«by SILVIA GONAONE MAKGONE submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of MAGISTER TECHNOLOGIAE in the subject HUMAN RESOURCE ...»
2.6 Behaviour patterns of effective principals Vision, resourcefulness, school improvement processes, instructional support and monitoring were identified by Rhodes et al., (1984:13) as behaviour patterns of effective principals. The researcher will use these identified patterns as a basis to make a brief
review on how these patterns are reflected in literature as contributors to effectiveness:
Vision: Effective principals have a sense of vision as to the kind of school and learning environment they intend to create. They articulate goals, directions, and priorities for their school to citizens, faculty, and students (Rhodes et al.,1984:13).
Bush (2003:278) suggests that vision has been regarded as an essential component of effective leadership for almost 20 years, and that heads are motivated to work hard ‘because their leadership is the pursuit of their individual visions’.
Fullan (as cited by Bush, 2008) contradicts the above by saying that visionary leaders
may damage rather than improve their schools:
“The current emphasis on vision in leadership can be misleading. Vision can blind leaders in a number of ways... The high-powered, charismatic principal who ‘radically transforms the school’ in four or five years can... be blinding and misleading as a role model... my hypothesis would be that most such schools decline after the leader leaves... Principals are blinded by their own vision when they feel they must manipulate the teachers and the school culture to conform to it”.
The above quotation teaches us that visionary leadership can be harmful if it is overdone and mostly when it is only owned by the leader who is imposing it on others.
It is therefore good that a vision of a school should be shared and owned by the whole school community, for it to survive when the leader leaves the school.
Resourcefulness: Rhodes et al., (1984) argues that effective principals do not stop with the limited resources provided them through normal channels, It is rare that an urban principal accomplishes much by way of school improvement if he or she is not a bit of a maverick. While not necessarily defying the system, effective principals demonstrate ingenuity in convincing central office personnel, parent groups, business leaders, and others of the school’s needs. Robinson et al., (2008) put this as “resourcing strategically”, stating that the word “strategic” signals that the leadership activity is about securing resources that are aligned with instructional purposes, rather than leadership skill in securing resources per se. Thus, the measure should not be interpreted as an indicator of skill in fundraising, proposal writing, or partnering with business, as those skills may or may not be applied in ways that serve key instructional purposes. The ultimate resourcing will be how principals can influence student achievement through their decisions about staffing and teaching resources.
School improvement Processes: Effective principals plan for school improvement.
All leaders need to spend considerable time earning “people power” beyond the “position power” conveyed with their title. Effective leaders seek to develop a feeling that the organisation cares about its employees and values their contribution. (Rhodes et al., 1984:13) Robinson et al., (2008) state that the leadership dimension that is most strongly associated with positive student outcomes is that of promoting and participating in teacher learning and development. They further allude to that the leadership in higher performing schools is also judged by teachers to be significantly more successful than the leadership of lower performing schools in protecting teachers from undue pressure from education officials and from parents.
Instructional Support: Effective principals are a visible entity in all phases of school life and provide active support to teachers. They spend much time in a manner regarded by teachers as helpful. The difference between effective principals and others seems to lie in their knowledge of quality instruction, and this drives their judgement on how to spend their time (Rhodes et al., 1984:13). Robinson et al., (2008) argue that the closer educational leaders get to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely they are to have a positive impact on students’ outcome. Friedkin and Slater (as cited by Robinson et al., 2008) state that the principals in higher achieving schools are more likely to be seen by staff as a source of instructional advice, which suggest that they are both more accessible and more knowledgeable about instructional matters than their counterparts in lower achieving schools.
Monitoring: Effective principals know more about how students are doing in Mathematics or Composition or Art than other principals, and they use the information as the basis for setting new priorities and as valuable feedback to teachers. (Rhodes et al., 1984:13) The leader involvement in classroom observation and subsequent feedback was also associated with higher performing schools. The teachers in such schools reported that their leaders set and adhered to clear performance standards of teaching. Heck (as cited by Robinson et al., 2008) found through research that there was greater emphasis in higher performing schools on ensuring that staff systematically monitored student progress and that test results were used for the purpose of programme improvement.
The afore-discussed behaviours of effective principals are giving guidelines on how principals can assess themselves and also use the behaviour patterns to bring productive transformation within the whole school process.
2.7 Roles and responsibilities of a principal in a Namibian school The job description of a principal in a Namibian school is set out in the relevant
documentation as follows:
• To ensure that the school is managed satisfactorily and in compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and personnel administration measures as prescribed.
• To ensure that the education of the learners is promoted in a proper manner and in accordance with approved policies.
• To be involved at school management level with responsibilities relative to grade implementation, evaluation of teaching programmes, teaching, supervision, administration and in-service development, inspection and guidance of teachers at the school.
