Title

A principles' impact on teachers' classroom pedagogical practices

Date of Award

8-1-2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The principals and heads of schools are considered managers rather than academic leaders; they appear to be authoritarian bosses rather than facilitators or guides for their staff, particularly in developing countries (Oplatka, 2004). Literature, however, suggests that principals/heads could play a key role in improving teaching and learning at school (Lingard, 2003; Townsend, 1997); such leadership is termed as pedagogical leadership (Sergiovani, 1998), which emphasizes the development of learning communities by effective leaders (Mitchell, 2000). Research that has already been done on school leadership in Pakistan (Memon, 2000; Kanwar, 2000; Shafa, 2003; Khaki, 2005) reveals that principals or headteachers in Pakistan are mostly involved in managerial work. However, Kanwar (2000) and Khaki (2005) also share that heads are also found to be engaged in certain academic practices like visiting classrooms for observing the delivery of content and helping teachers academically. This observation hints towards the role of heads as academic leaders and demands further exploration of this notion. Against this backdrop, a research study was designed to explore the role of a private school leader in improving teachers' classroom pedagogical practices. The study was conducted in a private school in Karachi, which was selected on the basis of a set of criteria that sought an effective head of school. The study employed a qualitative inquiry approach and involved interviews with principal, teachers, and students. In addition, shadowing and observations of the principal and document analysis were used as additional sources of data in order to triangulate the findings. The data analysis and findings suggest that the links between the school leader and teachers' classroom pedagogical practices are quite complex, which can be categorized as of direct and indirect nature of pedagogical leadership in a private school. In direct relationship, the school leader acts as mentor, co-planner and guide; while in indirect relationship, the leader acts as facilitator, resource manager, and builder of a learning friendly environment. In addition to this, the principal uses different strategies like peer coaching, arranging professional development workshops inside and outside the school, and providing material resources to develop teachers professionally and students academically. Furthermore, findings also indicate that the relationship between the principal and different stakeholders also help him/her to act as a pedagogical leader. The study also shares some of the factors that challenge the principal to undertake school improvement.

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