An exploration of leadership practices in enacted a curriculum policy platform in working class secondary schools

Terhoven, Rene B. (2016-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : It can be argued that South African schools, particularly those in working class contexts, are struggling to contend with the challenges of curriculum reform. These curriculum reforms, which were introduced in an attempt to alleviate past injustices, are arguably not providing equal educational opportunities for all. Based primarily on their students’ poor results on tests and examinations, schools in working class contexts are labeled as underperforming or dysfunctional schools by the Department of Education (DoE). Consequently, this negative positioning of many working class schools places huge pressure on the principals and School Management Teams (SMTs) of these schools. Based on qualitative research in three selected working class schools, the thesis explores how curriculum policy plays out in working class secondary schools by focusing on the leadership practices enacted by their School Management Teams. The research concentrates on how these SMTs develop and implement a range of leadership practices within their schools in order to enact a curriculum policy platform for optimal teaching and learning. Employing Stephen Ball’s theory of policy enactment, the study is an illustration of how the contexts of working class schools impact on the type of leadership practices that are enacted, which, in turn, impact the type of curriculum policy platform that is constructed. A key conceptual assumption of the study is the view that policy enactment is regarded as a process of ‘becoming’ and not as something fixed or with predetermined outcomes within a school. This thesis elucidates how curriculum policy is received by the formal leadership structure of the school, and shaped and implemented in the ‘messy’ reality of selected working class schools in the process of enacting a curriculum policy platform. The thesis focuses on the processes, mediations and meanings of curriculum policy in selected working class secondary schools. I present the argument that the enactment of leadership practices by the selected schools’ SMTs are fundamentally impacted and determined by the schools’ ‘materiality’ and discursive constructions. Their leadership practices, based on narrow and one-dimensional enactment of the curriculum policy, have negative and uneven consequences for these schools’ curriculum and teaching and learning offerings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar kan geargumenteer word dat Suid-Afrikaanse skole, veral die skole in werkersklas omgewings, sukkel om by te hou met die uitdagings van kurrikulum hervorming. Hierdie kurrikulum hervormings was ingestel met die doel om die onregverdighede van die verlede te verminder, maar dit het egter nog steeds nie gelyke opvoedingsgeleenthede vir almal gebied nie. Skole in werkersklas omgewings word geklassifiseer as onderpresterend of disfunksioneel wanneer studente se resultate in toetse en eksamens laer is as die teikens wat gestel is deur die Departement van Onderwys (DvO). Gevolglik plaas hierdie negatiewe posisionering van werkersklas skole groot druk op die prinsipale en Skool bestuurspan (SBS) lede van hierdie skole. Gebaseer op kwalitatiewe navorsing in drie geselekteerde skole, ondersoek hierdie tesis hoe die kurrikulumbeleid uitspeel in werkersklas sekondêre skole, deur te fokus op die leierskap praktyke wat deur die skool bestuurspan uitgevoer word. Hierdie navorsing konsentreer op hoe die SBS ‘n reeks leierskap praktyke ontwikkel en implementeer binne hul skole om ‘n kurrikulumbeleidsplatform, vir optimale onderrig en leer, uit te leef. Deur Stephen Ball se teorie van ‘’policy enactment’’ te gebruik, illustreer hierdie studie hoe die konteks van werkersklas skole impakteer op die tipe leierskap praktyke wat uitgevoer word en hoe die leierskap praktyke impakteer op die gekonstrueerde kurrikulumbeleidsplatform. ‘n Sleutel konseptuele aanname van hierdie studie is die siening van die uitvoer van beleid as ‘n wordingsproses, en nie as ‘n vasgestelde entiteit, met voorafgestelde uitkomste nie. Hierdie navorsing toon hoe die kurrikulumbeleid ontvang, gevorm en geïmplementeer word deur die formele leierskap struktuur van die geselekteerde werkersklas skole, in die realiteit van hul konteks, in die proses om ‘n kurrikulumbeleidsplatform uit te leef. Hierdie tesis fokus op die prosesse, mediëring en betekenis van kurrikulumbeleid in geselekteerde werkersklas sekondêre skole. Ek argumenteer dat die uitleef van leierskap praktyke deur die geselekteerde skole se SBS grotendeels bepaal word deur die skole se ‘materiële’ en ‘diskursiewe’ konstruksies. Hul leierskap praktyke, gebaseer op die nou, eendimensionele uitleef van die kurrikulumbeleid, het negatiewe en ongelyke gevolge vir hierdie skole se kurrikulum, onderrig en leer aanbiedinge.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100072
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