Details of Thesis

Title Making “Magic”: an exploration of the relationship between teacher leadership and boys’ academic motivation in the Year 8 classroom at a Catholic school
Author McGoran, Neil Alexander
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2005
Abstract This research explored the understandings and perceptions of teacher leadership in the Year 8 classroom, as expressed by teachers and students at a Catholic school, and the relationship between this leadership and boys’ academic motivation. The researcher assumed that the classroom is an organisation (Cheng, 1994) where all teachers, perhaps even unknowingly (Crowther, 1996), exercise leadership and, furthermore, that this leadership results in positively influencing boys’ willingness to learn. The research was targeted at Year 8, the first year of high school in South Australia, because academic motivation is considered most problematic during and after transition into high school (Maehr & Midgley, 1991). The research was interpretivist, with symbolic interactionism as the theoretical perspective. The methodology adopted was case study, and data were collected using: a) Focus group interviews with eight members of the Year 8 ‘core’ teaching team on issues pertaining to teacher leadership in the classroom and how this positively influences boys’ academic motivation. b) A survey questionnaire about academic motivation, distributed to thirty-nine specially identified Year 8 students. c) Interviews with five key Year 8 student informants about teacher leadership and its impact on boys’ academic motivation. Data were analysed using a “general analytic strategy” (Yin, 1994, p.102), which included the adoption of a method of “successive approximation” (Neumann, 1997, p.427). Five categories of teacher leadership in the Year 8 classroom were identified: service; authenticity; transformation; empowerment; and community. The research also established that each category involves an array of qualities that help teacher leaders strengthen relationships in the classroom, and a set of actions that enable teacher leaders to help boys complete classroom tasks. Further, results indicate that by strengthening relationships and supporting boys to complete tasks, teacher leaders positively influence boys’ academic motivation. In addition, the research presents a framework for understanding and discussing the relationship between teacher leadership and boys’ academic motivation. This framework draws attention to the relational qualities and task specific strategies in each category of classroom leadership that positively influence boys’ academic motivation.
Thesis 01front.pdf  70Kb
02chapters1-6.pdf 1,410Kb
03appendices  7,668 Kb

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