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(solution) Jeremy S. Peacock Science Instructional Leadership: The Role of


Summarize the attached article. It should be at least 750 words. Max similarity is 10 %. 


Jeremy S. Peacock Science Instructional Leadership: The Role

 

of the Department Chair

 

Abstract

 

With science teachers facing comprehensive curriculum reform that will

 

shape science education for decades to

 

come, high school department chairs

 

represent a critical resource for instructional leadership and teacher support.

 

While the historical literature on the department chair indicates that chairs are in

 

prime positions to provide instructional

 

leadership, it is also clear that chairs?

 

ability to provide such leadership is limited by lack of line authority, time, role

 

conflict, and ambiguity. Yet the literature

 

and practical experience indicates that

 

department chairs can exert a positive

 

and important influence on instruction

 

and learning within high school science

 

classrooms. Drawing on a historical review of the literature on high school department chairs and on recent literature

 

in science education and instructional

 

leadership, this article presents a conceptual model of science instructional

 

leadership for high school department

 

chairs and discusses implications for researchers and practitioners. The model

 

includes four interdependent leadership

 

capabilities for science instructional

 

leaders: (1) science leadership content

 

knowledge, (2) negotiating context and

 

solving problems, (3) building a collegial learning environment, and (4) advocating for science and science education. Introduction

 

With the publication of A Framework

 

for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council [NRC], 2012) and release

 

of the Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve, 2013), science teachers

 

face a comprehensive curriculum reform

 

that will shape science education for decades to come. The Framework lays out

 

Keywords: department chairs, instructional

 

leadership, science education, high school,

 

conceptual model 36 a vision for science education in which

 

all students ?actively engage in scientific and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to deepen their

 

understanding of the core ideas in these

 

fields? (pp. 8-9). Alongside this national

 

standards movement, the state and local

 

contexts for science education are constantly shifting in response to political

 

and social pressures, economic realities,

 

student needs, and science and education

 

research findings.

 

To provide science teachers with any

 

hope of thriving in this complex environment and achieving the NRC?s vision,

 

science education leaders must provide

 

ongoing, targeted support. High school

 

science teachers strongly identify with

 

their academic departments (Siskin,

 

1994). In fact, science teachers may

 

experience a greater connection to the

 

field of science education than to local

 

school improvement issues (Melville,

 

Hardy, & Bartley, 2011), and science

 

departments represent communities of

 

science educators as much as they do organizational units of schools (Melville &

 

Wallace, 2007). As leaders within these

 

communities, high school science department chairs represent an important

 

resource for instructional leadership.

 

Unfortunately, chair leadership is underresearched and under-used in schools

 

(Weller, 2001).

 

An empirical answer to the question

 

of how chairs can effectively act as instructional leaders within their schools

 

represents a gap in the science education

 

literature. However, existing literature

 

provides a useful framework for ongoing

 

research and professional practice in this

 

area. This article (1) presents a synthesis

 

of historical literature on the high school

 

department chair highlighting the challenges, contexts, and practices of chairs

 

enacting instructional leadership and (2)

 

proposes a conceptual model of science

 

instructional leadership informed by the historical review and by the recent literature in science education and instructional leadership. Aimed at practitioners

 

and researchers, the goals of this work

 

are to enhance our understanding of

 

chairs? instructional leadership practice

 

and to highlight the role chairs can play

 

in science curriculum reform. The High School Department

 

Chair: ?A race horse with

 

plow-horse duties?*

 

While early publications were largely

 

anecdotal, a historical review of academic writing on high school department chairs dating from 1910 reveals a

 

surprisingly consistent picture of the position. Early writings, published though

 

1959, provide a useful historical perspective on the topic, while empirical

 

studies published since 1960 illuminate

 

major themes that must inform current

 

research.

 

Early Writings (1910-1959)

 

In the earliest publication found on

 

the topic, Meriwether (1910) reported

 

chairs experienced ?ambiguities and

 

inconsistencies? (p. 276) from the very

 

inception of the role. Other authors (e.g.

 

Heinmiller, 1921) described the multifaceted nature of the role, including responsibilities for pedagogy, supervision,

 

and administration. The first empirical

 

study in the field, Koch?s 1930 survey of

 

superintendents, principals, and chairs,

 

revealed qualifications, selection procedures, and compensation for chairs

 

varied widely, and he suggested chairs?

 

effectiveness was limited by ?routine

 

obligations? (Koch, 1930a, p. 263).

