For the past decade, the Quebec school system has been engaged in a modernization of educational services focused on student success.
In this context, school principals face a particular challenge regarding the management of educational activities within their school. Given the obligations involved in the application of certain aspects of this reform, their job could prove to be more difficult from now on. As a consequence, it is important to examine their professional situation, taking into account the conditions under which the reform is implemented in their school.
The principals consider themselves to play a very active role in the management of educational activities.
This research attempted to answer three main questions: how do teachers and principals perceive the management of educational activities in their school? Is the management of educational activities linked to the characteristics of the administrators and students, school operations and the conditions under which the reform is implemented? Finally, how do teachers and principals evaluate the implementation of the reform?
One result of the research shows that teachers feel the frequency of educational management activities performed by their principals to be extremely variable, and that the intensity of the interventions varies according to the field of management. The principals consider themselves to play a very active role in the management of educational activities and report that they intervene more often when it comes to supporting at-risk students, collaborating with parents and supervising teachers.
Furthermore, the more positive teachers feel the work climate in their school to be or the more satisfied they claim to be with their professional situation, the more active they report their principal to be in the management of the school. These results suggest that the level of visibility and engagement of the principal could contribute to improving the quality of relations between members of the school staff and their feeling of wellbeing.
Finally, school principals are more positive than teachers about the implementation of various aspects of the reform, but are extremely divided when it comes to evaluating the impact of the new training program on educational success. In their opinion, professional engagement on the part of the teachers and ongoing training are determining factors in the success of implementing a reform in the school.
Pierre Lapointe, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: December 2009