- This study examined symbols principals used to influence teachers' behaviors and attitudes toward student academic achievement and individual development.
The researcher examined two principals in two culturally distinct settings. One school was a parochial school; the other was a public school.
A multimodal approach was used in the data collection. Though not all-inclusive, what emerged from these categorizations of symbolic leadership were five major messages. These messages related to (1) Educating the Whole Student. At St. Mary's, this meant developing the students' spirituality. At Franklin, the primary emphasis was on improving the students' self-esteem. (2) Treatment of Values. At St. Mary's, there was an intentional engagement of Catholic doctrine on every issue. At Franklin, there was a tendency to be value-neutral because of a culture of pluralistic attitudes and often times conflicting values. (3) Organizational Authority. At St. Mary's, symbols utilized by Father Riley were tools for dual legitimation of authority--as a priest and as a principal. At Franklin, authority was a product of legal and professional consensus among all educational stakeholders. (4) Successful Teaching. A successful teacher at St. Mary's was one who, in every activity, prepared the groundwork for Christian, moral development. A successful teacher at Franklin High School was one who taught from a variety of philosophies so that the students could learn to formulate their own ideas. (5) A Balance in the Classroom. At St. Mary's, Father Riley encouraged a balance between God and education. At Franklin, the notion of balance related to the appropriate mix and quality of professional activities in the affective and cognitive domains.
Based on the findings, symbolic leadership is the intentional integration and communication of a principal's thoughts, words, and actions. These integrated messages are communicated through the patterned use of words, actions, and rewards that have an impact on the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of others with whom the principal interacts.
- Dissertation Note:
- D.ED. The Pennsylvania State University 1987.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 48-10, Section: A, page: 2500.
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