Leading in science: Teachers' perceptions of their principal's supervisory effectiveness

Lois Siederer Barish, Fordham University

Abstract

This study attempted to discover if a correlation existed between a principal's academic background and their ability to lead science instruction. In the quantitative section of this study over 100 science teachers, working for administrators both with and without science backgrounds, were surveyed to determine if there were any significant differences in teachers' perceptions of their science trained and nonscience trained principals insofar as their ability to lead and support science instruction. In the qualitative section of this study several principals, both with and without science backgrounds, responded to interview questions designed to assess their role in science instructional leadership.^ The statistical analysis of the survey responses showed correlations between two of the hypotheses. The hypothesis predicting that science teachers who reported having principals with greater administrative knowledge would indicate a greater deal of satisfaction was supported by the data. The hypothesis that predicted that science teachers who reported having principals who encouraged professional development would indicate a greater degree of satisfaction was also supported. The hypothesis that science teachers would indicate greater support from principals having a background in science that those without this background was not supported by this study.^ The qualitative section of this study revealed differences in the responses of science trained versus nonscience trained principals. Science trained principals were more involved in the hiring of new science teachers, were more active in observing and evaluating science teachers and revealed more interest in making improvements to the science curriculum. Science trained principals were more familiar with the laboratory requirement issues that faced their science teachers in terms of both time and equipment needs. Although all principals interviewed used their academic strengths to lead their science departments, science principals expressed a greater understanding of the unique issues facing science teachers. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Lois Siederer Barish, "Leading in science: Teachers' perceptions of their principal's supervisory effectiveness" (January 1, 2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3302112.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3302112

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