, and 5e

What are the relation ship between administrator’s leadership style and teacher’s reflective perception on professional learning?

Leadership Practice Inventory (LP I)

Dimension 1 – 5 school professional staff (SPSLC)

Dimension 1 – 5

Descriptors 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, and 5e

Summary

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the educational leadership practice that impact teacher’s reflection on professional learning and the capabilities of their school’s to become professional learning communities. Chapter III described the general research design and qualitative methods used in the study. The school professional staff as learning community (SPSLC) and leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) were survey instruments used to identify schools as case studies were described in detail.

The site of this study is 50 private and 50 public primary and secondary schools. The questionnaire of LPI and SPSLC concerns teacher’s perceptions about school staff and the principals as instructional leaders. LPI assessed the five major practices exemplified by transformational leaders LPI 1-5 dimensions observed the qualities of principals. Each item of the thirty statements contained in the instrument was scored using a seven-point Likert Scale. In this chapter we have discussed the validity and reliability of LPI, viewing different tables with their dimensions and descriptors to know how much LPI effective as an instrument. On the other hand SPSLC continuously gives attention to five attributes which are organizational arrangements of school and helps to change school organization into a learning community. It provides a powerful communication to evaluate a relationship between teachers and principals. LPI and SPSLC will be evaluated descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation) and determine relationship between two or more variables which are leadership style of the school principals and their professional staff as a learning community.

What I wanted to achieve through this study was to uncover successful ways of carrying out educational their important role in developing children’s knowledge and improving the school. I also hope that my study would help principals, teachers and teacher leaders understand the nature of teacher’s leadership roles which may promote new ideas for strengthening these roles and for making full of use them for bringing improvement in our educational system.

Chapter IV will presents findings obtained from the LPI and SPSLC survey instruments to address the following research questions:

How do school administrators perceive their leadership style in the selected schools?

How do school teachers perceive their reflection on professional learning?

How does teacher’s reflection on professional learning differ by administrator leadership style?

What are the relationship between administrator’s leadership style and teacher’s reflection on professional learning?

The extent of the knowledge to be gained from this study will determine if this methodology is relevant to ascertaining the information to the key variables concerning educational leadership and professional learning community capability.

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