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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Kimberly St. Martin
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology
Title: The Knowing-Doing Gap: The Influence of Teacher Feedback in Changing Principal Behavior—A Mixed Methods Study
Dr. Patricia Reeves, Chair
Dr. Van Cooley
Dr. Sharon Dodson
Date: Monday, October 4, 2010 10:00 a.m. - Noon
3310 Sangren Hall
This mixed methods study attempts to determine how a system of regular feedback from teachers on principal’s work impacts the degree to which two principals incorporated the 21 Leadership Responsibilities into their daily practice. Since principals are on the front line of school reform, even when a school commits to an improvement effort that is well-grounded in research, such as Response to Intervention (RtI), the principal plays a key role in leading the change of adapting the school processes, culture, roles and responsibilities, norms, and systems to support implementation. To play this role effectively, the principal often finds it necessary to examine and adapt his or her own practices and make adjustments in attention and focus. Marzano, Waters, and McNulty’s (2005) meta-analysis of the research on principal responsibilities identifies 21 distinct responsibilities for areas of principal focus and attention that correlate with both improved student outcomes and leading the process of second order (deep) change. Two principals received three months of feedback from their teachers from a feedback instrument, entitled “Balanced Leadership Profile,” that was designed around the 21 leadership responsibilities and served as the basis for how principals would begin to focus their time and attention. This study examined how a systematic and repeated process of feedback from teachers to principals pertaining to their demonstration of the 21 Balanced Leadership Responsibilities a) assists principals in identifying areas for attention to or adaptation of their daily practice; b) how principals make sense of that feedback; and c) the decisions principals make regarding changing or adapting their practice, attention, and focus based on their teachers’ feedback. This study illustrates how principals respond to teacher feedback with deeper reflection on their practice, focus, and attention. The principals who received monthly feedback for three months on the Balanced Leadership Profile demonstrated a deeper questioning of their own work, an interest in understanding any differences between how they and their teachers assess their work, and an interest in isolating areas for greater attention, focus, and even change in practice.