Exploring instructional leadership practices of school principals : a case study of three secondary schools in Umbumbulu circuit.
There are substantive external demands for improved learner achievement, particularly in secondary schools, and increasingly, principals have to bear the pressures that accompany these demands. Instructional leadership concept is being advocated one of the approaches that school leaders may consider in order to promote a culture of teaching and learning within their schools. Therefore a qualitative case study was undertaken to explore instructional leadership practices of three secondary school principals in Umbumbulu Circuit. The focus of the study was based on the assumption that principals were instructional leaders as it was the expectation of government policy. The study therefore, did not seek to find out if principals in the study were indeed instructional leaders, but it sought to understand the manner in which they practicalised this expectation. In short, the study sought to gain an insight into how secondary school principals in this area enacted instructional leadership and why they enacted it the way they did. Three schools were selected among those schools that had experienced drastic improvement in their matric results in the past five years or so. The research design employed was qualitative and semi-structured interviews with three principals and three educators. These interviews were audio taped and transcribed for analysis. The results indicated that principals enacted instructional leadership practices by (a) sharing vision among members of the school (b) monitoring instructions (c) encouraging professional development of their teaching staff (d) ensuring that instructional time was not interrupted (e) furnishing professional materials and resources to the teachers (f) monitoring and discussion assessment issues with the teachers (g) recognising and rewarding good performance and (h) preparing and sustaining learning environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. The main aim was to enhance teaching and learning in the schools as these principals strongly believed that it was their responsibility to do so.