ERIC Number: ED215437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: N/A
The Principal's Role: How Do We Reconcile Expectations with Reality?
R & D Perspectives, Winter 1982
Principals are expected to be instructional leaders but generally lack the time and training to assume such a role. Several theories and research studies suggest alternative views of the principal's role in providing instructional leadership. Ethnographic studies of principals show that principals spend little time on evaluation, instruction, and curriculum. One researcher found that administrators at the secondary level are almost wholly concerned with discipline and leave instructional matters to the discretion of teachers. The theory of substitutes for leadership might be used to strengthen the potential for leadership in positions other than that of principal. Substitutes for leadership, as applied to education, are those factors that influence the instructional process and render formal leadership problematic. Another approach to leadership emphasizes the provision of support functions (such as supervision and technical assistance, incentives, commitment to an innovation, or monitoring of student progress) rather than the principal's role. Some researchers envision the principal as a buffer who provides resources and maintains an orderly atmosphere. They see attempts by administrators to directly supervise teaching techniques as counterproductive. Personal characteristics give few clues to leadership ability, though some studies have found that a principal's gender may have an effect on leadership style. (WD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Administrator Characteristics, Administrator Role, Discipline, Educational Anthropology, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Instructional Improvement, Management Development, Management Teams, Principals, School Supervision, Teacher Supervision, Technical Assistance
Center for Educational Policy and Management, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403 (free).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Oregon Univ., Eugene. Center for Educational Policy and Management.