The impact of leadership and management styles of the principals of Catholic secondary schools on school discipline in Limpopo province.
Mukoma, Albert Marubini.
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The purposes of this study are to first investigate various leadership and management styles of Catholic secondary school principals and their impact on school discipline and secondly to determine whether there is a correlation between leadership and management styles of secondary school principals and discipline in the school. The rationale behind the research topic is that the researcher has realised that many black public schools in South Africa are dysfunctional and cannot deliver quality learning and teaching. The reason for this sorry state of affairs is historical and well known. Most of these schools, to make the transition from dysfunctional to effectiveness, do not require courses in the market. What they require, and it is sorely missing, is strong and effective leadership. The role of a principal in a school is crucial. The success of the process of restoring the culture of teaching and learning rests to a large extent on the principal. This is mainly because he/she is the one who has to lead the entire school community in implementing whatever plans and programmes are to be put in place. Teaching is like riding a wild horse. Even though you're in the saddle it sometimes feels as if you're only barely in control and, if you stop paying attention for just one second, you will end up in the mud. One of the greatest challenges that teachers face when starting out in their careers is learning how to deal with unruly and badly behaved learners so that the rest of the class can get on with the lesson. Teachers often say that they are not paid to discipline learners they are paid to teach them. However, without discipline there can be little learning. Without discipline education is not possible. Discipline is the very foundation on which education should seek to build. Many of our secondary schools are still in crisis today because discipline is undermined. In Chapter one the problem to be researched, the statement of the problem and the purpose of study, general assumptions of study and definitions of terms were introduced. Chapter two examined the literature available. That was done to expand upon the context and the background of this study and to further define the problem and provide an empirical basis for the development of the hypothesis. Chapter two also examined the Leadership Traits theory, the Situational Contingency theory, the Pathgoal theory, Collaborative, Democratic or Participative leadership styles, Autocratic leadership style, Laissez Faire leadership style and leadership according to Gospel values. The Democratic and Situational contingency leadership styles were singled out as the styles of leadership applied most often in a number of organisations. Leadership according to Gospel values will be the most suitable, especially for principals in Catholic schools. It is very much intertwined with the democratic leadership style. There was strong evidence from the literature studied that these styles, if properly applied, can go a long way in helping the principals of schools to live up to the challenges they are facing in education. It is these leadership styles coupled with an understanding of transformation issues in education such as: new principles and values of education systems in South Africa; teaching and learning as the main aims of the education and management, self-reliant schools (self-managed), governance, building schools as learning organisations, and certain skills that could enable principals to be effective leaders in their schools. In order for principals to provide proper and effective leadership, they should be competent in the following aspects: • Stakeholders' involvement in the management of schools • the use of different leadership styles as propounded by the Situational Contingency Theory • team work, and • effective and efficient communication with stakeholders. Chapter three examined the overview of Catholic Education in South Africa, The distinctive Religious character of the Catholic school, Characteristics of a Catholic school, school discipline and how poor school discipline can be prevented and a model for effective discipline in a school. It also focused briefly on the impact of the South African Schools Act No 84 of 1996 and the Bill of Rights as enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa on school discipline. In Chapter four the research methodology was examined. This included the structuring of the questionnaire to try to get factual information, opinions and attitudes about the problem. The questionnaire focused on the following: • stakeholders' involvement in management tasks • the leadership and management styles of principals • how the principal is perceived by stakeholders • communication with stakeholders • teamwork • parental involvement and • how discipline in the school is perceived by stakeholders. The questionnaire was then administered to all educators, members of the school governing bodies, members of the Representative Council of Learners and principals of all Secondary Catholic schools in Limpopo. Chapter five deals with data analysis, interpretation, findings and recommendations. In conclusion, of all the leadership styles discussed, the Situational Contingency, and emerging participatory democracy and leadership according to Gospel values appear to be the most appropriate styles of leadership in South African Education today. The three leadership styles are like rosebuds in that they bring forth positive results but also have associated thorns and dangers. If we can locate the thorns, then we can learn how to hold the flower without injury. Different leaders and managers adopt different styles of leading and managing their organisation (school). As a result there is no single perfect leadership or management style. It is, however, important that leaders must be able to weigh and consider ensuing or confronting situations and circumstances and to adapt accordingly. Good educational establishments require disciplined environments. Teachers, parents and students need clear strategies and guidelines that encourage learning. They need to ensure that learning is well structured and orderly. Good relationships need to be maintained in learning institutions to improve motivation and raise the quality of education for all.
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