The purpose of this study was to learn about how elementary principals conceptualized instructional leadership and whether the way they thought about leadership influenced their allotted use of time for instructional leadership. In order to answer this question, two sub-questions needed to be answered about how elementary principals conceptualized instructional leadership and how elementary principals perceived they used their time. This mixed-method study interviewed 30 principals in an urban-suburban school district in Utah to produce data. Each principal participated in a newly constructed survey of 84 questions. The survey consisted of four parts including demographics, open-ended questions about instructional leadership, and paper and pencil questions about both instructional leadership and how the principal thought they spent their time. The findings of the study showed that the principals recognized and agreed with a broad definition of instructional leadership when prompted, but they were only able to articulate a limited definition made up of between three and ten sub-concepts. Every principal's self constructed combination of the sub-concepts differed. However, when the principal's conceptualization of instructional leadership was translated into the time they spent on each task associated with that conceptualization, 68% of the responses fell into those tasks associated with the narrow definition of instructional leadership, however only 60% of their time was used for tasks associated with the narrow definition of instructional leadership. (The principals conformed their instructional leadership time to their self constructed conceptualization from 10.7% to 100% of their time.) Principals committed between 7.0-38% of their total time to instructional leadership, but the average amount of time spent on instructional leadership was 20% of their total time. Principals who had more time tasks associated with the narrow definition of instructional leadership committed more of their total time to instructional leadership. The principals who indicated that coaching, mentoring, and collaboration as the most important activities of instructional leadership spent more time doing these instructional leadership tasks than principals who said other activities were most important. The task most often associated with instructional leadership when principals self constructed their responses was "being in classrooms and evaluating teachers."
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Higginson, Mardel S., "The Relationship between Elementary Principals' Conceptualizations of Instructional Leadership and their Perceived Use of Time" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 3192.
instructional leadership, elementary principals, time use