Effects of the perceptions of an ethnically/racially diverse elementary school faculty upon their ethnically/racially different school principals, in the area of relationship development
The purpose of this exploratory study was to access and assess the perceptions of racially/ethnically diverse faculty in urban elementary schools of their leaders in the area of relationship development, a category of Chemers' (1993, 1997) Integrative Leadership Theory, and the framework for the study. Literature from the historical, social cultural, behavioral/psychological and perceptual dimensions of leadership and leadership theories were reviewed.
The study used interview data from a sample of thirty-four teachers from thirteen urban elementary schools in two public school districts and one parochial school district in the Midwest. In addition, the Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) and the Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire for Elementary Schools (OCDQ-RE) were used to collect data.
The interview findings suggested that European American principals differed from African American principals in their approaches to mentoring and motivating teachers, involving them in decision-making, in their performance evaluation methods, in expressing appreciation, in interpersonal interactions, and sometimes on equity and justice issues. They were similar in providing timely and regular feedback, on the need for being visible on site, and on being honest and trustworthy. Findings also revealed that some minority faculty felt that there still remained stereotypical tendencies and biases which made their principals sometimes seem to be insensitive and inattentive to their cultural needs and expectations.
The mean scores on the questionnaires seemed to suggest that the African American principals leaned more towards the consideration dimension and the European American principals towards the structure dimension on the LBDQ, and the climate at schools led by African American principals seemed to appear slightly better than those led by their counterparts as per the OCDQ-RE. The results from the questionnaires seemed to support some of the interview findings. However further testing indicated that the differences on the two questionnaires weren't significant.
School leaders need to be aware of, and deal with, the increasing racial/ethnic diversity of faculty in schools which is responsible for both the differences in faculty's needs and expectations and the perceptual differences of what leadership behaviors are acceptable and preferable for leader effectiveness today.
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education