Teachers' and Principals' Perceptions of Principals' Leadership Effectiveness in Selected Adventist Schools in the Philippines.
Abstract The literature on leadership repeatedly refers the need for effective leadership of the principals. This small (n = 85) study investigated the perceptions of teachers' and principals' on leadership effectiveness of the principals in selected Adventist schools in the Philippines. The respondents indicated their views of the leadership effectiveness in observation and coaching in learning process, setting and shaping expectation, creating disequilibrium, engaging staff knowledge transfer. The result showed that there is no significant difference in the perceptions of respondents about effectiveness of the principals when grouped by demographic variables. However when each sub items were carefully analyzed, there was one significant difference found with gender. The comparison means indicated that female respondents are more positive about principals' roles in improving curriculum, assessment, and instruction compare to male.Principals are the central figure of school organization. What they say, do or think has a significant effect on organizational performance (Spark, 2007). A principal's interaction and participation can increase learning climate, productivity, achievement and school reputation (Sergiovanni, 2007). The accomplishments of a school and even whether or not it achieves its goals and mission can be determined by the principal's effectiveness in their vision, both foresight and hindsight (Blackaby & Blackaby, 2001). A principal's effectiveness can have a positive effect on student academic achievement, organizational management, and staff development. Their leadership can promote human relationships, management motivation, collegial relationships, school improvement; and collaboration with stakeholders including students, teachers, parents, staff, and the community. A good principal envisions a mission for the school that accomplishes the needs of the community (Hoerr, 2008; Barth, 2006). Only effective principals can deal with the fast-paced changes and the demanding expectations of today's society (LaPointe & Davis, 2006). Without effective leadership, it is not possible to have "harmonious development" of each student. Only effective principals can excite the support of constituents, stakeholders, teachers, students, parents and community.
This study explored factors that make principals effective in their leadership and how teachers perceive principal's effectiveness within Seventh-day Adventist schools in South Central Luzon Conference (SCLC).
It is very difficult to define "effective principals." They are individuals who pursue their leadership capabilities to foster the school's philosophy with farsighted horizons; they understand the diverse characteristics of their school and their stakeholders, and they promote a team building spirit to generate collaboration and commitment to fulfill their mission. O'Hanlon and Clifton (2004) observed effective principals as individuals "who exhibit the principles of positive psychology in their everyday work, and bring to their school something extra that produces greater growth for all involved" (p. vi).
Effective principals begin with a clear understanding of their destination. They have a clear map in their mind about the position of the school, where it is heading, what the challenges are, and how to satisfy the stakeholders (Blackaby & Blackaby, 2001). They inspire the teachers and students by presenting a realistic vision for the school. They do future planning for the growth of the school, teachers, and students (Everard, Morris & Wilson, 2004). They share their vision from the top to the bottom (teachers to students and parents). They can visualize the big picture and take initiative to face the upcoming challenges through problem solving skills (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005).
Effective principals have a significant influence on student performance (Stronge, Richard & Catano, 2008). Their instructional leadership is directly linked with student performance, quality education, and the success of the school (Bennett, Crawford & Cartwright, 2003). Effective principals encourage their students and facilitate successful learning (Hoerr, 2008). They identify individual needs of students, and consider diversity of cultures, background and abilities. They focus on various learning dimensions and multiple intelligences to enhance self development for high performance (Rallis & Goldring, 2000). They monitor students and teachers and help to provide positive conditions that interact to strengthen instruction and academic achievement (Mangin & Stoelinga, 2008).
Effective principals concentrate on various management skills (Dessler, 2008). They engage teachers, parents and other stakeholders in planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and evaluating to advance the school and improve achievement (Bernardin, 2007; Everard, Morris, & Wilson, 2004). Effective principals ensure efficiency and take action if standards are not met. They follow "due process" to implement the policies of the governing board for recruitment, selection, appointment, ranking appraisal and disciplining the teachers and staff (Bernardin, 2007; Dessler, 2008).