 

While Koch (1930b) argued a key role

 

of a chair was to ?close the gap between

 

the classroom and the principal?s office?

 

(p. 340), survey respondents reported

 

this function was severely limited by the

 

time available to visit the classrooms of

 

other teachers. Koch (1930b) concluded,

 

SCIENCE EDUCATOR ?the department headship is in confusion? (pp. 348-349) with little agreement

 

on the function of the position or the criteria for selection of chairs.

 

Authors writing in the 1940s and 1950s

 

delivered a familiar message. Invoking

 

the colorful analogy that heads this section, Axley (1947) referred to the chair

 

as ?a race horse with plow-horse duties?

 

(p. 1)* in arguing many schools failed

 

to take advantage of chairs? specialized

 

skills. Axley?s (1947) survey indicated

 

chairs were too busy with teaching and

 

?petty details? (p. 1) to focus on their

 

main function of instructional supervision and many chairs were not consulted

 

on personnel issues affecting their team

 

of teachers (Axley, 1947). After analyzing the specific duties expected of chairs,

 

Novak (1950) suggested a lack of specialized training left ?few, if any, who

 

feel equal to all of the requirements?

 

(p. 91). Rinker (1950) suggested chairs

 

should maintain simultaneous focus on

 

supporting students and teachers and on

 

links to the academic, professional, and

 

school communities while also performing clerical duties. Foreshadowing a later

 

theme, Rinker also argued chairs should

 

be advocates of change rather than protectors of the status quo.

 

These early articles preview three

 

themes that must continue to inform

 

any research on the department chair

 

position. First, chairs were expected to

 

play an important role in the ongoing

 

improvement of teaching within their

 

departments. Second, multiplicity and

 

ambiguity defined the chair?s role as they

 

were tasked with instructional improvement in addition clerical, administrative,

 

managerial, and extracurricular duties.

 

Finally, the role ambiguity mentioned

 

above, the need for specialized leadership skills, and the lack of release time,

 

appropriate compensation, and line authority severely limited chairs? ability

 

to fulfill their promise as instructional

 

leaders.

 

Empirical Studies (1960-2012)

 

Empirical research in the field began

 

in earnest with King and Moon?s (1960)

 

survey, which was the first of 11 studies of chairs? roles and responsibilities

 

SUMMER 2014 VOL. 23, NO. 1 conducted during the 1960s and 1970s.

 

Beginning in the 1980s, researchers diversified their approaches by employing

 

a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods to provide in-depth descriptions of chairs? work in schools and

 

to analyze relationships among specific

 

factors affecting chairs? leadership efforts. The school reform movement

 

that began in the 1980s also influenced

 

research topics, leading to an increased

 

focus on instructional leadership and

 

school change (Hallinger, 2005) and

 

on distributed leadership (Spillane,

 

Halverson, & Diamond, 2001). International scholars also began to take up

 

this topic with studies conducted in at

 

least nine countries outside the United

 

States. While individual studies exhibit

 

strengths and weaknesses, the consistency of findings paints a reliable portrait of the chair as a professional who

 

is asked to do too much in too little time

 

and with too few resources. However

 

beyond these limitations, several important themes emerge from the literature

 

that point to the potential for the chair to

 

act as an instructional leader in the high

 

school.

 

Barriers to leadership. King and

 

Moon (1960) concluded that while the

 

status of the role had been in flux for

 

30 years, chairs could play an important

 

role in instructional improvement. Likewise, Weller (2001) suggested ?chairs

 

are in an ideal position to facilitate instructional improvement because of their

 

daily contact with teachers and their own

 

instructional expertise? (p. 74). However, the most dominant theme in the literature highlights the barriers chairs face as

 

a result of the ambiguous and multifaceted nature of their role. Survey research

 

(e.g., Berrier, 1974; Manlove & Buser,

 

1966) conducted during the 1960s and

 

1970s revealed chairs were engaging in

 

a combination of administrative, supervisory, curricular, and instructional duties similar to those described in earlier

 

publications. According to these studies, the lack of official job descriptions,

 

release time, and authority were the

 

factors that most limited chairs? effectiveness. Verchota (1971) was the first author to invoke role theory, a perspective that would dominate department

 

chair research beginning in the 1980s,

 

in his analysis of the position. Verchota

 

concluded chairs experience role conflict

 

because they are expected simultaneously to take the narrow view of a teacherspecialist and the school-wide view of

 

an administrator-manager. Despite this,

 

Verchota found chairs exerted greater

 

influence over teachers than did school

 

administrators.