Core duties of the job:
The duties and responsibilities of the principal are individual and varied. Depending on the approaches and needs of the particular school the duties and responsibilities
include, but are not limited to, the following:
2. Promoting a positive school climate
3. Creating an effective learning environment
4. Leading and managing the staff
5. Effective deployment of staff and resources
6. Interaction with stakeholders
7. Administration The list only contains the core duties while under each core duty there are several responsibilities to be handled by the principal that are not listed. Due to the differences in educational achievement arising from historical, social and geographical causes, the Ministry of Education came up with several initiatives to level up standards so that all schools may advance towards the standards of the best. For this study the following
initiatives as identified by the Ministry of Education are of importance:
1. Guidelines for school principals
2. Education and Training Sector Improvement Program (ETSIP)
3. National Standard and Performance Indicators for Schools in Namibia It is the responsibility of the principals in the Namibian schools to know the content of these documents as to get leadership guidance given to them and also to make sure whether they are fulfilling the mandate as set out in the mentioned educational documents.
2.8 Alignment between the problem statement and the literature review The study was based on three schools perceived to be producing poor academic results. Evidence is shown by the results as depicted in the presented tables 1.1 and
1.2 in chapter one. Citations from literature especially newspapers regarding the academic performance in Omaheke Region also indicated that stakeholders were not satisfied with the results in that region. The researcher then undertook to investigate the contribution of the principal’s leadership in three selected schools.
In the literature review a strategic leader is viewed as someone who is leading a strategic school, and a strategic school is seen as a school which is educationally effective. The behaviours of a principal who is able to bring about academic achievement to a school, through his leadership are highlighted in chapter two. Davies (2006) in chapter two is of the opinion that schools that want to become strategically focused need to prioritise on developing powerful strategic processes rather than neat plans that do not always affect practice. Hallinger (2005) argues that these leaders are goal-oriented, they are able to define a clear direction for the school and motivate others to join the direction which focuses directly on the improvement of student academic outcomes. The processes include developing school- vision, -mission, strategic conversation, and strategic capability, monitoring instruction, monitoring student progress and transforming the school to academic excellence. All the aforementioned were seen to be made possible by a principal as a leader who offers instructional leadership to teachers. It is through this understanding that the researcher felt that leadership contribution to poor academic performance in the Omaheke schools needs to be investigated.
It is from Dunford et al., (2000), through literature review in chapter two, that it is established that management makes the school effective but leadership makes the school excel academically. This statement thus confirms that leadership impacts on student academic outcomes. For the latter to happen the principal should exercise instructional leadership that directly relates to teaching and learning (Marks & Printy, 2003). It is further stated that instructional leadership also refers to all other functions that contribute to student learning including managerial behaviours.
The researcher tried to establish through literature review the type of leadership which when applied would solve the problem of poor academic performance in the schools.
Through comparison it came to light that instructional leadership compared to other leadership styles would produce the required academic results in the schools. It is due to the latter that the researcher opted for a research instrument that would assess the instructional leadership of the principals to look at their contribution to the results that are produced.
The instrument will measure all those behaviours of a principal that contribute to academic achievement within a school and it will be explained in detail in the next chapter.
2.9 Conclusion The chapter was introduced by giving different definitions of the concepts strategy and strategic leader as portrayed in different literature. An attempt was also made to give the characteristics of a strategic leader by Davies (2003) and through different reviews done. These characteristics are considered to be gears that enhance effectiveness in school leadership.
Different factors that contribute to effective schooling are identified and discussed i.e., leadership forces and leadership levels from which a principal can operate to improve and maintain quality schooling. Although school principals’ leadership is seen as the primary factor which impacts student outcome in the literature, a few is of the opinion that the trick lies with the leadership style of the principal and not leadership per se. It is because of the contradicting opinions that this study focused on the transformational and instructional leadership styles and compared them to identify the one which would have more impact on the student outcomes, although the combination of the two leadership styles was seen as the best to trigger results.
Within the discussions it became evident that a principal with vision, who is resourceful, who is involved in the school improvement process, who gives instructional support and monitors results of a school will be successful and is seen as effective in his/her task, while students in that school will deliver the required results.
The chapter ends with the roles and responsibilities of a principal in a Namibian school as set out by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry, in recognising the undesirable performance in schools, gave some guidelines to the leaders in schools in the quest to improve educational performance that is judged by student outcomes.
The next chapter discusses the methodology employed during the research process.
3.1 Introduction Through the literature review, it was reported that academic performance in schools can be linked to the leadership style of the principal. Therefore this study focused on instructional leadership as empirically researched by Hallinger (2005).
For the purpose of this study, the researcher will determine whether instructional leadership exists in three selected poor performing Omaheke schools and the relationship of leadership with academic performance.
The survey measures the perceptions of teachers and inspectors regarding the principal’s instructional leadership behaviour in the three schools, so that inferences could be made regarding the possible relationship between reported principal leadership behaviours and student achievement.
To enable the analysis of data in a structured manner, the researcher used an existing instrument which is proved to have success in collecting data to assess the instructional leadership of principals.
3.2 Hypothesis The hypothesis represents the formal statement of the researcher’s prediction of the relationship that exists among the variables under investigation. Johnson & Christensen (2004) and Punch (2005:38) gave a simple definition of the hypothesis as “a predicted answer to a research question”. He further states that to say we have a hypothesis is to say we can predict what we will find in an answer to a question. The researcher, through the chosen instrument and subsequent analysis of data intends to prove or