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Abstract: This study investigated the interactive effects of supervising principals' and preservice principals' leadership styles on preservice principals' pre and post internship concerns about becoming a principal. These findings suggest that the principal's leadership style is an influential determinant of preservice principals' concerns about becoming a principal. The findings also highlight the need to closely examine the relationship between preservice principals and their supervising principals.
The purpose of the internship is to provide preservice teachers and principals with the opportunities to develop their skills in teaching and school leadership. Since 1969, numerous researchers (Fuller, 1969; Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1977, 1998; Hall & Hord, 1987) have documented preservice teachers' internship related concerns about becoming teachers. The results from their work revealed that preservice teachers depart their internship experiences with self concerns, task concerns, and impact concerns for teaching. Teacher education units have used this research to address their concerns during and after the internship.
However, no research has sought to determine if preservice principals depart their internship with self concerns, task concerns, and impact concerns about the principalship. In addition, no research has investigated the possible relationship between these concerns and the leadership styles of preservice principals and supervising principals. Therefore, this study investigated the interactive effects of preservice principals' leadership styles and supervising principals' leadership styles' on pre and post internship concerns about becoming principals. The two research questions for this study were as follows:
1. What are preservice principals' pre and post internship self, task, and impact concerns about becoming a principal?
2. What are the interactive effects of preservice principals' leadership styles and supervising principals' leadership styles on self, task, and impact concerns about becoming a principal?
The significance of this inquiry is threefold. First, many first year principals struggle with providing schools with effective leadership (Adams, 1999). These problems may be a result of a lack of focus on their concerns during the internship. Thus, the implications are to identify and address these concerns. This approach may create better prepared first year principals.
The second significant point is that preservice principals need to develop a clear understanding of their leadership style. The identification process should begin either before or during the internship. By identifying their leadership style, preservice principals will be better prepared to determine how to be effective leaders for schools. In addition, they can use the internship experiences to hone their skills for becoming needs-satisfying principals. Third, this study could bring significant attention to another dimension on the leadership influence of the principal. Deal and Peterson (1999) indicated that a principal's leadership affects every element of the school culture. Both the preservice principal's leadership style and internship are a part of the school culture. The principal's leadership style would presumably impact the nature of the internship experience for preservice principals. This study, however, could indicate that either or both the supervising principal's leadership and preservice principal's leadership influence the preservice principal's internship related concerns regarding the principalship. Such findings would provide school districts and principal preparation programs with more insight on how principals and preservice principals influence preservice principals' concerns for leading schools.
Transformational and Transactional Leadership
Many theorists have discussed the differences between transformational leadership and transactional leadership (Bass & Avolio, 1997; Burns, 2002; Einstein & Humphreys, 2001). One critical difference lies in how transformational leaders and transactional leaders view their relationships with the people (Burns). Whereas the people oriented transformational leader has followers, the task oriented transactional leader has subordinates (Einstein & Humphreys).
According to Burns (2002), transactional leaders care about the subordinates following orders and getting the job done. As such, these school leaders use rewards and punishments to set expectations for their organization. Transformational leaders, however, see people as being motivated through a shared vision and commitment to organizational goals. Because of their commitment to relationship-building, they focus on cultivating trust, respect, and empowerment within the organization (Burns).
In 1969, Fuller theorized that preservice and inservice teachers experience stages of self, task, …