Transformational Leadership Practices in Curriculum Implementation (Environmental Education) in Secondary Schools in Siaya County, Kenya
European Scientific Journal April 2018 edition Vol.14
Transformational Leadership Practices in Curriculum Implementation (Environmental Education) in Secondary Schools in Siaya County, Kenya
Ursulla A. Okoth 0
0 University of Nairobi , Kenya
Leadership practices promote accomplishment of goals in organizations. This paper focuses on the application of transformational leadership practices: Idealized influence, Inspirational motivation, Intellectual stimulation and Individualized consideration in curriculum implementation, Environmental Education (EE). The sample consisted of 183 teachers randomly selected from 30 secondary schools in Siaya County. A questionnaire was used in a descriptive survey research. The findings using the selected indicators were that head teachers: strived towards the collective goal of fulfilling a vision and were positive role models; had trust of teachers' ability; made decisions all the time; encouraged students to work hard; and organized meetings with other schools to achieve subject objectives.
Leadership practices; curriculum implementation; Environmental Education; Kenya
For any educational programme to succeed, there must be effective
leadership and instruction. The instructional leadership functions include
setting academic standards, providing incentives for learning, and providing
incentives to teachers. The head teachers promote teachers’ sense of efficacy,
sense of community, professional interest and development, and instructional
improvement. Good education leaders keep students’ learning at the centre of
their work no matter what task or activity they undertake (Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2002). Instructional
Leadership and curriculum development is the core function of the head
(Hallinger & Murphy, 1986; Edmonds, 1979)
. Head teachers
determine how to implement standards and decide on what to emphasize and
what to omit (Wolf, Borko, Elliot, & McIver, 2000).
Studies have been carried out to investigate leadership behaviour that
enhances academic achievement and curriculum implementation. In the
1990s, leaders were expected to bring about transformational leadership which
was seen as a superior mode of leading. This article presents transformational
leadership theory as a basis for effective implementation of curriculum
(Environmental Education, EE) in secondary schools. Although EE is infused
in other subjects in secondary school curriculum, it is important that the
essence of keeping a healthy environment for sustainable development is
upheld (KIE, 2002).
1.1 Transformational Leadership
Transformational Leadership Theory refers to a process of change in
individuals. The term was first used by Downton in 1973 and later advanced
by Burns in 1978 as a leadership approach. According to transformational
leadership theory, the leader and followers engage in a mutual process of
raising one another to higher levels of morality and motivation
By raising appeal to higher ideals transformational leadership theory,
transformational leadership enables the leaders and followers to focus on
intangible qualities such as vision, shared values and ideas which provide
common ground for the change process. Transformational leadership is based
on personal values, beliefs, and qualities of the leader which include charisma.
According to Bass (1985), followers are influenced to trust, admire, and
respect the leader.
1.2 Weaknesses of Transformational Leadership Theory
Unlike alternative leadership practices, the use of charisma in
educational institutions may evoke strong emotions causing concern about
moral and ethical issues of the leader
. Dependence on the leader’s
abilities as the yardstick by which followers measure their own performance
is deceptive and has a high potential of being abused or causing leadership
(Daft & Marcic, 2006)
. Transformational leadership can be
undemocratic and elitist, but Bass and Avolio (1993) argued that
transformational leaders can be participative. Transformational leadership is
interpreted as a personality trait and fails to occur along a continuum as it
covers many parameters
. This implies that it is dependent
on one individual, the principal of the school.
1.3 Strengths of Transformational Leadership Theory
Transformational leadership model grounded on moral foundations would
result in idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation,
and individualised consideration required in an effective instructional leader.
Daft (2008) contends that transformational leadership brings about significant
change in both followers and the organisation. The followers are inspired
through increasing awareness of task, focusing on team goals, and activating
the higher order needs. Transformational leadership in a school set-up
develops followers such as teachers into leaders, elevates followers’ concerns
from lower level needs to higher needs, inspires followers to go beyond their
self interest for the good of the community, and points a vision of a desired
future state and communicates change well.
Transformational leadership is widely researched and conforms to
society’s belief that leaders should provide a vision. Transformational
leadership focuses attention on needs, values, and growth of followers; hence,
it values the commitment and capacities of organizational members
(Leithwood, Jantzi, & Steinbach, 2000)
. Transformational leadership shows a
marked departure from a top-down management approach, including deeper
targets for more sustainable change and a shift from managerial or
transactional relationships with the staff
. This approach re
aligns managers to involve employees in decision making and creating
partners which promotes positive attitudes and superior desires leading to
acceptance of leaders and lowering of absenteeism. The advantages of
transformational leadership out-weigh the disadvantages and are associated
with effective instructional leaders. Daft and Marcic (2006) and Northouse
(1997) opined that transformational leadership is the basis for modern learning
organisations in both business and schools.
