W&M Professor among 20 Most Influential Academics in School Leadership

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by Julie Tucker, W&M School of Education

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April 11, 2019

A recent article in the Review of educational research named Professor of Education William & Mary Megan Tschannen-Moran one of the 20 Most Cited Authors in Educational Administration.

This review analyzed results from 22 international journals on K-12 school leadership and used a ‘bibliometric’ methodology to assess citations and co-citations of research in the field from 1960 to 2018.

Tschannen-Moran’s work was placed at No. 12 on their list of most cited authors during this period. Most of the other listed scholars began publishing at least a decade earlier than Tschannen-Moran.

“The other names on the list are among the most recognized and influential people in the field,” Tschannen-Moran said. “Being in the company of these people is very humiliating. “

Tschannen-Moran has been teaching at William & Mary since 2000. His research focuses on the critical importance of trust between teachers, administrators, parents and students.

Tschannen-Moran began her career in education as the founder and principal of a small progressive school in downtown Chicago. Despite being located in a neighborhood known for violence, the school community has thrived.

“We lacked resources and our children could not walk safely to school, but within its walls we had such a supportive and confident community,” she said.

Wanting to study more in depth what made this school such a special place, she began graduate studies at Ohio State University and studied with Wayne and Anita Hoy, whose research focused on school climate and the auto -effectiveness of teachers. Together, they developed a measure of self-efficacy, or how much teachers believe they have the ability to be successful and make a difference in the lives of students.

“I could have done my thesis on personal effectiveness, but I knew there was something else that made the difference at my school in Chicago. It was the high level of trust between administrators, teachers, parents and students. I knew I had to pursue this idea.

With very little existing research on trust in education, Tschannen-Moran had to turn to other disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, and business.

“Philosopher Annette Baier observed that we tend to notice confidence as we notice the air, only when it becomes scarce or polluted,” she said. “With the empowerment movement and other societal changes in the 1980s and 1990s, the level of trust in schools had eroded. This lack of confidence seriously hampers our ability to be successful. “

His research led to numerous journal publications and a book, Trust Matters: Leadership for Successful Schools, which was first published in 2004, with a second edition published in 2014.

“Trust is only essential in situations of interdependence, when people are working together on a common outcome. Education is just such a situation – none of us educate our students alone, so the question of whether we trust others involved in the education of our students is of great importance. “

While individuals decide whether or not to trust another person or institution, Tschannen-Moran postulates that they base these decisions on judgments about their benevolence, honesty, openness, reliability and competence.

“When there is a lack of confidence, people invest their energy in self-protection. It is a state of hypervigilance in which energy is diverted from the collective educational work, ”she added.

While his book Trust matters focuses on how principals can foster a sense of trust in their schools, she hopes to write a sidebook for teachers.

“After 25 years of studying trust, I am convinced that the most important relationship of trust in education is that between teachers and their students. In the classroom, confidence is vital because true learning requires risk, ”she said. “If students don’t feel safe or feel suspicious, they fall back into a position of self-protection that hinders the learning process. Trust is also important for teachers, because although teachers are in a position of power, they are also in a position of vulnerability. “

In addition to his work on trust, Tschannen-Moran has also conducted research on the self-efficacy beliefs of teachers and the collective effectiveness of teachers in a school, as well as the self-efficacy of school leaders. . These beliefs about their individual and collective ability to successfully educate the students in their care are closely related to the motivation and persistence that educators bring to their work. Thus, they are closely related to the results that a school can achieve.

The school climate is another line of research that Tschannen-Moran has pursued. In collaboration with a team of doctoral students, she developed the Vibrating school ladder, a measure that captures the dynamics of spirited spirits, emboldened voices and playful learning in schools.

Tschannen-Moran also developed the evocative coaching model with her husband Bob, a business and life coach. They have co-authored two books on the subject.

Despite her success in the field, Tschannen-Moran was surprised to learn last year that she was the second most cited faculty member at William & Mary. Ufuk Erdogan, visiting scholar at the School of Education, discovered this fact while digging into Google Scholar.

“It’s an honor to receive these accolades, but I don’t do this job to count the points,” she said. “I do it because I love it.”


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