Exploring the experiences of primary school principals in transforming their schools into professional learning communities.
Msomi, Venable Thembizwi.
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School principals as curriculum leaders need to transform their schools into professional learning communities. The need for collective working among teachers, in schools is emerging.In the past, teachers have been working in isolated environments, and this practice has limitedtheir opportunities of receiving and giving support to other colleagues. Therefore, introduction ofcollaborative learning among teachers has been advocated by different researchers as a culture that allows for reciprocal growth among teachers. School principals as leaders can play a significant role in promoting and transforming schools into professional learning communities. As a result, a qualitative case study was undertaken to explore the experiences of two primary school principals in developing a collaborative learning culture among teachers in schools. The focus of the study was based on the assumption that these principals would have established this culture after completing an Advanced Certificate in Education - School Leadership (ACESL) which promoted collaboration in schools. The study has made use of semi-structured interviews and documents analysis to generate data. Interview sessions were recorded and transcribed before they were analysed. On one hand, the data from transcriptions was coded and the themes were developed from the coded data. On the other hand, documents were analysed through critical analysis; which was done to ensure reliability and conformability of documents. The results of the study revealed that, (i) Schoolprincipals are still trying to implement ideas learnt from ACESL programme on professional learning communities (ii) Schoolprincipals are faced with a challenge of instilling commitment on teachers and this challenge results from the lack of relevant leadership qualities from the principals. (iii) School principals are using motivation of learners and teachers, as well as the alternation of teachers between different grades as strategies to respond to their challenges (iv)School principalsare promoting professional learning communities through team working and staff meetings.