2 Application of Theory
2.1 Application of Transformational Leadership Theory to Instructional
As an instructional leader, the head teacher is the pivotal point within the
school who affects the quality of individual teacher instruction, the height of
student achievement, and the degree of efficiency in school functioning
(Silins, Mulford & Zarins, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999; 2000; Hallinger
& Murphy, 1986; Edmonds, 1979)
. Darling-Hammond (2003) stated that
transformational leadership style helps to develop a positive school culture in
which teachers become interested in the interactions at their schools as they
participate all the time.
The head teacher represents a master teacher who primarily increases
the level of student achievement. As the immediate supervisor, the head
teacher ensures punctuality and effective performance of duty by fostering
selection, development, use, and evaluation of appropriate Environmental
Education instructional materials and processes. According to Berends,
Bodilly, and Nattaraj (2002), effective and supportive principal leaders were
most likely to increase and deepen the implementation of school improvement
The instructional leader needs to be good at traditional management
functions such as planning and budgeting, and to focus on the impersonal
aspects of job performance
(Okumbe, 2007; Everard, Morris, & Wilson,
. Teachers and support staff should receive rewards for enhancing
environment, whereas the leader benefits from meeting Environmental
Education tasks. Though researchers Edmonds (1979) and Flath (1989)
stressed the importance of the instructional leadership responsibilities of the
head teacher, the consensus in the literature indicate that it is seldom practiced
(Flath, 1989). Stronge (1988) found that 62.2 percent of the elementary head
teacher's time is focused on school management issues, whereas only 6.2
percent of their time is focused on programme issues. Wafula (2007) found
that teacher’s records were checked by some Heads of Department.
Flath (1989.20) categorises instructional leadership activities as goal
emphasis, coordination and organization, power and discretionary
decisionmaking, and human relations which apply to Environmental Education. The
leader is sensitive to working with teachers, and members of the public
(Baskett & Miklos, 1992). According to King (2002), head teachers would
assist Environmental Education implementation by hosting meetings for
teachers to discuss any gaps they may find in Environmental Education
teaching and learning. The forum for teachers and administrators help to
identify problems with the technology of education as a foundation for
considering how to move forward and how to deal with the gaps identified.
The head teachers invite outside experts to provide teachers an overview
of the research about Environmental Education teaching and learning so that
they can contextualize the situation in their school within a larger
framework. This allows teachers to come to grips with Environmental
Education challenges confronting them in a way that they can better deal with
these challenges. The head teachers assist teachers to focus more intently on
their work by organizing peer visits as well as data gathering. In this way,
teachers develop a data base for benchmarking the current Environmental
Education situation and to assess progress or lack thereof.
King (2002) stated that collaboration of the teachers, head teacher, and
administrators build leadership density in schools and provide the conditions
which facilitate the development of teachers as leaders in the areas of
curriculum, learning, and teaching. Barth (2001) notes that success in these
endeavour positions teachers to make decisions in many areas that were once
reserved to the head teacher. These include: choosing textbooks and
instructional materials; shaping the curriculum; setting standards for student
behaviour; designing professional development and in-service programmes;
and deciding school budgets. According to Smylie and Conyers (1991),
teachers are instructional experts and the head teacher should encourage the
development of their instructional leadership to improve instruction quality.
Checkley (2000) asserted that by promoting a forum for professional
discourse, head teachers as instructional leaders construct a school culture
through which teachers redefine curriculum, teaching and learning, translating
it into new classroom practices as they build relationships characterized by
mutual trust, risk taking, and experimentation. Hence, this all takes place in a
supportive and professionally challenging environment.
