Abstract Bishop - An Exploratory Descriptive Mixed-Method Study Examining Leadership Characteristics and Practices as Identified by Middle School Teachers

An Exploratory Descriptive Mixed-Method Study Examining Leadership Characteristics and Practices as Identified by Middle School Teachers

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TITLE: An Exploratory Descriptive Mixed-Method Study Examining Leadership Characteristics and Practices as Identified by Middle School Teachers
 
RESEARCHER: Richard L. Bishop
Graduate School of Education
Austin State University (Teaxs)
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: August 2009

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this exploratory descriptive mixed-method study was to identify middle school teachers' perceptions of characteristics and leadership practices of middle school principals.

METHODOLOGY
Forty-three middle school teachers from two school districts in East Texas that were purposely selected because their campus has been rated as “Recognized” for at least 2 out of the past 3 years and had an ethnic makeup of less than 55 percent White comprised the target population for the study (response rate = 91%). Completed an adaption of the Leadership Practices Inventory in which they were asked to rate the importance of the various leadership behaviors (rather than frequency). They also completed the Characteristics of Admired Leaders Survey and provided demographic information. Six teachers from each school participated in a focus group. The typical respondent was female (86%) and college educated (79% with the rest holding a master’s degree). Just over 27 percent had 5-9 years of teaching experience while 40 percent had 10-19 years of teaching experience. About one-third of the teachers were between the ages of 31-40, another 25 percent were 41-50 years of age, and 19 percent each were either 21-20 or 51-60 years of age.

KEY FINDINGS
The behaviors in all five leadership practices were rated between “somewhat important” (3) and “important” (4), with the lowest average score (3.65) for Inspiring and highest average score (3.89) for Enabling. The most important leadership characteristic was supportive (81%), followed by honest (68%), dependable (63%), caring (35%) and competent (33%).

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