'Leaders as professionals : what does this mean for teachers?' : a case study of five teacher leaders in an urban - primary school in KwaZulu-Natal.
The aim of this research is to understand the views of teachers regarding professionalism and leadership. As a researcher, I also wanted to investigate whether teachers were given opportunities to lead within a professional capacity in their schools and to examine the factors that promote the development of these teacher leaders as professionals as well as those factors that hinder such development. In view of the recent public servants strike in 2007 and 2010, teachers have been brought under the spotlight in a very negative manner. The teaching profession has been viewed with scrutiny ever since and most if not all teachers were being painted with the same brush of, lack of integrity and respect. The purpose of the study was to examine how teacher leaders performed leadership roles and also to establish whether such roles were within professional parameters or not. There was a need to understand how teacher leaders understood the term professionalism as well as to ascertain what factors promoted and hindered the development of teacher leaders as professionals. The study was conducted within a qualitative, interpretive paradigm and took the form of a case study of five educators, who were two Heads of Department and three post level one teachers’ in an urban primary school in KwaZulu-Natal. Data collection techniques included semi – structured individual interviews, a focus group interview, questionnaires and observation. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The findings of the study revealed that although teachers were actively engaging in leadership roles, very little was done to develop these teachers as professionals. This study acknowledges that management members of schools play a crucial role in the development of teacher leaders as professionals by creating opportunities for this professional development.
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