Principal leadership communication strategies in high- and low-socioeconomic schools
AuthorSmith, Barbara Ann Sims
AdvisorQuinn, David M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEducational reform movements have dominated educational arenas for decades. The public is demanding higher achievement of students and guarantees of equal opportunities and success for all. Many educational studies and articles document changes that need to occur, such as the implementation of high academic standards, effective teaching methodologies and leadership practices that support change. Some studies analyze how specific subgroups, e.g., race and gender, are influenced by the many educational reform movements across the nation, directed by local, state and federal entities, but few analyze how social class differences impact student achievement and future success. Even less scrutinize the specific behaviors used by educators that typically occur with different levels of social class, demonstrating unequal opportunities for students. This study utilizes specific and effective communication attributes used with teachers working with students from middle level socioeconomic backgrounds documented from another study and compares the findings to the same specific communication attributes used by school principals with their staff members during staff development meetings. The specific communication attributes are external and internal standards of authority, present versus future role orientation, cognitive skills and achievement, and verbal presentation skills. This study qualitatively examines the relationship of two principal-leaders working in middle schools with very different social class demographics. The study analyzes the types of communication attributes and behaviors commonly used by each principal during staff development meetings. The leader from the higher socioeconomic school consistently uses communication attributes that reinforce high expectations and effective techniques that promote problem-solving, critical thinking and self presentation skills. These specific communication attributes may serve as a learning model for teachers that may transfer to more effective classroom practices with students. The study also examines the characteristics and influences of social dominance in educational settings, effective leadership practices and the understanding of organizational culture, and how all of these foci illuminate the overall success of a school. The results of this study provide insight into how educational practices need to consider the knowledge of socioeconomic status and how this information can be used to establish more effective training opportunities for educational leaders.
Degree ProgramGraduate College