Effective principals take personal responsibility for the daily operations of all financial planning and other management controls (Bernardin, 2007). They have a comprehensive awareness about the school's funds and other resources. They ensure the best use of resources and provide excellent programs and services for the students (Garner, 2004). They engage the community and work hard to obtain funds for educational excellence. They carefully monitor the funds and make sure they are used for the intended purposes. They follow the policy for budgeting and allocating funds allied with estimated income and expenditures and seek the school board's approval to safeguard the school's funds (Dessler, 2008; Garner, 2004).
Effective principals are change agents (Blackaby & Blackaby, 2001). They respect and refine the existing culture and foster change in the school (Deal & Peterson, 1999). They empower teachers and use the skilled personnel to train others by sharing their expertise (Bennis & Nanus, 2003). In the change process they minimize the threats and optimize the opportunities. They focus on intrinsic, rather than extrinsic changes (Sergiovanni, 2000), and motivate teachers and students to build value, trust, and respect for the change (Barrett, 2006). They do ongoing coaching to ensure that change will happen by effective communication with resourceful individuals to transform the values and norms of the school (Deal & Peterson, 1999).
Effective principals create trust among the teachers and students (Covey, 2004). They mind their own duties and keep focus to build trust by articulating a proper direction for the school (Blackaby & Blackaby, 2001). They do their best to reduce the uncertainties within the school (Barth, 2006; Blasé & Blasé, 2006). They do not grasp the opportunities to step over others, but rather stretch out a helping hand for teachers to overcome weaknesses and limitations (Northouse, 2007). They consistently practice integrity in everyday operation to create trustworthiness (Covey, 2004, Barth, 2006); by maintaining high standards of moral and ethical conduct in every service. Simply put, they "do things right" (Sergiovanni, 2007, Northouse, 2007).
Effective principals provide teachers with opportunities for professional growth and development by providing feedback (Sergiovanni, 2007).They use reward and recognition (intrinsic and extrinsic) to empower their teachers and staff (Blasé & Blasé, 1994; Sergiovanni, 2000). Effective principals provide training, seminar, conference, workshop, and other services for teachers and students to increase the organizational standards (Blasé & Blasé, 2004). They clarify the practices and reinforce positive interactions within the school (Mandel, 2006; Robbins, 2005).
Effective principals consider teacher evaluation as a rudder that leads the school to fulfill its chosen goals and objectives and to help teachers to be enlightened. They consider evaluation as "collaborative process" where both parties are engaged?including students, parents and others (Danielson & McGreal, 2000). Effective principals organize evaluation procedures (pre-conference and post-conference; Fisher, 2003). They believe that teacher evaluation is an ongoing process to cultivate professional skills, knowledge and practices (Wanzare & Costa, 2005).
Effective principals care for both people within the school and people outside of the school by building caring relationships (Noddings, as cited in Reed & Johnson, 2000). Effective principals maintain and communication with students, parents, colleagues, school leaders, supervisor, board members, and the community who are directly or indirectly related with the teaching profession. They nurture collegiality and collaboration among stakeholders to generate respect and credibility (Barth, 2006). They unite teachers to increases professional commitment and minimize doubt, competition, and uncertainties among teachers and other administrators (Blasé & Blasé, 2004,).
Effective principals create a safe and secure learning environment. They consistently welcome students, teachers and parents to foster a positive school climate ((Stronge, Richard & Catano, 2008; Halawah, 2005). They involve the entire school community including teachers, parents, students, school board, and others to create an environment for meaningful learning and teaching (Stronge, Richard & Catano, 2008). They listen to parents/guardians carefully if they bring any complaints and clarify them constantly (Sergiovanni, 2000). They focus on the curriculum and instruction management to promote an appropriate school climate (Stronge, Richard & Catano, 2008). They provide learning materials, information, and other equipment to nurture meaningful learning and teaching (Halawah, 2005).
