Perceptions of principals in promoting professional learning communities : a case study of three principals.
Principals must play a significant role in transforming schools into professional learning communities (PLCs). They attended the Advanced Certificate in Education-School Leadership (ACE:SL) programme which intended to empower them with the leadership skills to lead and manage their schools effectively. This culture is supported by different researchers, the aim is for teachers to work collaboratively to achieve a common goal. Semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used to generate data. On the other hand, documents were analysed through critical analysis, which was done to ensure reliability and confirmability of interviews. This study is located in the interpretivist paradigm. The participants were purposively selected. A qualitative case study was undertaken to explore perceptions of three secondary principals in promoting professional learning communities. The study sought to answer the following critical questions: What are the principals’ perceptions about promoting professional learning communities in schools at Pinetown District? Why do principals promote professional learning communities the way they do? How do the principals deal with challenges they experience when promoting professional learning communities? The findings show that principals played a key role in promoting PLCs in school. The principal attended ACE:SL programme, which assisted them to apply leadership skills acquired from attending the course. Principals believed in PLCs but they faced many challenges some of which were caused by teachers. The principals decided to formulate strategies. The strategies were to encourage teachers which they did by motivating them and offered them incentives. They also encouraged them to network with other best preforming schools. The principals believed that if the principal did not attend the course he/she would not be able to lead and manage the school effectively.