Veteran Teachers’ Perceptions of School Principals’ Leadership Influence on School Culture within the Secondary School Setting
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Educational researchers have noted that school leadership and culture can play an influential role in student success and academic achievement, which is widely considered the ultimate goal of education. This influence is attributed primarily to school culture and only indirectly due to the impact of the principal’s practice. There exists a significant gap in the literature regarding the perspectives of veteran teachers on the functioning and impact of this phenomenon. The purpose of this study was to explore veteran teachers’ perceptions of school principals’ leadership influence on school culture within the secondary school setting. Eight retired teachers, each with over 20 years of teaching experience, were recruited to participate in this study due to their in-depth personal experiences with leadership and school culture throughout their careers. Two rounds of open-ended, semi-structured, individual interviews were completed to elicit participants’ experiences, observations, and opinions with respect to the phenomenon being studied. A system of Pattern coding was used to analyze responses and establish themes. Three main themes emerged from the analysis of the data: a) effective school leadership, which aligned with authentic and transformational leadership models; b) ineffective school leadership, consistent with models of irresponsible leadership; and c) factors mitigating the influence of school leadership on school culture. Practically speaking, positive leadership practices were perceived to be more influential than negative practices, teachers viewed themselves as the gatekeepers of school culture, and reduced autonomy rendered a principal’s potential influence on school culture nearly negligible. By understanding how veteran teachers perceive the leadership practices observed in past principals, future principals can be more effectively recruited and trained to lead, enact positive change in their schools, and improve student success.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/28749
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