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A STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP PRACTICES TOWARDS TEACHERS’ INNOVATIVENESS

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International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET)
Volume 10, Issue 04, April 2019, pp. 1506-1514, Article ID: IJCIET_10_04_157
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijciet/issues.asp?JType=IJCIET&VType=10&IType=04
ISSN Print: 0976-6308 and ISSN Online: 0976-6316
© IAEME Publication
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A STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF
INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP PRACTICES
TOWARDS TEACHERS’ INNOVATIVENESS
Abd Rahim Abdul Rahman, Lokman Mohd Tahir, Mohd Fadzli Ali, Noor Azean Atan
and Sanitah Mohd Yusof
School of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
ABSTRACT
This aim of the study was to examine whether instructional leadership practices
have significant influence on teacher innovativeness. In order to determine the
significant influence, a total of 400 secondary teachers were selected as respondents
and they were asked to give their feedbacks on closed-ended questionnaires using a
five-point Likert scale. Findings of the study were presented using the descriptive and
inferential statistical analyses. Descriptively, the instructional practices among
principals were perceived as high and explaining the school missions was named as
the most frequently emphasised by the principals based on the instructional leadership
framework. However, through the teachers’ innovativeness items, teachers selfperceived their innovativeness with moderate mean scores. Inferentially, results shown
‘explain the school's mission’ and ‘encourage a positive learning climate in school’
have strong influence on teacher innovativeness.
Key words: instructional leadership; teachers’ innovativeness
Cite this Article: Abd Rahim Abdul Rahman, Lokman Mohd Tahir, Mohd Fadzli Ali,
Noor Azean Atan and Sanitah Mohd Yusof, A Study on the Effects of Instructional
Leadership Practices Towards Teachers’ Innovativeness.. International Journal of
Civil Engineering and Technology, 10(04), 2019, pp. 1506-1514
http://www.iaeme.com/IJCIET/issues.asp?JType=IJCIET&VType=10&IType=04
1. INTRODUCTION
In the era of globalisation of education, the practice of instructional leadership is considered as
relevant and perceived as contributing to the excellence of a school [1]. In 2012, to ensure the
effectiveness and sustainability of the educational system transformation, the Malaysia
Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025 was introduced by the Ministry of Education Malaysia
(MOE) to improve the quality of public schools and to reduce administrative burden of the
schools principals in order to focus on the practices of instructional leadership [2]. Within the
implementation, the principals will be coached by officers and mentors from the educational
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authorities from state and district offices. The general premise is that principals with effective
leadership values will influence teacher professionalism and academic achievement [3]. Hence,
as school leaders, principals should take on the role of administrators and instructional leaders
by improving and monitoring the progress of schools’ achievements. At the same time,
principals are encouraged to be creative and innovative in order to provide supports which were
needed as they played a significant impact towards educational innovation.
2. BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM
Initially, Latip (2007) [4] concluded from his study that school principals were unable to
excellently functioned as an instructional leader when most of them regularly passed the
instructional tasks and authority to their senior assistant. The above-mentioned finding was
supported by Ng (2010) [5] who indicated that principals least monitor on students’ academic
progress even though previous studies concluded that principals should play an effective
instructional leader in schools since their effective practice of an instructional leader claimed
to have a positive implication to the school’s academic achievement and students’ academic
success [6]. Among the academic element that principals need to emphasise is to continuously
focus on the efforts to improve teachers' knowledge and skills [7] and not just focus on routine
school administration tasks [8] based on the believe that effective school leaders are a key
factor in determining the success of a school [7,9].
Consequently, Ashikin (2009) comparative study on effective schools and ineffective
schools also found that school leaders in effective schools efficiently practiced their
instructional leadership rather school leaders in ineffective schools [10]. Previous studies
claimed that principals as instructional leaders have strong influence on the success of a school
[11] and students’ academic achievement [12]. In reality, there are various reasons why
principals ineffectively perform their duties as instructional leaders; heavy workloads,
spending most of their time on administrative matters, and discipline issues [13]. In
addition, they are unable to effectively perform their primary function to assist their teachers
since most of their time is spent on managing tiresome administrative matters [14].