2.2 Application of Transformational Leadership Theory to Instruction of EE
Transformational Leadership Theory is applied to instructional leadership
in the implementation of EE because transformational leaders bring change in
attitudes, skills, and knowledge among teachers and students for environment
protection. Transformational leadership is a conscious leadership regardless
of the situation. Its goal is to change institutions and not simply to have things
done. Transformational leaders have ways to make followers trust their
performing behaviours that contribute to achievement. Due to leaders’
charisma, their vision of how good the environment could be if protected is
well communicated through their own excitement that induces followers to
support their vision. However, they have high levels of self confidence and
esteem which cause followers to respect and admire them
(Daft & Marcic,
. The leader also widens the needs of the followers and supports them to
achieve higher needs
(Antonakis, Cianciolo, & Sternberg, 2004)
. The students
and teachers are likely to view environment issues differently, making them
feel some degree of responsibility to solve problems, for example, picking and
placing litter in a correct place. According to Fullan (1991), head teachers
influence the extent of implementation by playing a direct active role than
leaving the implementation process to individual teachers. Although they may
not be experts in the area, they provide leadership by familiarising with the
general nature of the ‘subject’ and through working with staff to become
Ross and Gray (2006) found that transformational leadership behavior is
positively correlated with high academic performance in schools. The high
performance was due to the head teachers’ building of teachers’ professional
commitments and belief in their collective capacity, and motivating them to
go beyond self-interest and embrace organizational goals. Transformational
leadership, therefore, influences teachers’ commitment to school’s vision,
professional community, school norms of collegiality, collaboration, and team
work. It implies that such leaders have the tendency to inspire teachers to think
beyond their own interests and focus on organizational and national
According to Okoth (2008), the relationship between Transformational
Leadership practices, Teacher Commitment and School Outcomes can be
conceptualized as an Input-Process-Output (IPO) Model based on Bass theory
of 1985 as follows: Input is the head teacher’s leadership practices. The first
is the idealized influence, where the leader acts as a role model; the second is
the inspirational motivation, where the leader usually evokes enthusiasm and
a team spirit of shared purpose; the third being intellectual stimulation which
challenges all to explore options and innovative approaches; and finally the
individualized stimulation which lends value to all individuals within the
Process is the instructional role of teachers who are encouraged to be
enthusiastic, to exhibit awareness of task & need for personal growth; and
commitment of teachers to school system over personal interest. According to
Bass (1985), the leader induces followers to support their vision and put aside
self interest for the sake of the organisation. It means head teachers take
responsibility for helping to solve problems as they grow in the process. The
leader’s energetic, enthusiastic, and oral communication helps people to
understand real life issues. It is assumed that the head teacher is a
professionally qualified teacher with the pedagogic skills to implement
Environmental Education. Bass (1985), Hallinger and Murphy (1986), and
Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) provided variables used; for example, the head
teacher projects him/herself as a role model, and strives towards the collective
goal of fulfilling a vision.
Output are the outcomes which include positive EE attitudes, EE
knowledge and skills, institution enthusiastic about EE issues, and positive
Over the years, work on transformational leadership has focused on other
variables. According to Kouzes and Posner (1989; 2007), five common
practices of transformational leadership are: model the way, which involves
clarifying values and setting the example; inspire a shared vision, which
involves envisioning the future and enlisting others; challenge the process,
which involves searching for opportunities, experimenting, and taking risks.
Through these, teachers are stimulated to achieve more for themselves and
their students as they aspire higher levels of performance. In 1996, Leithwood
came up with six specific principals’ behaviour which are: Identifying and
articulating a vision, providing an appropriate model, fostering the acceptance
of group goals, providing individualized support, providing intellectual
stimulation, and holding high performance expectations (Jantzi & Leithwood,
1996). Therefore, the objectives based on Bass Transformational Leadership
i. To establish how Charismatic/ idealized influence affects principals’
curriculum implementation (EE) in secondary schools;
ii. To determine influence of Inspirational motivation on principals’
curriculum implementation (EE) in secondary schools;
iii. To establish how Intellectual stimulation influence principals’
curriculum implementation (EE) in secondary schools;
iv. To determine the extent to which Individualized consideration of
principals affect curriculum implementation (EE) in secondary schools.
A descriptive survey design was used. The sample consisted of six
boys, six girls, and 18 mixed schools obtained by stratified random sampling.
A total of 183 teachers were obtained by random sampling from the selected
(Kothari, 2008; Mugenda, 2008)
. The Teachers’ questionnaire was
administered in person after obtaining a permit from National Council of
Sciences, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI). Validation was done by
pre-testing the instruments in a pilot study and reviewed by experts in
educational administration. Reliability was determined using test-retest
method resulting in r = 0.8.
Indicators of Leadership Practices
Idealized Influence: Strive towards the collective goal of fulfilling a
vision and role model;
Inspirational Motivation: Trust of teachers’ ability to deal with
Intellectual Stimulation: Make decision all the time; and
Individualized Consideration: Encourage students to work hard, be
present in school, and organize meetings with other schools.
4. Findings and Discussions
4.1 Idealized Influence
i. Leaders are expected to identify and articulate a vision, and to foster
the acceptance of group goals. The teachers were asked to rate the head
teachers’ efforts towards the collective goal of fulfilling a vision. The results
show that majority of the teachers agreed (strongly agree 43.2 percent and
agree 38.4 percent), while those with no opinion was 10.9 percent. Those who
disagreed that heads strive to achieve goals were at 3.8 percent, and the least
2.7 percent strongly disagree. As leaders, head teachers strive towards the
collective goal of fulfilling a vision.
ii. Positive role modelling has been cited as the best method to
influence others by practising what they see. Authentic leaders build their
practice outward from their core commitment, making them role models for
enhancing environmental education. Teachers rated how they perceived their
heads as role models. The results show that most of the teachers 45.3 percent
strongly agree and 39 percent agree that the head teachers acted as role models.
