Secondary Education Teachers
To examine the extent students perceive their teachers to be credible leaders
in the classroom and to determine the extent to which variations in students' reported
mathematics anxiety levels are related to their perceptions of their teachers' leadership
practices in high school mathematics classrooms.
Data were gathered from 13 mathematics teachers, and 445 high school
mathematics students using the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and Suinn's (1988)
Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale for Adolescents. A Teacher Information Form,
consisting of six open-ended questions, was also completed. The research sites were a
public high school in New York and one in Connecticut, and all of the mathematics teachers at both schools voluntarily participated.
The teachers consistently considered themselves to be within the
moderate to high range (in terms of percentile scores against the normative sample
database) for each of the five leadership practices, indicating that “teachers perceived
themselves to be effective leaders in the classroom” (p. 101). However, compared to
perceptions of their students, 100% of the teachers were seen in the low to moderate range
for each of the five leadership behaviors. Students who perceived their teachers to be
challenging the process and inspiring a shared vision in the classroom were more likely to
report higher levels of mathematics anxiety. No significant relationships were found for
enabling, modeling, or encouraging.
“The results of this study indicate that teachers, as leaders in the classroom, are not
perceived to be credible leaders by their student constituents. Furthermore, students who
perceived their teachers to engage in the leadership behaviors of challenging and inspiring
were more likely to report higher levels of mathematics anxiety in the classroom. This
finding suggests that there is a significant relationship between students' perceptions of
their teacher's leadership behavior and students' reported anxiety levels” (p. 128).