Novice teachers and teacher leadership : a case study of one secondary school in the KwaDukuza region.
The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of novice teachers with regard to teacher leadership. It sought to ascertain the importance of teacher leadership for novice teachers, to determine how teacher leadership is enacted by novice teachers and to examine the factors that enhance or hinder teacher leadership of novice teachers. Teacher leadership is an emerging field of study in many countries. Literature surrounding education practices suggest that a democratic and collaborative environment should be fostered. This study draws on the Distributed Leadership theory and Grant’s (2008) model of Teacher Leadership. Paradigmatically, this study is interpretive and is qualitative. A case study research design was used. Data was generated using focus group and semi-structured interviews. One secondary school in the KwaDukuza Region, KwaZulu-Natal was purposively selected as the case study school with the Principal, senior teachers and novice teachers serving as participants. The findings of the research revealed that novice teachers execute most of their leadership skills within the classroom. Little or no opportunities are given to them within the school environment to lead. As a result, the ideal characteristics of teacher leadership seem to have no place within the chosen school. Although novice teachers are aware of their importance as being part of the school leadership, very few leadership roles are filled by novice teachers within the school, among their colleagues and in their community at large. Findings also revealed that the school management team pays little attention to developing novice teachers as teacher leaders. This is one of the main obstacles that hinder the enactment of teacher leadership by novice teachers. In addition to this, lack of resources, time constraints and teacher overload affect novice teachers negatively in terms of taking on leadership roles. The research findings also reveal that the school operates under a stringent beauracratic management system. Decisions are left entirely to the school management team and the Principal. It was noted that both novice teachers and senior teachers express the similar outlook on the manner in which the school operates, that is an authorised leadership practice as opposed to democratic distributed leadership. Some of the recommendations that emerged from the findings were that of the school management team harnessing the enthusiasm of novice teachers to take on leadership roles and be part of the schooling community. The implementation of induction and mentoring programmes was a suggestion put forth by participants.