High School Teacher Perceptions of Empowerment

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Virginia Tech

As the responsibilities of principals become more complex and as accountability becomes more evident in K-12 cultures, it becomes increasingly important that high school principals be trained to empower teachers. This paper examined the research concerning the conditions of the empowerment of teachers. More specifically, it measured high school teachers' perspectives concerning their levels of empowerment by their principals based on the four domains of empowerment: meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact. This quantitative study was designed to answer three questions. First, how do high school teachers perceive their level of empowerment by their principals based on the four school conditions of empowerment: principal training, principal leadership, teacher leadership, and school culture? Second, what are high school teachers' perceptions of the degree to which they are empowered based on their understanding of the domains of empowerment: meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact? Third, how do the conditions of empowerment relate to the domains of empowerment? The study modified an existing survey developed for measuring the level of empowerment of workers in corporations. The survey was used in this study as the basis for determining the perceived level of empowerment of high school teachers in three schools in a Mid-Atlantic suburban/rural school division. Analysis of the responses revealed that school culture was rated significantly higher than the other three empowerment conditions. High school teachers rated themselves significantly higher in the meaning and competence domains of empowerment. None of the four domains of empowerment related significantly to the meaning domain. The principal training condition was the only domain significantly related to the competence domain, and the condition of school culture was significantly related to self-determination. Additionally, the teacher leadership condition was significantly related to the impact domain only.

Empowerment, Empowerment Domains, High School, Principal Leadership, Teacher Leadership, School Culture, Principal Behaviors, Principal Training, Teacher Perceptions of Leadership