Perspectives of teachers on subject advisors as instructional leaders : a case study of two schools at Umbumbulu central circuit.
Dambuza, Nonhlanhla Charity.
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This was a study of two secondary schools and it was a case of perceptions of teachers on subject advisors as instructional leaders. To fulfil the purpose of the study, critical questions such as how teachers’ conceptualise the role of subject advisors in instructional leadership and what were teachers’ experiences of instructional support offered by subject advisors. To increase the validity of the findings and to ensure a cross-sectional representation of the various levels of classroom-based teachers, five participants (principal, two heads of department and grade 12 teachers) were purposively selected in each school. Qualitative data generation methods which were used were semi-structured interviews and document analysis. One of the most urgent agenda the government of South Africa seeks to deliver on, is quality education for all. In spite of the fact that since 1994, the government has been incrementally spending more on education than any other sector, there is little improvement in the quality of education. Research has established that district office-based officials are important role- players in supporting teachers to improve quality of teaching and learning, particularly during educational reform initiatives. It further states that differentiated and contextualised district office supports influences and shapes what teachers do in the classrooms. However, this study argues that there can never be a full understanding of what makes for effective teacher support without input from the teachers, who are the end-users of such support. Thus, it is important for professional development programme designers and subject advisors, in this case, to consider perspectives of teachers on what behaviours they think contribute to effective instructional support, for in the final analysis, teachers are the beneficiaries of such support. The findings of this study suggested that the participants believed that there are essential conditions that should prevail for successful professional development of teachers to occur. The converse was also found to be true in that the participants’ identified certain prevailing conditions which they believed sabotaged professional learning opportunities. It is thus important for the department of education to understand teachers’ views so that professional development programmes can be tailored to meet the needs of teachers.
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