Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Major

Adult & Higher Education

Date of Defense

8-3-2006

Graduate Advisor

John A. Henschke, Ed.D.

Committee

Cheryl L. Bielema, Ph. D.

Connie K. Koch, Ph.D.

E. Paulette Isaac-Savage, Ed.D.

Charles D. Schmitz, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine the attitudes of principals toward teachers as learners by answering the following question: Do principals understand adult learning and do they have the competencies to create the conditions for learning in school-based staff development? Three research questions and a hypothesis undergirded this overall question and supported the investigation of this question. Participants in the study included principals and teachers in grades PK-12. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, Instructional Perspectives Inventory (IPI), and Respect for Partner Scale (RPS) both revised for principals and teachers. Results were analyzed to determine the extent of relationships between variables within and between groups. Results of the study are limited to the district where the data was obtained. Results indicate there is a relationship between the attitudes of principals toward teachers as learners and what teachers as learners believe the attitudes of their principals are toward them in school-based staff development. This relationship does not contribute to creating the conditions conducive for learning in school-based staff development. A gap in the relationship exists in the areas of teacher empathy with learners, teacher trust of learners, accommodating learner uniqueness, and teacher insensitivity toward learners. This gap is defined through a comparison of responses which indicate a contradiction between what principals state they do and what teachers report principals do to create the conditions conducive for learning in school-based staff development. Principals and teachers in this district would benefit by a better understanding and implementation of andragogy which is generally not a part of coursework for principal or teacher certification. Recommendations include ongoing discussion sessions be held for principals on how to support the growth and development of teachers. Sessions should: (a) discuss the role of experience and motivation in adult learning; (b) include how to help teachers gain an understanding of and implement self-directed learning, so teachers can become actively involved in and take responsibility for their own learning; and, (c) help principals learn that questions of how, what, when, and why teachers learn, also define teachers as individuals as well.

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