Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Investigating Teacher Trust towards Principal in High Performing Schools: Comparisons on Teacher Demographic Profiles

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Investigating Teacher Trust towards Principal in High Performing Schools: Comparisons on Teacher Demographic Profiles

Article excerpt


This study examines whether teachers in the high performing schools have high levels of trust towards their principal. The study also compares differences in teacher demographic profiles based on their teaching experiences, academic qualifications, age, types of schools and gender. A total of 250 teachers from five selected high performing schools were randomly selected based on teacher trust levels. The study used Tschannen-Moran's (2004) model of trust as instrument, which included benevolence, reliability, competence, honesty and openness as facets of trust. The findings reveal that generally teachers in high performing schools agree to their principals showing these five facets of trust at a high level. Openness facet places the highest level of trust, followed by reliability. On the other hand, facets of benevolence exhibit the lowest level of teacher trust onto principal. Furthermore, the findings unveil significant difference between the premier types within the sub-urban school in the sampled schools. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are also addressed.

Keywords: trust, high performing schools, teacher demographic profile, principal, ANOVA

1. Introduction

Recognizing the needs for quality schooling system, the Prime Minister of Malaysia had outlined improving students' outcomes as one among six initial National Key Result Areas (NKRA) in 2010. In attempt to support this objective, the Ministry of Education (MoE) Malaysia introduced the "New Deal" Initiatives (bai'ah) for principals and teachers and as an incentive for schools with achievements exceeding given quality targets. This allows schools autonomy and accountability to innovate their management system and to realign their strategies to ensure student success, thereby producing quality and effective schools (MoE, 2012). This indeed entails on school principals and head teachers as they are crucial in enhancing the professional development of teachers in schools. School leadership must play their significant role in achieving the educational goals and objectives (Brundrett, 2013; West Burnham, 2013). Evidently, teachers' role in attaining the national objectives is pivotal. Teachers are key in determining the direction of schools, solving problems, overcoming challenges in the face of fulfilling the demands of National Education Blueprint (Education Policy, Research and Development Unit [EPRDU], 2006). Teachers are the implementers of educational policies in classroom settings. Therefore, collaboration and trust between teachers with school leaders are seen as an essential 'lubricant' for interaction (Fukuyama, 1995) in the school context (West Brunham, 2013).

With the existence of trust among the two key personnel in schools, educational goals can be achieved. In schooling context trust is able to glue both parties for collaborative efforts and creation of pro-active work culture (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2003). Tschannen-Moran (2004) and Leithwood et al., (2010) believe that element of trust is an essential element that is capable of linking teachers with principals. The existence of trust enables group improvement cohesiveness, and consequently enhancing student achievement (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, 2004). Byrk and Schneider (2002) and Byrk et al., (2010) define trust as a 'moral' resource' able to bond teachers and school leaders. The amount of trust principal put on teachers and vice versa is central in creating a conducive, supportive and positive work environment (Hoy, Hoy, & Kurz, 2008; Davies & Davies, 2013). The assumption is that, if the teachers felt that they are being trusted by the principal, they would be inspired to do their best in relevant tasks towards students' academic achievement (Hoy, Gage, & Tarter, 2006; Hargreaves & Fink, 2006).

Even though trust is categorized as an essential element in creating harmonious learning environment, previous studies report cases of breach of trust occurring in school settings. …

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