Relationships among teachers' personality, leadership style, and efficacy of classroom management

Michael Clyde Burkett

Abstract

In this study, research examined a possible relationship between a teacher's leadership style, personality, experience, certification, and efficacy of classroom management. Six hundred high school teachers were given questionnaires to complete to report their leadership, personality, and classroom management preferences. These teachers were chosen by a random online search for schools in southern Mississippi. Of the questionnaires sent to the teachers, 151 (25%) were returned and analyzed. Three main instruments were used to conduct this study. For leadership, a teacher's leadership style was measured using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. While the instrument measures transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles, only transformational leadership was studied. Transformational leadership was included because it describes leaders as leading by example and building trust between themselves and their followers, both of which are suggested practices for effective teaching (Caldwell, 2008; Jones, 1989; Marzano & Marzano, 2003). To study personality, the Big Five Index was used. This instrument was designed to test the Five Factor Model which measures personality based on five overarching factors which contain several specific personality traits each. These factors are extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness. Extraversion relates to how outgoing and talkative a teacher is, openness is about being creative and receptive to new ideas, conscientiousness is about following rules, neuroticism pertains to negative emotions such as stress and anxiety, and agreeableness deals with how well a person gets along with others. Classroom management can be considered to be the efforts made by the teacher to oversee learning, student interaction, and behavior (including discipline) (Martin, 1995). To measure for classroom management, the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale was used. It measures the degree to which a teacher believes he is effective in handling classroom management. Small, but significant relationships were found between transformational leadership, the personality factors for openness and conscientiousness, and efficacy of classroom management. No statistical relationship with efficacy of classroom management was found with experience, certification, and extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism factors. These results may indicate a need to better provide classroom teachers with leadership training in order to provide a better learning environment.