An Examination of Leadership Styles and Teacher Motivation 2 Introduction
An ongoing challenge for educational administrators is capitalizing on leadership behaviors that have the greatest influence on optimizing teacher motivation. It is recognized that among the myriad responsibilities and tasks school leaders must assume, motivating teachers appears crucial to the essential precept of all schools: student academic achievement. Using the Weick and Sutcliffe model “Conditions That Create Corporate Culture” (2001), achievement would serve as one of the core beliefs of a learning organization, around which its members’ values, practices, and attitudes revolve (p. 125). Therefore, it appears very likely that teachers would be motivated by these salient factors. Based on that rudimentary information, it seems prudent that school leaders should incorporate into their leadership practices skills that encourage, reinforce, and sustain “teachers who are actively engaged in teaching and learning, open to new ideas and approaches, and committed to students” (Hoy & Miskel, 2005: p.157). Leaders might also consider their advice that: “a number of personality and motivation traits increase the likelihood that individuals can and will engage in effective leadership efforts to influence others” (p. 408). Based on the evidence concluded by Hoy and Miskel (2005), leaders who possess the following characteristics will motivate teachers: self-confidence, stress tolerance, emotional maturity, personal drive, power needs, achievement orientation, and high expectations for success (pp. 380-381). Armed with this information, this group of four graduate students set out to answer the research question: To what extent do principals’ leadership traits influence teacher motivation?
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Considering the important work that teachers tackle and accomplish daily and year after year, this group sought to better understand what is it, if anything, from school principals that inspire teachers to apply their expertise and efforts toward school and district goals? This particular research question was selected because, according to Christie, Hayes, & Lingard (2004): “teacher traits and methods account for a higher variation in student achievement than all other aspects of a school combined” (p. 521). It stands to reason that highly motivated teachers will be more effective in the classroom and lead students toward greater achievement than unmotivated teachers. It may be feasible that school leaders can enhance teacher motivation, thus influence student achievement. This belief is supported by Fullan (2003), who asserts: Let me state at the outset that you cannot do this (produce and sustain a vital public school system) without a dedicated, highly competent teaching force… and you cannot get teachers working like this without leaders at all levels guiding and supporting the process. The principal’s role is pivotal in this equation (5). Data Gathering and Analysis The graduate group selected five studies that explored the relationship of two concepts: leadership styles and teacher motivation. These two “abstract terms derived from generalizations across particulars” (Tarter, 2004) were examined, with the subsequent conclusions and implications for future research discussed following these five annotated summaries: Barnett, K., & McCormick, J. (2003). Vision, relationships, and teacher motivation: A case study. Journal of Educational Administration, 41(1), 55-73. Retrieved September 12, 2004 from http://emeraldinsight.com/0957-8234.htm .The purpose of this case study was to examine transformational leadership behavior -- the development and communication of a persuasive vision that inspires and motivates subordinates -- in four schools.
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This study revealed what particular factors of a leader’s behavior encourage...
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