Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
College of Education
David C. Virtue
During the past four decades, state and federal education policy in the United States has focused on standardization and increased accountability. In contrast, education researchers advocate elevating the status of teachers through the professionalization of education. Teacher leadership is a concept that is used to reform schools and increase student achievement. The high school department chair is a formal teacher leadership role in the school hierarchy. Because research indicates that a majority of social studies teachers are male, female social studies department chairs are in a position to lead predominantly men.
A gap exists in the research on social studies teacher leaders. My study investigated the intersection of teacher leadership, social studies, department chairs, and gender leadership styles. Using grounded theory, I conducted a comparative case study to understand the experience of female social studies teacher leaders serving a department chairs in public high schools. Particularly, I wanted to understand how female teacher leaders serving as social studies department chairs define the concept of leadership and demonstrate the characteristics of teacher leadership. Also, I wanted to understand how female teacher leaders serving as social studies department chairs negotiate leading teachers in a potentially masculine department within schools.
This study revealed how female social studies teacher leaders defined leadership through the lens of their context. In addition, female social studies teacher leaders demonstrated teacher leadership characteristics influenced by the organizational structures of their schools and districts. Furthermore, this study indicated that female department chairs purposefully transitioned between masculine leadership styles and feminine leadership styles using their own position in the organizational hierarchy as the pivot point. Female social studies department chairs interacted with educators at or below their position in the hierarchy utilizing feminine leadership qualities; yet interacted with educators above their position in the hierarchy utilizing masculine leadership qualities.
Eargle, J. C.(2016). How Female Social Studies Department Chairs Navigate Their Roles As Leaders. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/3912