|Posted on 13 October, 2012 at 6:25|
I stumbled across this reading today by Otto & Albion (2009) and reflected on its truth:
Even if “technology leadership” is a characteristic of the school community rather than an individual such as the principal (Anderson & Dexter, 2000), a strong case can be made that principals’ beliefs and understandings are crucial in the development of a school culture that will support creative integration of ICTs for teaching and learning (Otto, 2001). Understanding the nature and origins of principals’ beliefs may be the first step towards assisting principals to work more effectively to develop appropriate school visions for the integration of ICTs. Prior research, including self-efficacy theory, provides a useful starting point for developing a framework to guide such research.
Bandura (1997) defines self-efficacy as the "beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments" (p. 3). In the context of this paper, "beliefs in one's capabilities" refers to the confidence a principal has in his or her beliefs about teaching with ICTs, and "courses of action" refers to the effectiveness of the principal as a visionary and agent for change. Non-teaching principals have few opportunities to test their beliefs in a classroom over extended periods of time. While a principal may have read about teaching with ICTs and observed teachers teaching with ICTs, personal classroom experiences may be limited to print based pedagogy. Principals with low self-efficacy for leadership in respect of ICTs may be less willing to advise teachers, and their evaluation of teaching with ICT may be limited to comparisons with print based pedagogy. However, at some point, pedagogical principles for teaching with the new technologies depart from print-based learning, otherwise teachers will use the technologies in the same way they use print. This is one of the problems identified by educational commentators such as Luke (2001).
In their study of the relationship between self-efficacy and willingness to act, Dimmock and Hattie (1996) concluded that high self-efficacy is not only a factor in creating conditions for change, but also reduces principals' stress levels and enables them to cope with unfamiliar situations and challenges. As well, high self-efficacy is linked to school reform because the principal has the confidence to take advantage of new opportunities. Self-efficacy is an element of empowerment, that is, 'taking charge of ones own growth and resolving ones own problems' (Ghaith & Shaaban, 1999, p. 495). Furthermore, principals with high self-efficacy are more likely to assume collaborative leadership styles and allow participative decision making, while maintaining confidence in their influence as leaders (Dimmock & Hattie, 1996).