However, 6.0 percent teachers strongly disagree and 3.8 percent disagree that
head teachers act as role models, while 6.0 percent had no opinion.
4.2 Inspirational motivation
Leaders often inspire those under them by being enthusiastic about
what they do. Teachers can be motivated through attending seminars which
empowers them in various ways. They may acquire specific skills which
would inspire them and develop positive attitudes. Teachers were asked to rate
head teachers’ belief that teachers could deal with obstacles they came across
while implementing curriculum. The findings show that majority of the
teachers 43.2 percent agreed, and 41 percent strongly agreed. The rest, 6.0
percent, disagreed and 3.8 percent strongly disagreed that head teachers
believed in teachers’ ability to deal with obstacles. Another 6.0 percent had no
4.3 Intellectual Stimulation
The transformative leadership practices made leaders to encourage
workers to explore options and come up with innovative approaches to solve
problems. This would make teachers to explore methods of teaching that
would enhance retention of knowledge and application of skills learnt. It also
helps in the decision making process whereby teachers makes use of best
methods and resources while teaching. The teachers were asked about the
ability of the head teacher to cope with decision making. The majority of
teachers 52.5 percent agreed and 36.6 percent strongly agree. Thus, the data
illustrates that majority of the head teachers are capable of making decisions
regarding curriculum (Environmental Education), but there is room for
improvement for 4.4 percent who disagree, 1.8 percent who strongly disagree,
and 6 percent who had no opinion. Although the heads may not know the
details of the syllabus, they still guide teachers as they consult subject experts
4.4 Individualized Consideration
Individual attention paid to workers makes them feel valued. The
individualized consideration lends value to all individuals within the
organization and is a source of job satisfaction. There are three items in this
section: encourage students to work hard, discussing with teachers from other
schools, and heads’ presence in school.
i. The results on whether the head teachers encourage students to work
hard in Environmental Education showed that most teachers agreed (36.1
percent strongly agreed and 32.2 percent agreed). Meanwhile, 8.2 percent
disagreed, 4.9 percent strongly disagreed head teachers encourage their
students, and 18.6 percent had no opinion. The results suggest that head
teachers encourage students to work hard but more needs to be done.
ii. Benchmarking is important as it makes people learn from others at
the same level. Teachers were asked about head teachers organising meetings
with other schools for Environmental Education. The results show that
majority of teachers agree (44.8 percent strongly agree and 28.4 percent
agree) that head teachers organise meetings with other schools. This could be
in view of joint examinations previously done in the districts as well as sports.
However, 9.8 percent teachers disagree and 7.7 percent strongly disagree that
head teachers ever organise meetings with other schools, while 9.3 percent had
no opinion. Kouzes and Posner (1989) and Checkly (2000) commended such
meetings for the improvement of the working culture in the schools; enable
others to act by fostering collaboration and strengthening others; encourage
the heart by recognizing others’ contributions and creating a spirit of
iii. The teachers were asked about the importance of the head teachers’
presence in the school. The results showed the highest proportion of teachers:
36.1 percent said they agree, 31.7 percent strongly agree, 17.5 percent had no
opinion, 9.8 percent disagree, and 4.9 percent strongly disagree. The results
indicate 67.8 percent teachers perceive that the presence of the head teacher in
school is important. Mbiti (2007) concurs that the head teacher’s presence in
school is significant.
Applying idealized influence, head teachers strive towards the
collective goal of fulfilling a vision and acting as role models. Applying
Inspirational motivation, head teachers trust teachers’ ability to deal with
obstacles in curriculum. Intellectual stimulation prompts the head teacher to
make decisions even through the practice of consultation. For Individualized
consideration, head teachers encourage students in person to work hard and
they also organize meetings with other schools.
6. Implications and Recommendations
i. The Head teachers should be encouraged to use transformation
leadership practices as they improve on curriculum implementation and
management. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and Ministry of
Education (MoE) should ensure that aspiring and practicing head teachers
receive continuous training as a policy.
ii. Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) should design
curriculum for leadership development for head teachers to apply
transformational leadership practices. This is the institution mandated by MoE
for teacher development.
iii. Leaders should strive towards the collective goal of fulfilling a
vision so that they can personally be enthusiastic to accomplish objectives.
iii. Head teachers should develop positive attitudes about the teachers’
abilities on curriculum instruction and decision making while they provide
iv. Head teachers should encourage teachers and students in person to
work hard and benchmark with other schools.
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