This study includes demographic profile such as on gender, age, highest degree completed, and level of taught, and years of teaching experience of the respondents from selected schools. The research conducted by Schuttle and Hackmann (2006), found that principals who belonged to 41-50 years old were more effective compare to others age groups. Research done in India by Kurian ( 1999), found that teachers' perception about principal leaderships differs according to their age group. On the other hand, a research conducted by Renomeron in the Philippines as cited in Bairagee (2008) found that teachers' age had no relationship with their perception of the principals' leadership effectiveness.
In education some researchers found that gender has dominant trend of leadership effectiveness such that women are more effective in elementary education compared to male, whereas male principals are more effective in high schools and higher education (Harris, Bennett, and Preedy 1997). To a certain extend women are more democratic, empathetic, and cooperative and exchange ideas effectively compare to men (Tomlinson, 2000). Study conducted by Mauri (2008) in Indonesia revealed that male principals are more active in pursuing norms of principalship. This considering different findings, generalizing gender differences would be dangerous without further study.
Recent study in Bangladesh conducted by Bairagee (2008), found that teachers with higher degree score low in their perception about principals' leadership effectiveness compared to teachers with bachelor's degree. A study in China by Luo and Najjar (2009) revealed that there was no significant difference in teachers' perceptions of their principals' effectiveness of demographic factors of gender, age, year of experiences and academic attainment. This study endeavored to determine teachers' and principals' perception of principals' leadership effectiveness in selected schools in the Philippines. The demographical variables, effective principal 360°, principals and teachers, are given below is the conceptual framework of the study
Figure 1. Conceptual framework of the study
This is a demographic comparative study .The sample for this study considered of 85 respondents (75 teachers and 10 principals) of selected schools in the SCLC. A survey questionnaire with likert scale (1= Never to 5= almost always) items, developed by Timothy Berkey, 2009 (Effective principal 360°: Principal's observer assessment) was used with permission to collect the data for this study.
In this study, four research questions were investigated. Research Question 1 dealt with the demographic profile of the teachers and Principals of selected Adventist schools in SCLC. Question 2, 3, and 4 described the perceptions of teachers and principals about the leadership effectiveness profile of the principals.
Descriptive statistic was used to compute frequencies according to demographic variables. One-way ANOVA and t test were used to find the significant differences when the respondents were grouped by demographic variables. The reliability was rechecked via computation of Alpha coefficient.
The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of leadership effectiveness and identify the importance of effective leadership in day to day operation as perceived by teachers and principals in selected Adventist school in South Central Luzon Conference (SCLC).
The Effective Principal 360° instrument was subjected to recheck its reliability analysis to find the comparison between reliability coefficient for scale and each subscale of past study and present study for the justification of scale in Asian context. It has all together 48 items with 4 major divisions, and 14 sub-divisions. It is research developed instrument by Barkey (2009) with criterion validity established via correlation with national studies on the impact of administrative practices on student achievement. Factor analysis was used to establish construct validity. The demographic variables included respondents' age, gender, highest degree attain, level of teaching, and years of experiences. Table 1 provides the comparative alpha (?) values for reliability analysis.
Reliability Analysis: Effective Principal 360°
Scale Previous study
? Present study
Effective Principal 360° .94 .91
Setting & shaping expectation - .95
Rebuilding a passion for change .70-.93 .86
Focusing on teaching and learning .70-.93 .84
Strengthening relationships .70-.93 .86
Setting high expectations .70-.93 .83
Creating disequilibrium - .92
Modeling change .70-.93 .85
Managing change .70-.93 .87
Engaging staff in knowledge transfer - .94
Finding best practices .70-.93 .75
Encouraging & creating transfer .70-.93 .84
Ensuring & evaluating transfer .70-.93 .83
Improving curriculum, assessment & instruction .70-.93 .86
Observing and coaching the learning process - .95
Conducting classroom walkthroughs .70-.93 .86
Coaching effective instruction .70-.93 86
Resolving learning problems .70-.93 .85
Reaching all learners .70-.93 .89
The reliability coefficient in the present study for the scale is .91 and for the each item, scores ranged from .75 to .95. The present study found the coefficient Alpha for each subscale that ranged from .92 to .95 that represents firm internal consistency of each factor. Table 1 shows that present study has comparable reliability with previous study.
