The Principal as an Instructional Leader

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The principle as an instructional leader: A teacher’s perspective on its effect on the school climate

Angelina Anne Balasundaram; Mohd Nazir Bin Mohd Yunos
Faculty of Education
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)


Instructional leadership is a pivotal factor in the principal becoming an effective leader in a school setting and its implications on the school climate has very significant impact on a school. This research is carried to identify whether this role of the principle as the instructional leader is being practised in Malaysian government schools and its relationship with the overall climate of the school. The method used to carry out this research was a questionnaire of the characteristics of a principle as an instructional leader based on a Ohio State University dissertation project on the implications of instructional leadership (Jana Michelle Alig-Mielcarek, 2003). This questionnaire was then altered to suit the present research. The sample of this research was 45 respondents which were different levelled, experience and background teachers. This research shows that there is a significant relationship between the level of instructional leadership practiced and the creation of positive school climate. The study also shows a linear relationship between the two variable. This shows that the greater the level of instructional leadership practised, the better the school climate will be.


The faculty of education in Malaysia is fast developing into a global contender as an education hub.In its effort to build a world-class education system, the MOE, as the main provider of funds, faces the burden of financing the various improvement and intervention efforts; upgrading the quality of teaching and learning; expanding educational programmes such as technical education; expanding and improving the quality of education; upgrading educational infrastructure; improving the quality of teachers; and increasing the efficiency of supervision, monitoring, and evaluation of education programmes(Malaysia education development plan:2001-2010) In line with this, the role of the principle has to evolve itself with these changes because the principle stands as the mover of the school body.

Van de Grift and Houtveen state that educational leadership is “the ability of a principal to initiate school improvement, to create a learning oriented educational climate, and to stimulate and supervise teachers in such a way that the latter may exercise their tasks as effectively as possible” (1999). Instructional leadership is an expounded version of just leadership; the facet of an instructional leader is simple in its definition but complex in its practicality. Parallel to these new demands of a principle, has caused a demand for the principle to take the helm as the instructional leader and thus possess a role that is redefined into the new tasks that are ahead.

A principle who displays the characteristics of an instructional leader must be focused on educating students to high academic achievement. It also incorporates the behaviours which define and communicate shared goals, monitor and provide feedback on the teaching and learning process and thus promote school-wide professional development (Jana Michelle Alig-Mielcarek,2003).

Although there is not one commonly accepted definition for school climate, the vast majority of researchers and scholars suggest that school climate, essentially, reflects subjective experience in school (Cohen, 2006). The importance of having an open school climate is critical in attaining our nation’s education goals and creating an efficient school. Though not superficial, the school climate is the fertiliser for healthy growth of not only students but teachers and staff alike. The importance of a good climate is pivotal in many areas which include (a) The kind of climate in the school sets the tone for the human considerations of importance to human resources...
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