The role of circuit managers in enhancing instructional leadership practices in schools : a phenomenological approach.
The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the circuit managers in enhancing instructional leadership practices in schools. The study explored what circuit managers actually do to support effective teaching and learning in schools. It explored the practices of circuit managers in leading, managing and supporting instructional leadership practices in schools. It also elicited the circuit managers’ views on the challenges they experienced as they support instructional leadership practices in schools. The study also investigated how circuit managers navigated the challenges they experienced as they support instructional leadership in schools. The research in this study was approached from an interpretive paradigm. The design of this study was qualitative and it employed a phenomenological strategy of inquiry. The sample selection of three circuit managers, one from the three divisions of the education district of Umlazi, was an attempt by the researcher to generate a balanced view from school circuits with different demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. Semi-structured interviews, documents review and observations constituted the research instruments for data generation. Local and international scholastic works on the instructional leadership practices of circuit managers were interrogated to compare and contrast what different literature said with what actually obtained. The study was underpinned by two theoretical frameworks, namely the instructional leadership and distributed leadership theories. The analysis and the discussions of the generated and presented data led to the findings that although circuit managers stand a better position than any other education district official to improve instructional leadership practices in schools, their involvement does not meet the demands and expectations of the position as prescribed by the policy documents. The findings were utilised as the basis for making conclusions. A significant conclusion that was gleaned from this study was that circuit managers should have as their primary focus student achievement and they needed to assume greater responsibility for improving student achievement. It was also concluded in the study that circuit managers face significant barriers in their attempts to support effective teaching and learning in schools. Recommendations, informed by the conclusions were presented to facilitate how each theoretical conclusion can be translated into workable practice of ensuring that circuit managers contribute meaningfully in supporting effective teaching and learning in schools.