As might be expected (see Labao, 2003), there were more female than male teachers and principals (see Table 2). There were actually three times more females, which still leave the proportion higher than what has been reported elsewhere. Yep (2008) reported that "only about seven percent of DepEd teachers are male" in the Philippines. One reason could be "over the years, the teaching profession had apparently failed to attract more male teachers" in the Philippines (Esplanada, 2009). Other reason could be male teachers tend to change their profession faster than female teachers in the Philippines (Esplanada, 2009 & Yep, 2008). Interestingly, Siniscalco (2002) reported that in Eastern Asia teaching is more favored by females than males; however, in developing countries the result is often vice-versa, where the teaching profession is dominated by males (Siniscalco, 2002).
The age of the respondents ranged from 21-61 and above and age variable was divided into five groups for the purpose of comparison (see table 2). The largest category was the 21-30 year old group (30.2%) and lowest was 61 and above year old group (4.7%) only. It is evident that the respondents in SCLC were relatively young as the first two categories 21to 40 years comprised the majority of the respondents (56.9%). This age range is similar to the study of Siniscalco (2002) that revealed more than 80% of teachers are less than 40 years old in the developing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Most of the respondents of this study were elementary teachers, i.e. (70%) of total respondents. Rest of them are either high school teachers or teaching in both levels (high school and elementary) (see table 2).
All the teachers had completed a bachelor's degree, since that is the minimum requirement allowed for teaching (Yep, 2008). Additionally, 5 of the teachers (5.9%) had completed a master's degree. Only 1(1.2%) had completed a degree beyond the master's level (see Table 2).
The present study showed that one third (30.6%) of teachers had only 5 years or less teaching experience. On the other hand about half (49.5%) of the respondents had 10 or more years of teaching experience (See Table 2). This figure shows that teachers' retention in SCLC is high even though turnover rate among teachers is significantly higher than for other occupations in the Philippines (Dessler, 2008). 7% teachers are engaged in teaching profession more than 30 years that revealed some teachers' having high commitment to the teaching profession this finding is similar with the result of Susada, (2008).
Demographic variables Frequency Percentage
Age in years 21-30 26 30.6%
31-40 22 25.9%
41-50 22 25.9%
51-60 11 12.9%
61 & above 4 4.7%
Gender Male 21 24.7%
Female 64 75.3%
Degree Bachelor 79 92.9%
Master's 5 5.9%
Above master's 1 1.2%
Level taught Elementary 60 70.6%
High school 19 22.4%
Both 6 7.0%
Years of experience 1-5 years 26 30.6%
5-10 years 17 20.0%
11-15 years 11 12.9%
16-20 years 18 21.2%
21-25 years 5 5.9%
26-30 years 2 2.4%
31 & above years 6 7.1%
This study found that the leadership effectiveness in SCLC is satisfying. The leadership effectiveness was ranked with the highest 5 (almost always) and lowest 1 (never). The data showed that the means of leadership effectiveness' range is 3.63 to 3.95, which are close to point 4 (practice frequently) on 5 point likert scale. The mean of leadership effectiveness revealed that principals in SCLC are doing, well (see table 3).
