Understanding novice teachers' perception of the concept of teacher leadership in Kenya: An exploration study in four secondary schools

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Brown Onguko

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Mweru Mwingi


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The concept of teacher leadership has become increasingly popular after the failure of singular leadership to bring meaningful school reforms particularly in the developed world. However most studies of how teacher leadership is perceived have focused on experienced teachers leaving out the novice teachers. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to examine the perceptions of novice teachers about teacher leadership in their school contexts. Data were collected from four schools in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya. Semi-structured interviews with 12 novice teachers focussed on the various meanings they attached to teacher leadership, the benefits they got from their engagement in teacher leadership as well as the factors facilitating and or hindering teacher leadership in their schools. Data were analyzed using Grant's (2008) model of zones and roles of teacher leaders. Data provided indicate that the novice teachers perceived teacher leadership as activities done by the teachers while teaching in their classrooms as well as when working together with other teachers in curricular and extra-curricular activities both within their own schools and beyond their schools. These teachers also perceived teacher leadership as activities done by all teachers to bring whole school improvement. The data also indicate that novice teachers' engagement in teacher leadership was believed to bring whole school improvement as well as personal benefits to those involved. School leadership structure and culture, supportive principals and professional development opportunities were cited as factors facilitating teacher leadership in the study schools. However, teacher leadership was still largely perceived in terms of positions created within the school hierarchical structures and this limited the informal teacher leadership. Other barriers limiting teacher leadership include lack of time as well as lack of support from some of the teachers. These findings have significant implications for practice, policy and research.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library