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ERIC Number: ED302877
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Dec
Pages: 34
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Conversion of Teachers: Principal Influence and Teacher Autonomy.
Bratlie, Mark P.
Instructional leadership literature presents two contrasting themes: (1) the school as a loosely coupled system allowing teachers considerable instructional autonomy; and (2) the school as a culture where the effective principal uses symbolic leadership to unite the staff in a common effort to achieve the school's mission. If both themes are valid, then a grounded theory to incorporate them is needed. This qualitative research study, conducted in a small-town elementary school setting, shows how teacher autonomy and principal influence themes have been played out within a four-phase process involving teachers' conversion to a nontraditional "whole language" instructional approach. The "activist" conversion model phases are (1) the seeker/missionary interface, stressing the importance of contextual factors and hiring strategies; (2) encapsulation, stressing the principal's control of information while unfolding the nontraditional ideology; (3) implementation, stressing teacher autonomy in instructional decision-making; and (4) maintenance, stressing the principal's strategies to perpetuate the nontraditional instructional approach. Teachers exercise their autonomy by actively seeking change, seeking and sharing new ideas, making their own instructional decisions, reacting to perceived pressure, and actively participating in proselytism and other maintenance activities. The principal exercises influence by interfacing the mission with staff dissatisfaction, enhancing this interface through hiring and rotation strategies, controlling new instructional information, exercising legal and expert authority, and vigorously maintaining the whole language mission. Included are 24 references. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A