Task and rapport skills displayed by principals in face-to-face interactions with teachers



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One of the most frequent and significant activities of the principal in the public school is to interact on a face- to-face basis with a variety of persons, including his/her subordinates, the teachers. This study used videotapes of principal-teacher interviews to analyze two facets of such interactions: (a) behaviors that manage, structure, and conduct the business of the interviews (task behaviors); and (b) behaviors that deal with human relations and personal- supportive aspects of the interviews (rapport behaviors). The rates of task and rapport behaviors were related to teachers' and independent experts' judgments of the effectiveness of the interviewers. The first eight hypotheses predicted relations among frequency of principals' task and rapport behaviors, principals' experience (measured in years), teachers' experience (measured in years), and the gender of principals. Two hypotheses emphasized the comparative frequencies of task and rapport behaviors emitted by principals in relation to principals' experience and the two ratings of effectiveness. Three hypotheses denoted relationships between the variability of task and rapport behaviors across the interviews and the two ratings of effectiveness. Two hypotheses predicted that the ratings of effectiveness would relate to overall frequencies of task and rapport behaviors. The last hypothesis predicted that, as teachers gained experience, they would become more like the independent experts in their ratings of effectiveness of interviewers. Thirty-two principals from suburban schools in the Houston area interviewed one teacher each (a stranger) for at least 10 minutes. Topic, length, and procedural rules were assigned to the interviewers. Trained coders noted the occurrence-nonoccurrence of 7 categories of task and 7 categories of rapport behavior during each 15-second segment of the first 10 minutes of each interview. Paired intercoder agreement on judgments of behavior by intervals exceeded 80% throughout the study. After each interview, the teacher filled out the Counselor Effectiveness Scale as a measure of effectiveness of the interviewer. Two independent experts viewed the videotapes and provided a single global rating of effectiveness for each interviewer. [...]



School superintendents, School principals, Teacher-principal relationships