 

From 1980 through 2012, researchers published 30 studies (Table 1) on

 

chairs? general roles and responsibilities. These studies represent over 30

 

years of research in schools across the

 

United States and in four other nations

 

(i.e., Australia, Canada, Malaysia, and

 

the United Kingdom), and methods vary

 

from surveys of hundreds of educators to

 

self-studies of single department chairs.

 

Across this diversity, five themes emerge

 

clearly and consistently. First, chairs are

 

expected to carry out a variety of administrative, managerial, supervisory, curricular, and instructional responsibilities.

 

Second, chairs experience role conflict

 

as a result of their positioning between

 

teacher and administrator. Third, unclear

 

expectations and lack of time and other

 

resources lead to role ambiguity. Fourth,

 

chairs, administrators, and teachers agree

 

chairs should increase their focus on instructional improvement. Fifth, schools

 

can improve chairs? effectiveness by

 

providing release time and remuneration, delegating more formal authority, and providing targeted professional

 

learning for chairs. Even in the face of

 

these barriers, chairs can play a role in

 

instructional leadership (Anderson, 1987),

 

and existing literature can inform our understanding of the practices and contexts

 

that are important as chairs enact such

 

leadership.

 

Leadership context. Department

 

chair leadership is highly contextdependent and is influenced by chairs?

 

experience and personal qualities, teacher

 

characteristics, departmental cohesion

 

and shared vision, leadership approach,

 

subject-related issues, school administration, school and community contexts,

 

37 Table 1: Summary of Research on the Roles and Responsibilities of Department Chairs, 1980-2010

 

Reference

 

Kottkamp & Mansfield, 1985

 

Pellicer & Stevenson, 1983 ?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

? Girard, 1984 ?

 

?

 

? Shimeall, 1987 ?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

? Busher, 1988

 

DeRoche, Kujawa, & Hunsaker, 1988 Hulsey, 1988

 

Orris, 1988 Adduci, Woods-Houston, & Webb, 1990 Fletcher, 1991

 

Kaminski, 1991 ?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

? Worner & Brown, 1993 ?

 

? ?

 

?

 

Bliss, Fahrney, & Steffy, 1996 ?

 

?

 

?

 

?

 

? 38 Key Findings

 

Role conflict and role ambiguity are related to powerlessness.

 

Role ambiguity, and to a lesser extent role conflict, are also related to perceived burnout.

 

Chairs reported low rates of burnout.

 

Most districts did not have job descriptions or provide additional compensation or time.

 

Roles most often identified as important for the chair were selecting instructional materials, designing and

 

revising curriculum, assisting teachers in improving instruction, providing inservice training, and coordinating

 

the instructional efforts of the department.

 

Chairs conducted managerial, supervisory, curriculum, teaching, and administrative activities.

 

These activities led to role conflict and uncertainty.

 

The most prominent conflicts were inadequate time and remuneration, too many clerical duties, lack of

 

teacher preparation and resources, staff morale problems, and lack of support.

 

Chairs receive little release time and no secretarial help.

 

Administrative and clerical functions were perceived as most important.

 

Teacher evaluation was less important.

 

There was agreement between functions and selection criteria.

 

Chair reported reduction in role overload and positive affective results for teachers after delegating

 

departmental duties while providing appropriate support in these delegated duties.

 

Most schools did not have formal selection or evaluation procedures.

 

Most chairs did not have release time.

 

Most important perceived areas of responsibility were budgets, goals and objectives, curriculum, textbooks,

 

and scheduling.

 

Chairs were perceived as leaders in schools and in their departments.

 

Chairs would prefer more involvement in school decision-making.

 

Three factors contributed to higher role perceptions of chairs: departments of 10 or more teachers, formal

 

selection by boards of education, and annual remuneration of at least $1000.

 

Groups agreed as to how chairs spend their time, but disagreed on the amount of time spent.

 

Principals and chairs perceived chairs spent more time on tasks than did teachers.

 

Chairs spent greatest time on management and communication tasks.

 

Groups agreed that the chair role should be expanded to increase responsibilities in management,

 

communications, personnel, and curriculum.

 

Principals and chairs favored expansion of the staff development role.

 

Principals reported greater support for expanding supervision role than chairs or teachers.

 

Identified six determinants of the chair role: job description, dual functions of curriculum/instruction and

 

administration, chairs? goals, agreement by role senders, professional learning opportunities, and resources.

