Teachers' perceptions of principals' leadership in school renewal processes

Year: 2005

Author: MacNeill, Neil

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There is an increasing sense of political and societal frustration in bringing about change in schools. One method of change, school renewal, is a focussed, whole-school community, comprehensive approach to school improvement. The differentiation of school renewal from school reform is important, as renewal is very much concerned with whole-school cultural change, particularly in terms of the school's approach and attitudes towards its learning and teaching function. It is acknowledged that leadership within a renewal context is concerned with deep-reaching change, particularly when shifts in underlying assumptions and beliefs are required (Glickman, 1998; Sirotnik, 1999; Smith, 1999). The principal, however, remains accountable for the processes and outcomes of the change processes and should exercise leadership in this process(Ouchi, 2003).

This research project examined principals' roles in influencing changes in teachers' pedagogic practices. Ten teachers were interviewed to examine their experiences of whole-school pedagogic change. The interview protocol was by email, and utilised procedures described as an e-interview (Bampton & Cowton, 2002). The teachers' voices, as written in the emailed responses to the interview questions, supported the conceptual framework that identified 11 dimensions of pedagogic leadership in a school renewal context.