Teachers' perceptions and experiences of teamwork and collaboration and how these influence school effectiveness : a case study of two primary schools within the uMgungundlovu District KwaZulu-Natal.
The South African education system has, since 1994 gone through numerous changes and is still in the process of transformation. Even the changes that are happening outside schools like the fast growing pace of technology put pressure on our schools to transform as we are living in a global village. Given the current political turmoil in our country, it is surprising that education still receives so much attention. I am therefore advocating, within our own department and beyond for more collaborative ways of working so as to always improve the way things are done. Our department is trying ceaselessly through policies and many other strategies to engage in the betterment of our schooling system but I feel that such interventions have not had much impact. A lot still needs to be done to engage people on the grassroots like teachers who are the implementers of most of these policies, parents and learners so as to get to the actual root of our education crisis. All what this means is that the problems in our schools are too huge and complicated for individuals to handle. We need co-operatives and strong partnerships for organisational development. I am convinced that such will have an impact on the schools` effectiveness. In an attempt to get a true sense of what it means to work together, as the teachers in the study understood teamwork and collaboration to be, a case study of two primary schools within Umgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal was conducted. This was done, as Kothari (1990) advocates, to deepen my perception and to get a clear insight on the subject of teamwork and collaboration as well as to investigate this “phenomenon within a real life context”, (Maree 2007, p.5). Indeed the study revealed that there was teamwork and collaboration taking place in these schools though to a certain degree because of certain factors that either hindered or enhanced their implementation. There were also benefits as well as challenges experienced by the teachers in the study that were associated with the implementation of these concepts. Teachers reported many positive experiences which included their empowerment and improved learner achievement which came partly as a result of the support they got from their School Management Teams (SMTs). They unanimously articulated the positive effects. The questions that underpinned the study were answered and for any shortcomings that were encountered, recommendations are given in the last chapter of this dissertation, chapter five to only enhance it.