Principals' Perceptions of their Instructional Leadership Behaviors in Jewish Day Schools: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study
Sasson, Devorah Grosser
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This study examined principals' perceptions of their instructional leadership behavior. It incorporates a mixed-methodology and explored principals' perceptions of instructional leadership as defined by Hallinger and Murphy (1985). The perceptions of male and female principals' instructional leadership behaviors were compared. In addition, other variables were considered, such as the principal's precise role in the school (head of school, principal or assistant principal), principal type (general studies or Judaic studies), and level of education. Quantitative data were collected by the use of the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) (Hallinger & Murphy, 1985). Qualitative data were gathered by in-depth interviews using a semi-structured interview protocol. The 128 participants for this study were obtained by various Jewish day school lists as well as Azrieli Graduate School student and alumni lists. Participants who wished to be contacted for an interview indicated so on the survey. Twelve participants were interviewed for the qualitative portion of the study. Findings suggested that principals of Jewish day schools reported that they are only moderately involved in instructional leadership activities, and not to the degree prescribed by the literature. Professional development was the domain that was most frequently practiced by principals. Data indicated that women principals perceived more involvement in instructional leadership overall, particularly in the domains of maintain high visibility, monitor student progress, supervise and evaluate instruction, frame the school goals, coordinate the curriculum, and promote professional development. Furthermore, gender (or being female) predicted more perceived involvement in the overall domain of managing the instructional program as well as of the ten domains, supervise and evaluate instruction, monitor student progress and maintain high visibility. There were no perceived differences for the other variables, which included role or position of the principal, general or Judaic studies principal, and level of education. Additionally, many principals perceived other roles besides that of instructional leader.;These included community liaison, organizational manager, problem solver/firefighter, parent communicator, spiritual leader, director of student discipline and social emotional development, partner in development, and relationship manager. These myriad roles and responsibilities could potentially take time away from instructional leadership activities and their quality. Further research is needed to determine to what extent principals various roles compete with time that could be used for instructional leadership.
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