As school leaders, principals need to be addressing issues, lead changes and manage
available resources effectively. In making decisions, the consequences are not only borne by
the principals, but also all the students. [15]. Thus, principals need to be innovative, creative
and sensitive to the various issues in schools. In this sense, principals performed as a catalyst
for the school’s transformation and play an essential role in the culture of innovation [16]. As
instructional leaders, principals also need to be aware of the ever-changing innovations in the
education system. Given the importance of instructional leadership practices to school little
attention is given to measure the effect of instructional leadership towards teachers’ selfperception on their innovativeness which is the main purpose of this study.
In dealing with the element of innovativeness, teachers’ innovativeness in teaching and
learning is least addressed by local researchers in local schools’ context. Data on innovation in
teaching and learning for three years (2013 to 2015) revealed that only 43 teachers’ innovations
were produced in schools and based on total number of teachers, the rate of innovation in
teaching and learning is only 0.1 per cent [42]. Based on previous studies [17, 4, 18, 19, and
20], it is indicated that principals’ practices of instructional leadership practices have strong
implication on students' academic achievement. However,
Hence, there is a need to conduct a comprehensive study on the practice of principals’
instructional leadership, teachers self-perceived on their innovativeness and lastly the
implication of instructional leadership practice on teacher innovativeness.
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2.1. Research Questions
The study aims to answer three major questions:
a) What is the most dominant instructional leadership practice among principals?
b) How do teachers perceived themselves in relation with their innovativeness in
teaching and learning at school?
c) Do instructional leadership practices have significant effects on teachers’
innovativeness in teaching and learning?
2.2. Relationship between instructional leadership with teachers’ innovativeness.
Hallinger and Heck (1998) [21] point out that globalisation in education has led to a paradigm
shift towards the quality of education and the curriculum. In response to global change, various
studies have proven that instructional leadership is important in leading their schools towards
students’ academic achievements [22, 23, and 26]. Empirically, school leaders who emphasised
on instructional leadership are instrumental in determining the academic quality and
effectiveness of the school and considered successful as a school leader [24]. Thus, as school
leaders, principals need to be creative and innovative due to the complexity of the school’s
issues, changing educational landscape and technological advancement [25]. According to
Leithwood et al. (2006) [26], the impact of instructional leadership on students’ achievements
depends largely on teachers’ mindset to change and implement reformation in teaching. Many
researchers agreed that successful principals will have positive impacts on the achievement of
their students. Studies have shown there is significant relationship between effective teacher
support and development with effective organizational management processes [25].
Nevertheless, there are limited studies on measuring the effects of instructional leadership
practice with teachers’ innovativeness. From the perspective of Austrian schools,
Heissenberger and Heilbronner (2017) [25] revealed that school leaders who frequently
practiced transformational leadership accept innovative elements positively and place
significant importance on innovation in schools. In the context of Korean vocational schools,
Park (2012) [26] conducted a study to examine the support for innovation which derived from
principals’ leadership practice based on feedbacks of 981 full-time teachers in 32 public
vocational high schools in South Korea. Findings indicated that principals’ leadership practices
significantly affect how the teachers perceive the school climate in terms of support for
innovation. In 2010, Moolenaar, Daly, and Sleegers [27] claimed that the transformational
leadership that is practiced by the school principals was positively associated with schools’
innovative climate through the feedbacks of 702 teachers and 51 principals from 51 elementary
schools. In Turkey, Sagnak (2011) [28] examined whether principals’ leadership empowerment
predicted innovative behavior and innovative climate in Turkish schools. From the perspectives
of 710 teachers and 55 principals from 55 primary schools, it was revealed that principals’
leadership empowerment behavior acted as significant predictor to teachers’ innovative
behaviors and innovate climate at Turkish schools.
3. METHODOLOGY
In this study, the instruments that have been used were the Instructional Leadership Practice
and Teachers’ Innovativeness Questionnaires. All items in both questionnaires were using the
Likert scale with five points. The five-point scale comprised with point 1 to strongly disagree
and point 5 with to agree scale. To measure the practice of instructional leadership, items from
Hallinger and Murphy (1985)’s [30] Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) and
Hallinger’s (2013) PIMRS-22 were used in this study. The PIMRS items are based on three-
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dimensional instructional leadership models comprised of these elements: define school
missions, manage instructional programs and positive school climate. In measuring teachers’
innovativeness in teaching and learning, 13 items were adapted from the questionnaire
developed by Shawn (2008) [31].
