How do school leaders negotiate space in order to motivate teachers

Burger, Johann Richards Vivian (2013-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This is an exploratory study of how school leaders can negotiate the various spaces in their schools in order to promote teacher motivation and, by implication, learner achievement. This research focuses on how three principals in the Western Cape Province have produced or re-appropriated spaces to create new, productive learning environments which positively engage the users of these spaces. According to section 4 of the Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 (PAM), all school leaders are expected to create a learning space that is conducive to teaching and learning. In order to know what such a leadership responsibility may entail, this study tries to capture the dynamic interplay between physical (perceived) and mental (conceived) spaces as embodied in social (lived) spaces in a school. It uses Lefebvre‟s spatial triad as its theoretical lens. Linked to the study‟s aim to investigate what the interplay is between the various Lefebvrean spaces in schools, is an examination of how school leaders can manage to negotiate the production of these spaces. For lived school spaces to have embodied meaning that is conducive to teaching and learning, they must be co-produced and co-owned by the users of that space. To illuminate the way in which school leaders can achieve this, the study draws on a model of transformational leadership. The qualitative study uses a focus group, individual interviews and observations of three schools that have all achieved recognition as schools with excellent learner achievement: a public primary school, a public high school and an independent high school. The main research findings are that each of the three school leaders instinctively followed a transformational leadership style, and produced spaces that encouraged professional interaction amongst their teachers as well as strong collegial support for their spatial changes. The staffrooms have been modernised and equipped with lush furniture, flat screen TV‟s, appealing decorations and stimulating pictures, all with the purpose of lifting the spirits and energy levels of the staff. In addition, teachers‟ professional meeting rooms and confidential workspaces have been established. Classrooms have been changed into inviting and functional 21st century ICT learning spaces, with flexible use of furniture and stimulating visuals. Outdoor learning spaces and safe “emotional zones” have been constructed At all three schools the entrances and receptions areas have been made into welcoming spaces in which learners can gather for meetings, and the schools‟ symbols and achievements are showcased. Clear signposting makes the visitor feel engaged. Braai areas for teacher and parent functions ensure that the school keeps parents involved. The main findings about the embodied spaces in the school are that the three school leaders have changed the physical spaces at their schools into new mental spaces which influence the perception, mood and motivation of the users of that space.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie verken hoe skoolleiers die verskillende ruimtes in hul skole kan aanwend ten einde onderwysermotivering, en gevolglik ook leerderprestasie, te bevorder. Die navorsing konsentreer op hoe drie skoolhoofde in die Wes-Kaapse provinsie ruimtes geskep of heringerig het om nuwe, produktiewe leeromgewings teweeg te bring wat die gebruikers van hierdie ruimtes op 'n positiewe manier by onderrig betrek. Ingevolge artikel 4 van die Wet op Indiensneming van Opvoeders, Wet 76 van 1998 (PAM), moet alle skoolhoofde 'n bevorderlike ruimte vir onderrig en leer skep. Ten einde vas te stel wat sodanige leierskapsverantwoordelikheid behels, probeer hierdie studie die dinamiese wisselwerking tussen fisiese of waargenome (“perceived space”) en voorgestelde of veronderstelde (“conceived space”) ruimtes beskryf soos dit in die sosiale of belewingsruimtes (“lived spaces”) in 'n skool vergestalt word. Die navorsing gebruik Lefebvre se ruimtelike triade as teoretiese lens. Benewens die studiedoelwit om ondersoek in te stel na watter wisselwerking daar tussen Lefebvre se verskillende ruimtes in skole plaasvind, val die soeklig ook op hoe skoolleiers die skepping van hierdie ruimtes kan hanteer. Belewingsruimtes in skole sal slegs oor die nodige vergestalte betekenis beskik om onderrig en leer te bevorder indien die gebruikers van daardie ruimtes dit help skep en as hul eie aanvaar. Die studie put uit 'n model van transformasionele leierskap om lig te werp op hoe skoolleiers dít kan bereik. Hierdie kwalitatiewe studie gebruik 'n fokusgroep, individuele onderhoude sowel as waarnemings in drie skole wat bekend is vir hul uitnemende leerderprestasie: 'n openbare laerskool, 'n openbare hoërskool en 'n onafhanklike hoërskool. Die hoofbevindinge is dat elk van die drie skoolleiers instinktief 'n transformasionele leierskapstyl volg en ruimtes geskep het wat professionele wisselwerking tussen hul onderwysers sowel as sterk kollegiale steun vir hul ruimtelike veranderinge aanmoedig. Die personeelkamers is modern ingerig met gemaklike meubels, platskermtelevisies, aantreklike versierings en stimulerende prente, wat alles ten doel het om personeel se geesdrif en energievlakke te verhoog. Voorts is professionele vergaderlokale en vertroulike werkruimtes vir onderwysers tot stand gebring. Klaskamers is omskep in aantreklike en funksionele, 21ste-eeuse IKT-leerruimtes, met buigsame gebruik van meubels en stimulerende visuele elemente. Buitelugleerruimtes en veilige "emosionele sones" is ook geskep. By ál drie skole is die ingange en ontvangslokale in aanloklike ruimtes verander waar leerders vir vergaderings kan byeenkom en die skole se simbole en prestasies ten toon gestel word. Duidelike aanwysings betrek besoekers onmiddellik by die skoolomgewing. Braaigeriewe vir onderwyser-en-ouergeleenthede verseker ook voortdurende skakeling tussen die skool en ouers. Die hoofbevinding oor die belewingsruimtes in die skole is dat die drie skoolleiers die fisiese ruimtes by hul skole in nuwe geestesruimtes omskep het, wat die opvattings, gemoed en motivering van die gebruikers van daardie ruimtes beïnvloed.

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