School leaders supporting teachers' mental health
MacDonald, J. Geoff J.
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Subjectappreciative leadership; ethical leadership; servant leadership; teacher autonomy; teacher collaboration; teacher mental health
This action research project examined school leaders’ role in supporting classroom teachers’ mental health within Prince Edward Island schools. The study explored the question: How can Prince Edward Island’s school leaders support the mental health needs of teachers in Prince Edward Island (PEI)? Using action research methodology, and specifically an action research engagement model I interviewed three classroom teachers from across PEI with between three and thirteen years of experience and conducted a focus group with five school principals from various schools in PEI with experience ranging from four to eighteen years. I undertook this work with the approval of the Royal Roads University Ethics Board, the Department of Education Early Learning and Culture’s (DEEC) External Research Review Committee and in line with the Royal Roads University Ethics Policy. A literature review investigated leadership models and teacher mental health and competencies fundamental to supporting teacher mental health. Key themes include teacher workload, teacher appreciation, teacher autonomy, teacher mental health, teacher collaboration, and the leadership competencies included in the ethical, appreciative, and servant leadership models. The key findings of this study explored the link between school leadership and teachers’ mental health and the ability of school leaders to create school cultures conducive to supporting and improving teachers’ mental health. The major recommendations offered actions the DEEC could undertake to facilitate leadership development in school leaders using leadership models supportive of teachers’ mental health and create opportunities to increase collaboration and shared learning that could foster schools as supportive, collaborative learning networks tasked with improving the collective capacity of students.
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