The validity and reliability values were carried out by Nor Azni, Foo, Soaib, and
Aminuddin (2014) [32] through a pilot study involving 70 teachers from three secondary
schools. As a result, the Alpha Cronbach coefficient for this instrument is 0.94. Based on the
results of Alpha Cronbach's coefficients, this instrument has the validity of content and good
reliability to quantitatively measure the quality of instructional leadership of principals in
implementing educational reforms.
3.1. Sample
This survey study involved 400 randomly selected teachers. Out of 400 teachers, 91 were male
and 309 were female teachers. From the 400 teachers, 104 teachers that participated are 35
years old and below with a percentage of 26%. Second, 71 middle-aged teachers are those aged
between 41 to 45 years old (21.5%) and followed by 86 teachers aged between 46 to 50 years’
old (21.8%), 71 teachers aged between 36 to 40 years old (17.8%), 86 teachers aged between
41 to 45 years (21.5%), 87 teachers aged between 46 to 50 years old (21.8%), 44 teachers aged
between 51 to 55 years (11%). The last group of teachers that participated are 8 teachers aged
56 years and above (2 %). In terms of the academic qualification, majority of the 329 teachers
obtained their bachelor's degree (82.2%), followed by teachers with masters’ degree (9.8%)
and small group of 32 teachers obtained their diploma or certificate of teaching (8.0%). Lastly,
based on their teaching experiences, majority of 105 teachers were experienced between 4 to
10 years (26.2%) followed 99 teachers with experience between 16 to 20 years (24.8 %), 80
teachers between 11 to 15 years (20%), 45 teachers have experienced between 21 to 25 years
(11.2%), lastly, 40 teachers experienced 26 years and more (10 %) and 31 novice teachers with
3 years and below (7.8%).
4. FINDINGS
4.1. Descriptive Statistics
Table 1: Mean scores on Instructional Leadership and teachers’ innovativeness
Instructional Leadership Practices
Explain the school vision and mission
Managing instructional practices
Encourage the positive learning climate
Overall mean scores
Teachers’ innovativeness
Mean scores
4.42
4.32
4.26
4.33
3.45
Indicator
High
High
High
High
Average
Twenty-two items involved in measuring the 400 teachers’ perceptions on the principals’
instructional leadership practices and teachers innovativeness. Within the instructional
leadership practices, results show that means score value for ‘explains the school's mission’ is
at 4.42 (high) while for the dimension of ‘managing the teaching program’ the mean score is
4.3. As for the third dimension ‘encourage a positive learning climate in schools’, the overall
mean is 4.26 (high). Thus, the overall mean scores for principals’ instructional leadership is
valued at 4.33 with high levels. As for the teacher innovativeness level, based on the thirteen
items measured in this study, the total mean score for teachers' innovativeness is at a moderate
level with a mean score of 3.45.
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4.2. Inferential Statistics
This section discusses the findings of the inferential analysis of the independent variables of
Instructional Leadership Practice (X1) which predicted teacher innovativeness (Y).
Table 2 Prediction result for Teachers’ Innovativeness from Instructional Leadership
Model
1
Constant
Explaining the school’s
vision and mission
Promoting the positive
learning climate
Unstandarised
Coefficient
B
SE
2.178
0.226
Standardised
Coefficient
Beta
t value
Sig.
