A case study of teachers' experiences with power
Watson, Bonnie Bernice
Master of Education
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The present study was designed to provide information concerning teachers' experiences with power. Data obtained through surveys, interviews and observations were used to determine the sources of power that teachers at an elementary school identified as being significant and to describe their experiences with power. Previous studies have focused on the experiences of school administrators and less is known about how teachers view the use of power. In Fennell's (2001) study, the aim of the principals to empower and energize their staffs was evident. It has not been determined, however, how teachers experience power emanating from various sources including the school administrator. The current study was designed to shed further light on these issues. Three major themes emerged from the data of this study. These themes were types and sources of power, teachers' experiences with power and other powerful influences. The findings reflected considerable unanimity concerning the identification of the types and sources of power that impact upon teachers' performance and activities. Some of the teachers' experiences produced feelings of power and autonomy: others resulted in feelings of powerlessness. The latter occurred when teachers felt coerced into complying with policies and procedures mandated by their superiors. Accountability and curriculum represented other powerful influences that have a significant effect on teachers' daily activities.