Understanding the Development of Relational Trust Through Pedagogical Leadership in an Elementary School
Committee MemberBrown, Barbara
Alonso Yanez, Gabriela
Subjectrelational trust, pedagogical leadership, practical action research, principal leadership
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe purpose of this practical action research study was to determine how relational trust was developed through pedagogical leadership in an elementary school. The study was set in a Kindergarten to Grade 4 school with approximately 700 students, in the context of a large urban school district in the province of Alberta. The study included 10 participants in Cycle 1 and seven participants in Cycle 2. Participants were self-selected leaders, formal and informal, participating in leadership learning sessions throughout the year. Data were gathered through both cycles which included documents, participant researcher field notes, survey responses, and planning agendas, and summaries from the leadership learning sessions. The following research question framed this research study: How is relational trust developed through pedagogical leadership in an elementary school? This research study, anchored in social-ecological theory, describes and documents how one principal established relational trust through a pedagogical leadership approach. The findings from Cycle 1 guided the development of the participant researcher’s action plan in Cycle 2, which lead to further findings and learnings. Five findings emerged from this study: a) committing to knowing the staff personally and professionally by prioritizing time to engage in diverse forms of communication including ongoing cycles of feedback; b) ensuring staff voices are heard through multiple key actions including decision-making processes and protocols; c) honouring learning through dedicating time for professional learning, setting goals, and ensuring all decision-making is guided by what it best for student learning; d) honouring transparency by creating a visible principal practice in matters related to accountability, expectations, and decision-making; and e) creating a leadership learning model that is open to all teachers to participate in a self-discovery process of who they are as leaders. Two key conclusions from the research are: to build relational trust, principals need to design a leadership learning model, with a pedagogical leadership approach in mind, in which all teachers are welcome to participate; and relational trust was developed during the professional learning sessions, and led to risk-taking and innovation.
CitationMcLaren, J. (2021). Understanding the Development of Relational Trust Through Pedagogical Leadership in an Elementary School (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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