9.657
0.000
0.205
0.038
0.263
5.435
0.000
0.104
0.049
0.101
2.092
0.000
Prediction results shown that only two dimensions of instructional leadership practices
predict teacher innovativeness which are ‘explaining the school's vision and mission’ and
‘promoting a positive learning climate’. This is evidenced by the dimension value describing
the school mission (β = 0.26; t = 5.435; Sig = 0.000; p<0.05) which is a significant predictor
factor to teacher innovativeness while the dimension promotes a positive learning climate in
schools has a value (β = 0.10; t = 2.092; Sig = 0.000; p<0.05). Based on the results of the above
analysis, it was found that the dimensions of ‘explaining the school's mission’ and ‘promoting
a positive learning climate’ significant dimensions within the instructional leadership practices
towards teacher innovativeness. The linear equation for teacher innovativeness is presented as
follows:
Teacher innovativeness = 2.18 + 0.20 (Explaining School’s Vision and Mission) + 0.10
(Promoting the Positive Learning Climate)
5. DISCUSSION
To summarise, findings from this study shown that secondary teachers had the positive
perceptions towards principals’ practice of instructional leadership which reflected on the three
dimensions of instructional leadership which were perceived with high mean scores. Based on
the frequently practiced instructional leadership, the most dominant dimension within the
instructional leadership practice was the element of ‘defining school missions’ followed by
dimensions of ‘managing instructional programs’ and lastly ‘providing positive learning
climate’. These findings were noted as similar with previous studies on instructional leadership
[32, 5] in which the principals of secondary schools effectively practiced their instructional
leadership practices which later enhanced teacher commitment and job satisfaction [6]. In this
context, school leaders are advised to acknowledge the importance of decision-making,
responsibility, problem solving and goal setting which require teacher intervention. In
addition, these findings support the study by Sazali, Rusmini, Abang Hut, and Zamri (2007)
[34] which concluded that teachers have positive perceptions towards the overall practice of
instructional leadership and dimension of ‘defining school missions’ are the most dominant
dimension. Why does the dimension of ‘define school missions’ more dominant than
dimension of ‘managing teaching programs’ and ‘promoting a positive learning climate in
schools’? According to Mendels [35], to produce a great leader, starts with the process of
setting goals, visions and missions that require a high commitment from all school members
and should be shared by every school members. Previous studies have also proven that
dimension ‘defining school missions’ in instructional leadership actually have a positive
impact. In this sense, Graczewski, Knudson, and Holtzman (2009) [36] found a positive
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relationship between defining school missions with effective teacher professional development
capacities.
In terms of teacher innovativeness, this study also found that majority of teachers’ renewal
and innovativeness skills are at moderate high with a mean score of 3.45. Based on these
findings, it is clear that our teachers preferred to adopt and use their innovation skills in their
teaching tasks. Thus, these findings are parallel with a statement by Roger (2003) [37] whom
explain that innovativeness will leads to the extent in which individuals tried to adopt new ideas
in their teaching process. In answering the reason why teachers’ innovativeness is considered
as average, it is believed that they received least support due to school leader’s absence from
school due to meetings and various commitments outside the school [35, 36, and 14]. As a
result, principals have little time for teaching and learning process [35, 13] let alone teacher
innovation.
Statistically, in the influence of the principals’ instructional leadership practices towards
the teacher innovativeness, the findings show that only two dimensions of instructional
leadership practice can predict teacher innovation: explaining the school missions and
promoting a positive learning climate. This is evidenced by the ‘explaining the school mission’
became a significant predictor factor to teacher innovativeness followed by ‘promoting a
positive learning climate’. Based on the statistical result, it is assumed that principals’
instructional leadership practices have influenced on teachers’ attitudes, behaviours and wellbeing as pointed by previous studies [37].
In searching why ‘explaining the school’s vision and mission’ has a positive and significant
impact on teacher innovativeness, principals and their middle-line leadership personnel are
individuals who are responsible for determining the direction and future of the school. Thus,
they always thinking on the strategies and approaches in achieving the school’s mission and
vision even thinking of translated the school’s vision into short and long-term goals which
should aligned with the education’s policies and philosophy. The assignment of these missions
and goals should be realistic and clear based on potential pupils, teachers' abilities and
competencies. A significant role in defining school missions within instructional leadership
framework towards teacher innovativeness were supported and indicated by past findings [38,
33] which the principal acting as an effective instructional leader in school has a positive
relationship with the achievement and academic success of the student.
6. CONCLUSION
For instructional leadership practice, there are three dimensions involved: explaining the school
missions, managing teaching programs and promoting a positive learning climate. Based on
the findings of the descriptive analysis, dominant practices of instructional leadership are the
dimensions of ‘explaining the school vision and missions’ followed by the dimension of
‘managing teaching programs’ and the least dominant is ‘promoting a positive learning climate
in schools’. For teacher innovativeness, overall it is at a moderately high level. Meanwhile,
regression analysis indicated that ‘explaining the school mission’ and ‘encourage a positive
learning climate at school’ dimensions to be essential predictors of improvement of teacher
innovation. In other words, principals' practices in explaining the school’s vision and missions
and ‘promoting a positive learning climate in schools’ can actually be treated as a catalyst for
teachers to increase their innovativeness in teaching at school.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This study was funded by Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), Ministry of Higher
Education and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia through the research grant
(R.J.130000.7831.4F203).
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