A case study of teacher leadership in an education for learners with special educational needs school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Currently, in school leadership a distributed perspective is supported by scholars in this field. Teacher leadership is seen as a means of operationalising distributed leadership. Drawing on this, the aim of this study is to explore the experiences of teacher leadership in a special education needs school. The study seeks to answer the following key questions: What does it mean to be a teacher leader in an ELSEN (Education for Learners with Special Educational Needs School)? How do teachers enact teacher leadership in an ELSEN school? How does the SMT (School Management Team) promote/not promote teacher leadership in an ELSEN school? Distributed leadership and teacher leadership are used as theories underpinning the study. The study is located within the interpretive paradigm and employs a qualitative case study approach. One of the strategies that qualitative research encompasses is case studies. One of the advantages of case study research is that you can use various kinds of methods to collect data. Case study research is flexible in regard to data selection, methods of data collection and analysis. In this study the context was an ELSEN school in KwaZulu-Natal and the informative participants used were five teachers, two heads of departments and the deputy principal. They were purposively selected. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used to generate data. The findings revealed that teachers play a meaningful role inside their classrooms, but beyond the classroom, leadership roles are lacking. Teachers do not understand the term teacher leadership and teachers should have a vision for their school.
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