Primary school principals’ lived experiences of their roles as instructional leaders in selected primary schools

Van Wyk, Jeremy Mark (2020-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The role played by the principal as instructional leader worldwide is crucial as a result of his/her direct and indirect influence on teaching and learning. The role of the principal as instructional leader in improving teaching and learning is a pressing issue in South African primary schools, as most South African primary school learners perform far below par in the Annual National Assessments. These assessments are determined by benchmarking carried out by the Department of Basic Education and international education assessment agencies with reference to curriculum goals and literacy and numeracy. This phenomenological study describes the lived experiences of principals with regard to their instructional leadership roles in primary schools in the South African context with specific reference to selected schools in the Paarl and Wellington areas in the Western Cape. The study was informed by a literature study related to theoretical perspectives of instructional leadership. The data were collected through the use of phenomenological interviews (qualitative data) and analysis comprised the use of the ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis qualitative data analysis programme. In the study, purposive sampling was used to include participants who could provide a rich description of their lived experiences of their roles as instructional leaders. This study describes the contextual factors which impact on the principal’s roles as instructional leader and learner performance in the participating schools. The findings in the study reveal that the primary school principals, who participated in this study, have little experience of their instructional roles due to a lack of appropriate instructional practices to improve teaching and learning. They also tend to delegate most of their instructional leadership functions to their senior staff members. Based on the findings of the literature study on instructional leadership as well as the empirical inquiry, recommendations are made to address principals’ instructional leadership practices, including a call for continuous collaboration and support for teachers through effective leadership. It is recommended that these principals become more involved in their core instructional leadership role, which is to improve teaching and learning. Furthermore, they need to continuously ensure their own professional development, as well as the development of his/her staff members, in order to acquire the needed knowledge and skills to improve their own instructional practices.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die rol wat wêreldwyd deur die skoolhoof as onderrigleier gespeel word, is van kritieke belang vanweë sy/haar direkte en indirekte invloed op onderrig en leer. Die rol van die skoolhoof as onderrigleier in die verbetering van onderrig en leer is ’n dringende kwessie in Suid-Afrikaanse laerskole, aangesien die meeste leerders in Suid-Afrikaanse laerskole tydens die Jaarlikse Nasionale Assessering ver onder die gemiddelde presteer. Hierdie assesserings word deur middel van normbepaling vasgestel en word deur die Departement van Basiese Onderwys en Opleiding sowel as internasionale onderwysassesseringsagentskappe uitgevoer. Tydens hierdie assessering word daar spesifiek op kurrikulumdoelwitte, geletterdheid en gesyferdheid gefokus. Hierdie fenomenologiese studie beskryf die geleefde ervarings van die skoolhoof in laerskole in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks met spesifieke verwysing na enkele uitgesoekte skole in die Paarl-, en Wellington-areas in die Wes-Kaap. ’n Literatuurstudie bied teoretiese perspektiewe ten opsigte van onderrigleierskap as teoretiese onderbou. Die data is ingesamel deur die gebruik van fenomenologiese onderhoude (kwalitatiewe data), terwyl die analise met behulp van die ATLAS.ti kwalitatiewe-dataontledingsprogram gedoen is. In die studie is doelgerigte monsterneming gebruik om deelnemers in te sluit wat ’n ryk beskrywing van hul geleefde ervarings van hul rolle as instruksionele leiers kon gee. Hierdie studie beskryf die kontekstuele faktore wat die skoolhoof se rol as onderrigleier en leerderprestasie in die deelnemende skole mag beïnvloed. Die studie se bevindinge het aan die lig gebring dat die deelnemende Suid-Afrikaanse laerskoolhoofde min ervaring van hul onderrigleiersrolle het as gevolg van ’n gebrek aan toepaslike onderrigpraktyke om onderrig en leer te verbeter en omdat hulle die meeste van hul onderrigrolle aan hul senior personeellede delegeer. Op grond van die bevindinge van die literatuurstudie oor onderrigleierskap en die empiriese ondersoek word aanbevelings gemaak om skoolhoofde se onderrigleierskappraktyke, insluitend ’n beroep op deurlopende samewerking met en ondersteuning vir onderwysers, deur middel van doeltreffende leierskap te verbeter. Daar word aanbeveel dat hierdie skoolhoofde meer betrokke by hul kernonderrigrol behoort te raak, naamlik om onderrig en leer te verbeter. Hulle moet ook deurlopend hul eie professionele ontwikkeling, sowel as dié van hul personeellede, bevorder ten einde toepaslike kennis en vaardighede te bekom om hul eie onderrigleerpraktyke te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109070
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