 

Job description, goals, agreement among role senders, and professional learning are sources of role ambiguity.

 

Functions and resources are sources of role strain.

 

Chairs spent the majority of their time on managerial tasks.

 

All groups agreed that chairs should focus more on ?encouraging, stimulating, and motivating teachers?

 

(Abstract).

 

Chairs reported that the most important competency was serving as a link between teachers and the

 

administration.

 

Chairs and teachers agreed that the least important competencies related to supervision and evaluation of

 

instruction.

 

Principals and chairs disagreed on the extent to which principals shared decision-making.

 

Principals and chairs agreed on the following major responsibilities of chairs: conducting department

 

meetings, setting department goals and objectives, selecting materials and supplies, maintaining an inventory

 

of materials and supplies, serving as departmental spokesperson, representing the department as adviser to

 

the principal, and administering the department budget.

 

Principals also identified the following three as important: ensuring departmental consistency, recommending

 

the department budget, and informing the department members of new developments in the field.

 

Principals indicated that chairs should also take more responsibility for monitoring departmental goals and

 

objectives, implementing curriculum change, developing school policies, stimulating professional growth of

 

department members, handling departmental public relations, and promoting instructional change.

 

Chairs reported the rank of responsibilities as administrative, communication, and instruction.

 

Chairs identified the roles of administrator, facilitator, instructional leader, and transitional. English and math

 

chairs were inclined toward facilitation and instructional leadership, while science and social studies chairs

 

reported more emphasis on administration.

 

Nearly one-third of chairs aspired to greater instructional leadership.

 

Teachers perceived chairs to provide moderate level of instructional leadership and reported preference for

 

chairs to increase emphasis on instructional improvement and assessment.

 

There was no clear connection between chair reported roles and teacher perceptions of IL. No connection

 

between chair roles and collegiality. SCIENCE EDUCATOR Table 1: Contd.,

 

Reference

 

R. Korach, 1996 Key Findings

 

? Chairs perceived themselves to spend more time on their role than did teachers.

 

? Teachers placed more importance than did chairs on protecting instructional time and supporting teachers?

 

professional learning.

 

W. Korach, 1996

 

? Administrators placed higher value on the supervisory role while chairs placed higher value on the

 

management role.

 

Brown & Rutherford, 1998

 

? Chairs enacted all five approaches (i.e. servant leader, organizational architect, moral educator, social

 

architect, and leading professional) in the leadership typology.

 

? Leadership is enacted within practical constraints and local contexts.

 

? The majority of chairs? time was spent on teaching, modeling good practice, and managing their departments

 

with little time left for improving teaching and learning.

 

Abolghasemi, McCormick, & Conners, 1999

 

? Chairs -principal congruence was a better predictor of teacher support of school vision than was principals?

 

visionary behaviors or structural coupling.

 

? Principals influence teachers directly, but the influence is stronger when mediated by chairs.

 

Glover & Miller, 1999b

 

? Chairs in schools whose management structures were focused on teaching and learning were more likely to

 

spend time on leadership activities.

 

? Department meetings and student support consumed almost half of chairs? non-teaching time.

 

? Many chairs were interrupted during class time to address issues or support other teachers.

 

Wise & Bush, 1999

 

? Chairs assumed a larger role in school management as a result of national education reforms.

 

? Chair decisions influenced primarily by department members, followed administration.

 

? Chairs had inadequate time to carry out all of their responsibilities.

 

Schmidt, 2000

 

? Transition from teacher to chair was characterized by negative emotions resulting from role ambiguity, feelings

 

of powerlessness, shortfalls in goal attainment, and strained relationships with teachers and students.

 

? Chairs coped with these emotions by viewing their leadership role as an extension of their teaching role rather

 

than a result of a formal title.

 

James, 2001

 

? Chairs who received release time and compensation experienced less role ambiguity, less role conflict, and

 

less concern regarding resource adequacy. They also had more positive perceptions of the chair role.

 

? There were two distinct role configurations, evaluating administrator and program improver, for chairs in

 

various schools.

 

Weller, 2001

 

? Lack of training, line authority, and voice in schoolwide decisions all limit chair effectiveness.

 

? Essential knowledge and skills for chairs include human relations, communication, leadership, group

 

dynamics, flexibility, diplomacy, teaching practices, and subject knowledge.

 

? Most did not list instructional supervision or curriculum development because of lack of time and

 

responsibility.

