Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Dr. Arthur Shapiro, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. William Benjamin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Steven Permuth, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Patricia Daniel, Ph.D.


Leadership, Teachers as Leaders, Teacher Affect, Decision Making


This research described and analyzed a single-site case study of an elementary school of 930 pupils, pre-kindergarten through grade five. The six and one-half-year longitudinal study examined teacher's perceptions of both constructivism as an educational organizational change model and of developing a constructivist philosophy in an entire elementary school. The study examined the background and steps that evolved throughout the reform process.

Specific constructs most frequently appearing in the literature relating to developing an organization were studied: (a) philosophical foundations, (b) change, (c) perception, (d) leadership, (e) teachers as leaders and (f) affect. Research on teachers' perspectives examined key elements relating to the role of teachers in developing and sustaining constructivist reform efforts. The triangulation process produced similar constructs.

First, teachers' two-year reflections provided insight into how teams and individual teachers worked to improve and sustain the constructivist culture. Second, teachers voluntarily participated in focus groups centering on teachers' perceptions and insights concerning creating a constructivist school. The last came from the Principal-researcher's six and one-half years of written chronicles.

Emerging from the research, first, were three dimensions of leadership: (a) support of teachers, (b) teachers' feeling appreciated, (c) providing a professional work environment; and next, six dimensions of teachers' as leaders: (a) collaboration, (b) trust building and forming relationships, (c) asking for help and receiving it, (d) the value of understanding personality styles, (e) the value of a positive attitude, and (f) taking on leadership roles.

Implications follow:

1. Constructivism can be used as an educational organization change model to reform an entire elementary school and implement a constructivist philosophy and practices.

2. Teachers believe that standardized test scores can increase from teaching constructivistically.

3. A philosophical maintenance plan is necessary to continue the process.

4. It is crucial to recognize the importance of teachers’ perceptions in creating an organizational culture with constructivist educational practices.

5. Teachers must feel appreciated, valued and recognized, an affect dimension.

6. The role of Principal is pivotal. The principal must believe in, and model constructivism.