Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Jiangang Xia

Date of this Version

Spring 4-23-2020


O'Shea, C.M. (2020) School autonomy distributed leadership and teachers' use of innovative teaching practices (Doctoral thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska).


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Jiangang Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: April 2020

Copyright 2020 Cailen O’Shea


The primary aim of this research is to understand how school autonomy and distributed leadership supports teachers’ use of innovative teaching practices. Innovative practices such as increasing cognitive activation and enhanced curricular activities have shown to have significant positive effects on student outcomes (Le Donné, Fraser, & Bousquet, 2016). Based on internationally representative samples including 7,436 lower secondary school principals and 117,876 teachers from 34 countries surveyed in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013 data, this study analyzed the effect of school autonomy and distributed leadership on teachers’ use of these innovative teaching practices. The findings demonstrate that distributed leadership has a significant and positive impact on teachers’ use of innovative teaching practices. School autonomy for budgeting and staffing were significant and positive predictors of cognitive activation while school autonomy for instructional policies was a significant and negative predictor of teachers’ use of innovative teaching practices. Conclusions, limitations, and recommendations for further research are discussed.

Adviser: Jiangang Xia