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The School Leader's Guide to Understanding Attitude and Influencing Behavior

The School Leader's Guide to Understanding Attitude and Influencing Behavior
Working With Teachers, Parents, Students, and the Community

November 2004 | 160 pages | Corwin
School leaders constantly face situations where they must understand the values, attitudes, and beliefs that a person or group brings to a given situation. Often these attitudes are based on faulty information or misguided beliefs, and, if left unchecked, can have serious consequences. This book will help educators to understand the how and why behind people's decisions, and to use this information to change attitudes and influence the behaviour of teachers, school staff, parents, and other members of their community.

This model has been used successfully in business, healthcare, social policy, and politics for years, but is only just beginning to be applied to education. By using this model, school leaders can make more effective, data-driven decisions.

Some examples of how model can be applied to education include:

- Teachers integrating technology in the classroom

- Parents monitoring their children's homework

- Formulating school policy

- Teacher retention

Educational leaders at LEA and school level, including advisors and SMT members will find this a invaluable tool for decision making and working with other school staff. Governors and other community members will find the information useful as well. In addition, this book is suitable for postgraduate students of educational leadership.

About the Authors
Part I: A Useful Model for Changing School Behavior
1. How Are Attitudes and Behaviors Formed?
2. How Are Attitudes Toward People Formed and Changed?
3. How Are Attitudes Toward Behaviors Formed and Changed?
4. How Is Perceived Social Pressure Formed and Changed?
5. Putting it All Together: The Model as a Whole
Part II: Conducting Your Study
6. Narrowing Your Interest
7. Collecting Your Data
Part III: Understanding and Applying Your Results
8. Analyzing and Reporting Your Results
9. Applying Your Results to Your Interest
Resource A: Glossary of Key Terms
Resource B: Sample Scales
Resource C: Sample Questionnaire
Resource D: Action Plan Checklist for a Study Using the Model
Resource E: Internet-Based Resources

“Educational administrators will find the book to be an easily applicable tool for solving many of the dilemmas they face in their schools."

Theron Schutte, Middle School Principal
Boone Community School District, IA

"Finally a book that can serve as a useful tool for aspiring and practicing school leaders. Today's school leader needs strategies and competencies in working with diverse audiences and perspectives. The Pryors have achieved this."

Luana Zellner, Director
The Principals' Center, Texas A&M

“The business of education is a ‘people’ business; the most successful school leaders are those who have a full understanding of the individuals and groups they lead. This book provides a practical framework that enables school leaders to effectively asses the attitudes and better understand the behaviors of their staff.”

Kevin Brown, Director of Personnel
Alamo Heights ISD, San Antonio, TX

"As a former public school administrator for many years, and now at the university level, I believe principals will find important topics that are though provoking and applicable . . . an excellent tool for administrators."

Larry Butler, Coordinator/Middle Grades Program
Texas A&M University

"This book fills a major void in the literature focused upon educational leadership."

Robert Fallows, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership
Northern Arizona University

"Given the press for school administrators to implement and manage change, this book provides a framework for identifying why new initiatives are resisted and how best to reduce or eliminate this resistance."

Bruce Barnett, Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
University of Texas at San Antonio

"The book provides a theoretical base for practical application of strategies that will strengthen beliefs and attitudes that support behaviors that can move a school toward the fulfillment of its educational mission."

David Erlandson, Professor
Texas A&M University

"Beyond providing a useful framework to examine behavioral changes in schools, this book delves into the details of how attitudinal change occurs and provides the reader with a process for transforming changes in schools."

Alan Shoho, Associate Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio

"Today's principals are in the hot seat. Communities demand excellence for their children. This book helps principals understand how to approach problem-solving and decision-making for successful outcomes."

Cordell Jones, Principal
Woodridge Elementary, San Antonio, TX

"An exceptional job of blending theory and practice. Written for the school administrator, it is clear, concise, and useful! It provides a tool that can bring about change and positively impact student performance and achievement."

Fred Richardson, Manager, High School Redesign
Communities Foundation of Texas

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: How Are Attitudes and Behaviors Formed?

Brandt W. Pryor

Brandt W. Pryor is Director of The Evaluation Group, College of Education, at Texas A&M University, College Station, where he now leads statewide studies of high school reform efforts. He is also an educational research consultant specializing in attitude and behavior studies. He has previously served as Associate Professor, Department of   Educational Leadership, Lamar University, and Senior Research Associate in the College of Education at Arizona State University. He did his doctoral work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he studied attitude theory and measurement with Martin Fishbein, the world’s leading... More About Author

Caroline R. Pryor

Caroline R. Pryor is Assistant Professor and Regents Fellow in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, at Texas A&M University, College Station. In 2003 she was selected as a Wye Fellow of The Aspen Institute <http://www.>.  She holds a doctorate in Secondary   Education from Arizona State University. Her postdoctoral work at Arizona State University concerned the development of a citywide field-based preservice teacher education program, including staff development for princi-pals and mentor teachers. She holds teaching credentials in grades K–9, is a former elementary school... More About Author