Table 3: Level of leadership effectiveness
Items N M SD
Setting and shaping expectations 85 3.95 .653
Creating disequilibrium 85 3.94 .825
Engaging staff in knowledge transfer 85 3.69 .732
Observing and coaching the learning process 85 3.63 .846
Differences between Teachers and Principals
In order to determine the differences of the perceptions about leadership effectiveness of principals of selected Adventist schools in SCLC, t tests were performed. The corresponding null hypothesis "there is no significant difference between the perceptions of teachers and principals in terms of the leadership effectiveness" was accepted. However in every aspect of principals' effectiveness, principals rated themselves higher than the teachers rating of principals' effectiveness (see table 4). Interestingly, both teachers and principals have scored low on their perception about observing and coaching the learning process. These perceptions revealed that principals need to improve their skills in observing, coaching and evaluating skills of the learning in SCLC (See Table 4).
Table 4: Differences between Teachers and Principals
Factors Profession N Mean Std. Deviation t df Sig. (2tailed)
Setting and Shaping Expectations Principals 10 4.14 .637 .950 83 .345
Teachers 75 3.93 .656 .972 11.697 .351
Creating Disequilibrium Principals 10 4.07 .661 .527 83 .600
Teachers 75 3.92 .847 .636 13.291 .535
Engaging staff in knowledge transfer Principals 10 3.76 .517 .323 83 .748
Teachers 75 3.68 .758 .431 14.761 .672
Observing and coaching the learning process Principals 10 3.65 .510 .088 83 .930
Teachers 75 3.63 .884 .132 17.297 .897
One way ANOVA and t test were performed to find out the differences of the perceptions of the respondents about the effectiveness of the principals when grouped by demographic variables. The corresponding null hypothesis stated that "there is no significant difference in the perceptions of respondents about effectiveness of the principals when grouped by demographic variables". The null hypothesis was retained. However when each sub items were carefully analyzed, there was one significant difference found with gender. The male (M = 3.21) and female (M = 3.71) significantly differ in their perception about improving curriculum, assessment and instruction (see table 5). One of the reasons, why males perceived principals' engagement in above mentioned activities is low, could be most of principals are carrying multidimensional responsibilities within the schools such as teaching, pathfindering, attending various meetings and seminars etc. and males perceive these as essential qualities for principals' effectiveness.
The comparison means indicated that female respondents are more positive about principals' roles in improving curriculum, and instruction compare to male. Other demographic variables (age, teachers of types of school and years of teaching experience) were not significantly different. One of the demographic variables (highest degree obtained) was abandoned from the testing as the majority of the respondents (92%) had obtained only bachelors' degree hence comparison was not advisable.
Gender of the respondents Equivalence of variance N Mean Std. Deviation t df Sig. (2tailed)
Female ICAI Equal variances assumed 21
-2.440 83 .017
Table 5 Gender: Improving Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction.
Note: Significant at P < .05
Conclusion and Recommendations
The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of leadership effectiveness and identify the importance of effective leadership in day to day operation as perceived by teachers and principals in selected Adventist school in South Central Luzon Conference (SCLC). Typically an Adventist school teacher in SCLC is female between 21-50 years of age who has only a bachelor's degree (see table 2). These teachers have taught for 15 years or less. The mean of leadership effectiveness was good. The means showed that most of the principals are effective in leadership roles even though the principals were not observing and coaching the learning process consistently. It is really hard to draw line between effective and not effective leaders as leadership is a multifaceted component. School principals can be more effective if they practice research knowledge and equip themselves with the technology that may help teachers as well as principals to capture and organize experiences of teachers within school and make it available to others to enhance the learning and teaching within schools.
In accordance with the findings of this study several recommendations can be made. Creating a balance between genders is important in the Asian context where student can experience the "holistic view of family" (parental relationship including father and mother) within the school (See Susada, 2008). The study also found that principals' effectiveness factor observing and coaching the learning process scored least among leadership effectiveness factors, it is recommended that principals need to pay close attention to improve their passion for demonstrating current knowledge of curriculum, assessment, and instruction in collegial work with teachers to improve and strengthen teaching and learning in every classroom. They need to practice and facilitate the collection, distribution, analysis, and use of data to drive improvements in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. They could provide teachers with common planning time on a daily basis and participates in their meetings to collaborate on specific improvements to the learning experiences for every student.
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