Leadership development of school principals : a case study of the role played by one teacher union.
Cele, Lucky Goodman Mabutho.
MetadataShow full item record
The focus of this study is on leadership development of school principals. There is a view in public discourse that a lack of sound school leadership is the cause for poor educational outcomes and dysfunctionality of public schools. A case study of one teacher union, namely, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) in KwaZulu-Natal was conducted. The study did not focus on all the activities (programmes) and different membership categories within this teacher union, but rather it only focused on its leadership development programmes for school principals. The study sought to establish the reasons why teacher unions should involve themselves in leadership development of school principals. Furthermore, the study focused on the strategies used by this teacher union to develop school principals and the impact such leadership development has on school principals in practice. The rationale of the study was not to make generalisations but rather to obtain a rich description of the role played by the teacher union in leadership development of school principals. This rationale is rooted in my experiences as a school principal and the general view in public discourse that teacher unions exist to destabilise education. This view is also strongly held even by education authorities. This has created a general belief among the public that teacher unions are a “nonsense” and should be outlawed. The problem with this belief is that it, either wittingly or unwittingly, disregards the contribution made by teacher unions in an endeavour to improve public education. The good work done by teacher unions is not made known to the public. The study was within the discipline of educational leadership and management. It was underpinned by a theory of Community of Practice. A qualitative approach was used in the study. The study was located in the interpretivist paradigm. Data generation was conducted through semi-structured and document analysis. The sample included three KZN provincial union officials, four leadership development programme facilitators and six school principals who have completed the union leadership development programme. Document analysis included minutes of union meetings, reports to the union meetings and union declarations. Findings and recommendations of the study emphasise a continued partnership of the unions and Department of Basic Education in leadership development programmes as well as continuous pre-service and in-service leadership development of school principals.