Subject advisors as instructional leaders : a case study of six subject advisors in Ilembe District.
Mthembu, Sithembiso Goodwill.
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The aim of this study was to investigate the subject advisors’ instructional leadership practices in schools. It sought to establish whether instructional leadership is given a central role it deserves, both inside and outside the classroom or is being overshadowed by other leadership theories and practices. The pre-democratic era was characterised by four different education departments, namely, House of Delegates (for Indians), House of Representatives (for Coloureds), House of Assembly (for Whites) and KwaZulu Department of Education and Culture (for Blacks). In the past, there were no subject advisors that supported teaching and learning in some South African schools, especially the KwaZulu Department of Education and Culture. The instructional leadership was a sole responsibility of the school principal. Further, the school principal worked as principal, deputy principal, School Head of Department and a classroom-based educator. That is one of the reasons why they paid too much attention to teaching and office administration at the expense of instructional leadership which was supposed to be the heartbeat of any teaching and learning organisation. Even though, teaching and learning remained the core-business of the school but in the contrary, the management part of it suffered greatly. Leadership was not distributed but it revolved around one person who was projected as a glorified leadership figure and perceived to be a source of all wisdom. The participants raised various concerns about the status of instructional leadership in this education district’s schools. One education district was purposively selected as a research site on the basis of proximity and the consistent unsatisfactory learner performance. A total number of six subject advisors participated in this research study after having satisfied all research ethical requirements. A qualitative research design was utilised to guide this study. The research is located in an interpretivist paradigm because of the nature of the participants and the phenomenon under investigation. It utilised semi-structured interviews and documents review as data generation methods. The findings revealed that subject advisors’ instructional leadership was hindered by a number of factors such as lack of resources, School Heads of Department’s lack of curriculum management capacity, teacher unions’ power struggles and non-availability of well structured training programmes informed by subject advisors’ professional and academic needs. Lastly, various conclusions based on Chapter Four and recommendations were presented in Chapter Five.