 

? 85% believed chairs should be more involved in curriculum and instructional improvement.

 

Collier, Dinham, Brennan, Deece, & Mulford, 2002 ? Chairs? initial expectations for the role did not match the reality.

 

? Administrative duties constituted a greater portion of chairs workload than duties related to curriculum and

 

instruction.

 

? Chairs recommended reducing their teaching load and administrative duties to free time to spend with

 

teachers.

 

? Chairs perceived working with teachers and contributing to school change as the most positive aspects of their

 

role.

 

? Chairs cited lack of time, workload, external pressures, being caught between administrators and teachers,

 

and dealing with under-performing teachers as negative aspects of the position.

 

Marotta, 2002

 

? Administrators and chairs perceived management, supervision, human relations, organization, and

 

programming all to be very important, but chairs assigned greater importance than did teachers.

 

? Principals perceived the chair role to be supervisory while teachers perceived it to be administrative.

 

Skinner, 2007

 

? The chair role is constantly enacted and negotiated and is characterized by ?complexity and contingency? (p.

 

184);

 

? The role can be characterized by the concept of heteroglossia (i.e. tensions within language that lead to

 

meaning).

 

? Reflective practice and self-study rather than fixed professional development is the most appropriate approach

 

to make sense of and improve one?s practice in the chair role.

 

Surash, 2007

 

? Chairs need skills to address vision, climate, management, community, citizenship, and larger community

 

context.

 

Onn, 2010

 

? Chairs perceived themselves to have a high competency level in interpersonal relations and moderate

 

competency levels in department administration, curriculum development, supervision and mentoring of

 

teachers, and professional development.

 

Willis, 2010

 

? Chairs identity constructed through stakeholder interactions within complex school context.

 

? Chairs functioned within the school hierarchy to serve as conduits, nurturers, department clerks, and resource

 

managers. SUMMER 2014 VOL. 23, NO. 1 39 and lack of time (James & AubreyHopkins, 2003; Ryan, 1999). Within

 

these contexts, chair leadership is dynamic and socially constructed, and

 

chairs? internal sense of authority moderates these factors (James & AubreyHopkins, 2003). Clarke (1980) found

 

teachers, principals, and chairs held

 

different expectations for chairs? supervisory behaviors and that chairs generally followed their own expectations or

 

modified them to better align to principal

 

expectations. The wider literature indicates the most salient contextual factors

 

are school leadership structure, school

 

change, and academic subject.

 

Leadership structure.

 

Existing literature indicates school

 

leadership structure is the most important factor influencing chairs? practice

 

and often contributes to role ambiguity.

 

Johnson (1990) and Glover and Miller

 

(1999a) reported school leadership

 

structure influenced how chairs balanced

 

various leadership styles (e.g., transactional vs. transformational and collegial

 

vs. managerial). Chairs tended to act

 

as initiators, rather than inhibitors, of

 

change in schools that provided appropriate professional learning and involved

 

chairs in curriculum planning and development and in school planning and

 

policy making (Glover & Miller, 1999a).

 

Johnson (1990) also found the ambiguity of chairs? dual roles as teachers and

 

administrators provided ?productive

 

tension? (p. 177) for some chairs and

 

a major challenge for others. Chairs in

 

Zepeda and Kruskamp?s (2007) study

 

practiced instructional supervision in

 

an intuitive and differentiated manner

 

because they received neither direction

 

from the school principal nor appropriate professional learning. Todd?s (2006)

 

survey of school administrators and department chairs revealed principals? and

 

assistant principals?, but not department

 

chairs?, instructional leadership behaviors correlated with student achievement. Todd (2006) suggested further

 

research is needed to determine whether

 

there is an indirect link between department chair instructional leadership and

 

student achievement.

 

40 Several researchers have concluded

 

chairs enjoy their greatest influence in

 

schools that promote distributed leadership and collegiality. Wyeth (1992)

 

found formal structures for shared decision making, delegation of authority by

 

the principal, and evaluation of teachers

 

by department chairs supported chairs?

 

influence. Similarly Brown, Boyle, and

 

Boyle (1998, 1999) concluded chairs

 

were most effective in schools with

 

collegial management structures characterized by collaboration among departments, alignment between departmental

 

and school priorities, and involvement

 

of chairs and teachers in school decision

 

making. Along with supporting chairs?

 

influence, Numeroff (2005) found collegiality reduces teacher uncertainty and...

 


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