The enactment of teacher leadership in an urban primary school : a negative case.
The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the enactment of teacher leadership within an urban primary school. My focus was to look at the factors that enhanced or hindered this enactment. The research took the form of a case study which was conducted within the qualitative research paradigm. The study took place in an urban primary school in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The participants included three post level one educators. Data were collected by means of a multi method approach with techniques that included an observation schedule, semi- structured interviews, a focus group interview and self reflective journaling. Data were continuously analyzed throughout the research process using thematic content analysis and Grant’s (2008) model of teacher leadership. Findings from the research proved that the enactment of teacher leadership is still in its infancy at the case study school. Due to the fact that the school is still hierarchically controlled by an autocratic principal, the School Management Team (SMT) does not see the need to create the space for teachers to enact leadership. Teacher leadership is therefore restricted to the classroom and to teachers working with other teachers in curriculum and extra curriculum activities. Very little teacher leadership was evident in the area of whole school development neither in the case study school nor from the school leading into the community. Barriers to teacher leadership included the autocratic leadership style of the principal, work overload, time constraints, lack of leadership opportunities created by the SMT and a culture of favoritism by the principal. Despite these many barriers, the aspiring teacher leaders showed high motivational levels to participate in leadership roles provided that the leadership at the school created the space for teachers to become leaders.