RESEARCH TOPIC:INVESTIGATING STRESS AMONG SCHOOL LEADERS AND ITS IMPACT ON SCHOOL SUPERVISION: A CASE STUDY OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN DORMAA EAST, DORMAA CENTRAL AND DORMAA WEST.BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE The importance of the work of school leaders, specifically head teachers and heads of departments (HODs), in the school setup can not be over-emphasised. The tasks such school leaders have to deal with are varied and numerous. According to Friedman (2002), school leaders are responsible for managing the school, coordinating and guiding teaching in the school, networking with external partners and communicating with the parents. In addition, they are usually in charge of the administration and finances, personnel management and are legally responsible for all issues that arise in their schools. Engels, Hotton, Devos, Bouckenooghe, and Aelterman (2008) also point out that the onus lies on school leaders to collaborate with education bureaucracies, undergo regular inspections and connect with other supporting services beyond the school itself and have a leading role in implementing innovations. These duties are by no means easy and they pose a significant risk factor in cases of stress and burnout in school leaders (Friedman, 2002). Job stress in HODs and heat masters has been defined as “the experience by a teacher (or school leader) of unpleasant emotions, such as tension, frustration, anxiety, anger and depression, resulting from aspects of his work as a teacher or school leader” (Kyriacou 1987, 146). A stressed out leader is most likely not going to be very effective as compared to a relatively physically and mentally relaxed colleague. It is, therefore, important for the well-being of school leaders to be assessed and for a determination to be made on why they get stressed and how the stress adversely affects the performance of such people in their capacities as school leaders.Heads of Departments, being middle managers in schools, have a significant role to play in improving teaching and learning through supervision and control. Proper time- management is necessary in order for them to execute this duty effectively. Instructional leadership should be driven by HODs since they play a key role which determines the effectiveness of teaching and learning. However, HOD‟s experience challenges in their roles. In second cycle schools in Ghana, the HODs are also actively engaged in teaching their respective subjects in the school. This additional responsibility compounds their workload and makes them prone to being stressed. Head masters, who generally play an oversight role in the affairs of the teaching staff, also have to coordinate the affairs of the non-teaching staff. This also doubles their responsibilities and they can easily be overwhelmed by the workload.The work of both the head master and the HODs is very important in achieving the aims and objectives of the school. Therefore, if they are not in the right frame of mind or if they are stressed, there is the likelihood of an adverse effect on their performance as school leaders. That is why this research will seek to make an enquiry into the factors that can contribute to stress and how stress can be mitigated to improve on the performance of the head masters and the heads of departments in second cycle institutions in Ghana.RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVESThe general aim of the research is to assess the stress factors of head masters and HODs and how the stress negatively affects their ability to carry out their duties as school leaders.The specific objectives of this research are:to determine that head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions are stressed in the performance of their duties. to identify the cause(s) of stress among head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions.to ascertain how stress among head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions negatively affect their performance as school leaders.RESEARCH QUESTIONSThe following critical questions form the basis for the research:What is the evidence which determines that head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions are stressed?How can the causes of stress among head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions identified?To what extent will stress among head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions negatively affect their performance as school leaders? RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe research methodology to be used for the research is the quantitative method. It is used to answer questions on relationships within measurable variables with an intention to explain, predict and control a phenomena (Leedy 1993). This type of research corresponds to identifying the characteristics of an observed phenomenon, or exploring correlations between two or more entities.Numbers can be intimidating, which can often prevent people from fully utilizing and understanding quantitative research results. When used correctly, numbers can sometimes be more accurate than words, but it is the quality of the analysis process that brings meaning to those numbers. Numbers do not speak for themselves. Interpretation and analysis bring quantitative results to life and help them to positively impact your business decisions. It is because of all these merits that the quantitative research method will be used for the research.The research design to be used under the quantitative method is the quantitative field experiment research.According to Hopkins (2000) the aim of quantitative research is to determine the relationship between one thing (an independent variable) and another (a dependent or outcome variable) in a population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive (subjects usually measured once) or experimental (subjects measured before and after a treatment). A descriptive study establishes only associations between variables whilst an experiment establishes causality.Quantitative field experiment design is a research conducted in the real world or a natural setting (Aziz, 2017). According to Aziz (2017), it tends to observe, analyze, and describe what exists rather than manipulating a factor under study. The research settings resemble the situations encountered in daily living, preserving the naturalness of the setting. Participants in a field research may or may not know that they are being studied. A principal factor of such designs is that they are co-relational. The elements being correlated by the researcher in this case are the causes of stress among head masters and HODs in second cycle institutions and how the stress adversely affects their work.Questionnaires and behaviour checklists will be used to gather data during the research. The data will be analysed using statistical tools such as tables, charts, and graphs. The software application that can assist in quantitative data analysis is the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The research will make use of the SPSS to handle the data collected for easy analysis and interpretation. PROPOSED TIME SCHEDULE FOR THE RESEARCHS/N ACTIVITY EXPECTED DATE PERSON RESPONSIBLE REMARKS1 Writing proposal Researcher 2 Developing research instruments Researcher 3 Editing and revision of research instruments Supervisor and researcher 4 Training of research assistants Researcher 5 Collecting data Researcher and assistants 6 Editing and analysing data collected Researcher 7 Discussion of results Researcher 8 Preparation and editing of draft thesis Supervisor and researcher 9 Presentation of final thesis Researcher BUDGET FOR THE RESEARCH S/N ITEM ESTIMATED COST (Ghc)1 Allowances for research assistants and participants 500.002 Travelling expenses 120.003 Stationary, typesetting, printing, and photocopying 150.004 Data processing and analysis using SPSS 300.005 Internet bundle and phone call credit 50.006 Miscellaneous 100.00TOTAL 1,220.00RESEARCH DISSERMINATION PLANA dissemination plan is a plan for disseminating research findings or products to those who will use the information in practice. The three Ps of research dissemination (posters, presentations, and papers) have historically been the three primary ways of dissemination and they remain the most popular methods (Brown & Schmidt, 2009; Dudley-Brown, 2012).The research work will be disseminated through a presentation to the supervisory unit of the post-graduate faculty of Catholic University College. After the presentation, the research work will be uploaded to research websites (for example, www.googlescholar.com and www.researchgate.com). Digital copies of the research will also be made available to Ghana Psychological Association consideration to subsequently participate in one of its annual psychology research conferences.REFERENCESAziz, H. A.(2017). Comparison between Field Research and Controlled Laboratory Research. Academic Affairs College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar UniversityBrown, J. M., & Schmidt, N. A. (2009). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.Engels, N., G. Hotton, G. Devos, D. Bouckenooghe, and A. Aelterman (2008). Principals in Schools with a Positive School Culture. Educational Studies 34 (3): 159–174.Friedman, I. A.( 2002). Burnout in School Principals: Role Related Antecedents. A Paper on Social Psychology of Education 5: 229–251Hopkins, W.G Perspectives / Research Resources. Department of Physiology and School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand .Kyriacou, C.( 1987). Teacher Stress and Burnout: An International Review. A Paper on Educational Research 29: 146–152. doi:10.1080/0013188870290207.Leedy, P. D. (1993). Practical research: planning and design. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
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