The perceived role of the elementary school principal in curriculum development

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Zaccaria, Arthur F., 1935-
Nesper, Paul W.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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This study had three purposes. The first purpose dealt with identifying the major role of the elementary school principal in curricular development as reported in professional literature. The second purpose was to determine if those curricular development practices reported in the literature were utilized in actual practice by selected elementary school principals on a self-reporting instrument. The third purpose determined the degree to which the principals considered the practices sound. The research design used in this study included the following procedures: (1) identifying the major role of the elementary school principal in curricular development; (2) selection of the school corporations to be studied; corporation; (4) preparation and refinement of the data gathering instrument; (5) data gathering activities; and (6) treatment of the data.School corporations with total student populations of two thousand or less were identified through The Report of Statistical Information for Indiana School Corporations, School Year 1967-68. School corporations with more than elementary school principal in a relatively small district was the prime focus of the investigation. There were 91 school corporations in the State of Indiana that had total student populations of two thousand within each corporation having the vertical organizationof K-6, 1-6, K-5, and 1-5 as identified in The Indiana School Directory. In order to assure that only elementary principals participated in the study, any elementary school that deviated from the K-6, 1-6, K-5, or 1-5 structure was excluded from the study. A printed questionnaire was sent to 169 elementary school principals in the State of Indiana. Of this number, 136 usable questionnaires were returned. This represented 80.5 per cent of the total population. Based on the findings of this study, the following conclusions have been reached.Elementary school principal conferences with the faculty on ideas and suggestions of curricular areas to be studied were a common occurrence in most schools. Teachers, however, were not provided with released time to work on two thousand students were excluded because the role of the or less. The study was limited to elementary schoolsacademic curricular areas. There was little agreement among principals that released time for teachers to work on curriculum was a worthwhile practice. Elementary school principals were seldom involved in reworking courses of study or curriculum guides. Many principals questioned the soundness of the practice since it added very little to the improvement of instruction. Elementary school principals report that they are serving the needs of teachers by acting as resource persons in the classroom.There was little indication that principals were encouraging teachers to make visitations inside or outside the school in order to observe various teaching methods.Elementary school principals favored providing an educational program for the exceptional child. Conducting weekly visits to classrooms should enable principals to become better acquainted with on-going programs being developed in the classroom.Workshops are an effective means of increasing the teaching skills of teachers. It should be the principal's responsibility to provide the necessary motivation for in-service workshops.There appears to be agreement toward delegating more responsibility for the amelioration of instruction to the building principal. The principal is more likely to be effective if he is perceived as symbolizing the values and purposes of the teachers he leads.To be an effective leader, the principal must be knowledgeable about the range of leadership behavior available, the primary responsibilities of his forces influencing his actions. According to the research, the better the principal understands those factors, the more accurately he can determine appropriate leadership behavior.If teachers perceive that they are influential in the curriculum decision-making process, this will increase the likelihood of curriculum implementation. A cooperative process involving teachers should be characterized by a concerted effort by principals to solicit actively and consider seriously the opinions of classroom teachers.