'It's about normal teachers like me' : a case study of three teacher leaders in an urban primary school.
Jasson, Alphonso Eric Ordwall.
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Traditionally South African Schools are characterised by the hierarchical nature of their management structures. The principal is the head of the school and is accountable to the Department of Education. Post 1994 school management teams are in place in schools and membership includes the principal, deputy principal and HOD‟s who hold the formal management positions. Teachers who are not formally appointed to leadership positions are categorized as level-one teachers. Hence, this dissertation works from the premise that these teachers play an important role as leaders, albeit in an informal capacity. These teachers play an important role as leaders, albeit in an informal capacity. Teacher leadership enactment is prevalent in South African Schools, but to varying degrees. Every teacher is a potential teacher leader and therefore every school has an immense wealth of expertise in terms of teacher leadership. However, within the context of their environments, human resources are utilized to varying degrees in the different schools. The research questions which guided this study included: “How is teacher leadership enacted in an urban primary school?” and “What factors promote or hinder this enactment?” The study was designed as a case study which was conducted within the interpretive paradigm and was mainly qualitative in nature. Data were gathered by means of survey questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, a focus group interview, journal entries and observation schedules. The case study was of an urban primary school in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Data were predominantly qualitative and were analysed using thematic content analysis. Findings of the study were that teacher leadership enactment occurred across all four zones, mostly in zone one (in the classroom) and zone two (working with other teachers and learners outside the classroom in curricular and extra-curricular activities). Teacher leadership enactment was very restricted in zone three (outside the classroom in whole school development). Enhancing factors included that there was shared decision-making, a collaborative learning environment and delegation of duties from an informal position. 4 The main barriers were a lack of dialogic space, an overemphasis on control by the SMT and lack of time to enact teacher leadership.