School principals' instructional leadership practices : a case study of two schools in the Pinetown District.
This research project explored the instructional leadership practices of school principals and was conducted as a case study in one education district of Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal. The study included two school principals and eight post level one teachers at a primary and secondary school. It is within the context of the public school system in the Pinetown district that this research explored and investigated what school principals do to enact their roles of supporting instructional leadership practices in schools, including their overall experiences. This qualitative study was located within an interpretive research paradigm. Instructional leadership theory was adopted for the study. International, national and continental literature was reviewed to seek greater insight into the research topic. In-depth semi-structured interviews and documents reviews constituted data generation instruments. Data generated was analysed employing thematic analyses that identified codes, categories and themes. The conclusions arrived at indicate a general conclusion that the school principals’ unique approaches and differing individual circumstances impact upon and influence their responsibilities of supporting teaching and learning practices in schools. These circumstances include resource availability, monetary circumstances, exposure to professional development, induction programme and the support of management which impact on the effectiveness of the school principal as an instructional leader. Effective instructional leadership can be a catalyst for improved academic performance of schools. The study revealed that the school principals needed to have a clear understanding of what their instructional leadership roles entail in order to enact this role. The conclusions arrived at and the recommendations made indicate that school principals undergo training and professional development workshops in order to gain the pedagogical knowledge and skills necessary to lead as an instructional leader. Other factors impeding the instructional tasks of the school principals were also identified in the research viz. that the subject advisors were not carrying out their duties in supporting school principals’ or the impact of educational policies within the context of schools. In the light of the foregoing recommendations were made that aimed at improving the craft of the school principals as instructional leaders.