ERIC Number: ED409628
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
The Elementary School Principal's Influence on Teachers' Curricular and Instructional Decisions.
Larsen, Marci L.; Malen, Betty
Within the research on teacher planning and decision making the principal is seldom mentioned as a key shaper of teachers' curricular and instructional decision making. This paper presents findings of a case study of two elementary school principals. The study examined the congruence between principals' aims and teachers' decisions; the statements regarding who or what influenced teachers' actions; and the principals' efforts to influence teachers' decisions. The theoretical framework was based on Blase's political perspective (1991) and Mazzoni's power-influence framework (1992). Data were obtained through questionnaires, documents, and interviews with 10 teachers and 2 principals in the two elementary schools. The findings show that one principal had a direct, visible influence on teachers' decisions and that the other principal showed considerably less direct influence. Teachers' curricular and instructional decisions were contingent upon a web of five interrelated factors: (1) the clarity of the principal's goals and his or her capacity to communicate and connect them to action; (2) the principal's awareness of resources; (3) the principal's motivation to deploy resources; (4) the principal's skill at employing and combining strategies; and (5) a setting conducive to principal influence. Principal influence is thus a conditional, reciprocal phenomenon. Finally, the political perspective and the power-influence framework are essentially valid and valuable tools for exploring principal-teacher interactions. (Contains 30 references). (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).