School leardership development and professional learning communities : a case study of three primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Simamane, Maureen Thokozile.
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The purpose of the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) (School Leadership) is to empower school principals to develop the skills, knowledge and values needed to lead and manage successful schools. The study sought to achieve three objectives. Firstly, to find out if the school principals were able to use the learning from the ACE (School Leadership) programme in establishing the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Secondly, to find out if the school principals have succeeded in establishing and sustaining PLCs in their schools. Thirdly, to find out the extent to which school principals are succeeding in transforming their schools through PLCs. The theoretical framework used in the study were Leadership Development Theory and PLCs drawing from the Community of Practice (CoP). The study was located in the interpretive paradigm using the qualitative approach. A case study methodology was employed. Semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews and document analysis were the data production techniques. I sampled three primary schools led by school principals who successfully completed the ACE (School Leadership) programme between 2007 and 2009 in the Ilembe District of KwaZulu-Natal based on convenience. The school principals of each of the three primary schools were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. In sampling teacher participants, five teachers were sampled in each of the three schools. Two senior teachers from the foundation phase, two senior teachers from the intermediate phase and one senior teacher from the senior phase were selected. I also reviewed staff minutes for the period starting from January 2012 to June 2013. The data generated was thematically analysed. The study found that two school principals were able to establish PLCs in their schools and sustain them. The study also found that PLCs had massive impact in transforming the school. I conclude that the establishment of PLCs in schools promotes learning together and sharing of ideas and teaching techniques, among the teachers supported by school principal.