The enactment of teacher leadership : a case study in the Eenhana School circuit, Namibia.
Hashikutuva, Saima Ndesheetelwa.
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Since independence in Namibia in 1990, schools have been required to transform themselves from hierarchical organisations with autocratic leadership to more democratic forms of leadership which allow greater participation in leadership by teachers. This shift assumes that effective leadership and management of schools can secure and sustain school improvement. Against this backdrop, the purpose of my study was to explore the enactment of teacher leadership in three public schools in the Eenhana circuit of the Ohangwena region in Namibia and to examine the factors that enhance or inhibit this enactment. My study, located in the Namibian schooling system, was a replication of a multi-case study project conducted in South Africa during 2008-2009 by 11 Master of Education students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. My study was conducted within a qualitative interpretive paradigm and I adopted a case study of three Namibian schools with three teacher leaders per school as the unit of analysis. As in the original study, the instruments that I used to collect the data included a survey questionnaire, focus group interviews, individual interviews, selfreflective journals, observations and document analysis. All the educators, including the three teacher leaders at each of the three schools completed questionnaires following which the three teacher leaders at each school were interviewed using a semi-structured focus group interview method. The teacher leaders also provided information through journal writing. In addition, these teacher leaders were observed and I examined the school documents, such as minutes of meetings, to find out how they engaged in leadership roles in their institutions. Semi-structured individual interviews were also conducted with the principal and the secretary of each of the three selected schools to acquire contextual information about the schools. The Statistical Package of Social Sciences was used to analyse the quantitative data while qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis and, in particular, a model of teacher leadership (Grant, 2008). The findings of my study indicated that, although teacher leadership was a new concept to the majority of educators who took part in my study, teacher leadership was enacted at all the three schools. Teacher leadership was enacted differently at each of the three schools depending on the culture and structure of each school. At School A, teacher leadership was enacted successfully across the first three zones of the model within a dispersed distributed framing. At School B, teacher leadership was restricted to the first two zones, in the classroom and with other teachers and learners with little leadership distribution. At Schools C, teacher leadership was evident across all four zones of the model and classified as emergent with a dispersed distributed leadership framing. Barriers that prevented the development of teacher leadership in these schools were experienced as time, hierarchical structure, an autocratic principal and the exclusion of teachers in chairing of meetings. Factors that enhanced teacher leadership included collaborative and collegial cultures, teamwork, good communication, shared vision, collaborative decision-making, teachers-led initiatives and the involvement of learners in leadership roles. The dissertation concludes with recommendations for further research and practice in relation to the concepts of teacher leadership and distributed leadership in Namibia.