Research Proposal: Transformational Leadership the Roles

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[. . .] Nettles & Herrington (2007) examined this critical role within the educational system in their research. They held a premise that "there is ample evidence that the school principal is regarded as crucial to school success and student achievement. In particular, several decades of research on the topic has resulted in body of knowledge that details the positive relationships between the practice of school principals and student academic achievement, " (p. 729).

This literature suggests that impracticality of transformational leadership concepts in some ways. By suggesting and proving that the principal, as a controlling variable, can have a direct impact on student achievement suggests that the method of this impact is not necessarily important. Distinguishing between transformational and instructional leadership processes becomes unimportant if a principal can cut through the noise and find the appropriate response to a situation regardless of the classification. But, this approach in and of itself is transformational in many ways, as it seeks to find new and original ideas to fix a given problem. Essentially this research exposes a major flaw in the transformational leadership approach as it is too applicable. If all efforts of leadership can be classified as being transformational, the word itself loses its meaning and becomes extraneous.

Teacher's Beliefs

The role of the teacher in the processes of transformational leadership need to be better understand in order to capture the true essence of the process. Ross & Gray (2006) argued that transformational leadership works in many instances due to the impact of the teacher belief in the benefit of the process. Ultimately the authors concluded that "if may be defensible to hold principals accountable for student achievement if it can be demonstrated that principals influence achievement indirectly by creating organizational conditions through which improved teaching and learning occur," (p.813).

In this case the research argues that the impetus for student achievement may begin at a higher level within the hierarchy of the school or school district, but essentially the teacher must buy into the propaganda in order for it to work and have a direct impact on student achievement.

Bierly & Shy (2013) reinforced this idea when they wrote "What we do know from hundreds of examples nationwide is that dramatically better outcomes are possible at the individual school level even in the most challenging of educational environments. We also know that an essential ingredient behind each of these success stories is extraordinary leadership. Yet we have far too few transformational school leaders today to replicate the results that are possible at a greater scale. The reason: Most school systems fail to methodically develop talented educators into a deep bench of prospective leaders with the experience and ability to build an extraordinary school."

Efficacy Issues with Transformational Leadership

The literature extant on the ability of a transformational leadership style being adopted as being effective is very prevalent. However, there are greater questions as to how this effect is in turn having on the ability to improve student performance. Leadership styles are wide and varying and many fall into the category of "transformational," however the net value of that transformation must also be investigated to see the quality of the fruits of the labor.

Lilthwood & Jantzi (1999) asked questions in their research that involved the effects of different forms and sources of leadership. The study involved a school district with nearly 60,000 students and being confronted with a standard of expectations for change were examined. Surveys were collected from nearly 10,00 students and 1800 teachers that asked to explore the effects of transformational leadership efforts. Other important variables were included in this study such as the effect of family values, ethics, morals and socio economic indicators.

The research concluded many important factors that diminish the impact of transformational leadership on school achievement. The authors ultimately concluded that "effects on student engagement of transformational leadership practices were substantially weaker than those of family educational culture. This pattern of effects was especially strong for teacher leadership in one of our previous studies. A plausible implication of these findings is that high levels of student engagement reduce teachers' perceived needs for either teacher or principal leadership. Student engagement could be conceived of as a substitute for leadership as well as student outcome, " (p.21).

These findings can both support and deny the impact of transformational leadership on student performance. On one hand, the idea of transformational leadership is indeed to make others engaged in their own processes of learning. This is the end result. Regardless of how students become engaged in their own learning, it is a good thing. The inherent personality of each and every leader dictates that a unique style in accordance with that leaders personality, must be fully presented to achieve some levels of conviction. Transformational leadership may often be disguised as something else, including other more instructive type styles.

If student engagement is the key to ensuring successful and worthwhile change, other avenues besides leadership adjustment may be necessary. The impact of the family unit on the educational processes of the student cannot be underappreciated in terms of learning and the emotional approaches to learning. Teachers and principals, as outsiders to the family unit, must accept this role in society as complimentary in development and not primary. This attitude appears to have much merit as appropriate expectations and responsibilities are assumed by all persons involved.

Meta-Analysis

The scope and range of the impacts of transformational leadership on educational processes are very wide and not unifying in any real clear matter. Robinson, Lloyd & Rowe (2008) gathered the findings of 27 studies on the impact of leadership on student outcomes and developed new ideas of how leadership types can actually affect the strengths and weaknesses of a classroom. The research in this literature was designed to compare the effects of transformational and instructional leadership on student outcomes. Another analysis was also completed which gauged the effects of 5 inductively derived sets of leadership practices on student outcomes. These practices include: establishing goals and expectations; resourcing strategically; planning, coordinating and evaluating teacher curriculum; promoting and participating in teacher learning and development and ensuring an orderly and supportive environment.

In both of these approaches the authors concluded the same ideas. They found that "the closer educational leaders get to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely they are to have a positive impact on students' outcomes. It seems clear that if we are to learn more about how leadership supports teachers in improving student outcomes, we need to measure how leaders attempt to influence the teaching practices that matter, " (p.669).

What this means is that leadership must figure out what is most important before implementing any type of transformational leadership style. The strategic outlook for the organization is what is most important, and what matters to each organization must be finely tailored to meet expectations. The source of expectations is perhaps the bane of the struggle due to the dizzying amount of voices that contribute to the core acts of teaching and learning.

Research Questions

The information available leads the prudent researcher to dive deeper into some of the unanswered questions dealing with transformational leadership and its ability to significantly alter student achievement and quality education. In order to best understand how to eliminate some of the distortion behind some of the ideas previously discussed, new and fresh frames of minds must be developed to unearth the necessary jewels of knowledge that lie dormant within the scope of research.

The first step in clearing the air and developing new research deals with approaching the subject from a more descriptive or qualitative approach. The amount of research not only available and conducted on such terms as "achievement," "standards," "learning" and even the education system itself may need to be examined for practicality. The advances of technology have allowed information and data to fly freely and in order to gather some understanding amongst the large volumes itself is to examine the problem from an epistemological lens.

The language created in determining what is appropriate in educational professionalism is often vague and misleading and clarity is also missing. Doubling this negative effect is the problems with the idea of leadership and the special implications that transformational leadership as a branch of the subject presents. The literature quoted in this proposal suggests that the character of both the leadership and the education are of more importance than any one specific leadership style, be it transformational or instructive.

The following research questions should be used as a guide to help understand the implications of transformational leadership and its application within the educational systems:

What are the goals of the education system ?

What are the goals of the teaching profession ?

What "matters" in the learning process ?

What is leadership, and how is it applied ?

Who is responsible for learning ?

What variables also impact the way a student learns ?

The occurrence of meta analysis may be increased… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Transformational Leadership the Roles.  (2014, June 18).  Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/transformational-leadership-roles/1312202

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"Transformational Leadership the Roles."  Essaytown.com.  June 18, 2014.  Accessed April 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/transformational-leadership-roles/1312202.