The role of the headteacher in teacher professional development: A case of public primary school in Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Lilian Vikiru

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Wachira


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Although teacher professional development has been acknowledged as critical for improving teaching and learning, limited research has been done on how the head teacher can contribute to it especially at primary school context. The aim of this study was to investigate how a head teacher in an urban public primary school in Kenya has contributed to teachers' professional development. A head teacher, two subject panel heads and four teachers were studied using in depth one on one interviews, document analysis, incidental observations and informal interviews. The study revealed that there was a narrow understanding of professional development by the participants. Despite this, there were various ways in which the teachers improved their knowledge and practice. They included: attaining higher professional qualifications, attending workshops, seminars and INSETs and co-teaching the study also revealed that the head teacher in his responsibility contributed to teacher professional development in various ways. It included team building. Being a role model to the teachers, provision of resources such as time and money, promoting teachers specialization and interests and identifying the needs of teachers. However, lack of resources and lack of clear structures in professional development could have inhibited the head teacher from fully assisting teachers in professional development. Whereas the findings show that the head teacher in the public primary school contributed to teacher PD, there was no clear indication that the teachers applied what they had learnt in the various PD in school. The findings support the view that the head teacher plays a significant role in teacher professional development without which little or no learning takes place. Therefore from the findings, it was recommended that the head teacher in his responsibility needs to recognize the importance of teaching and learning, activities and put in measures to improve through supporting PD for teachers thereby contributing to teacher professional development

This document is available in the relevant AKU library