Qualitative explorative study of role of a head teacher in promoting a collaborative learning culture in a government secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The focus of this study was to explore the role of a headteacher in creating a collaborative learning culture in a government secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan. In the context of Pakistan, particularly in public sector schools, headteachers play their role as an administrator, which develops a kind of distance between the headteacher and the other stakeholders in the schools. Such kind of distance develops isolation not only between the teacher and the headteacher but also among teachers as well. Most of the time, they work individually and do not share their learning. Research in Pakistan confirms that this is because of the lack of awareness about their role. This small scale explorative case study under the qualitative research paradigm has been employed to understand the role of a headteacher in promoting a collaborative culture in a secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan. Multiple sources of data collection such as semi-structured interviews, formal and informal observation, field notes, and document analysis, were employed to triangulate the data. The findings of the study revealed that headteachers play a key role in developing a collaborative learning culture in schools. He/she develops such an environment where the stakeholders are involved in decision making process. This leads to building trust, and valuing each other’s' ideas. In this particular study, the headteacher acts as an educational leader due to her awareness about her role and responsibilities, and was able to initiate the collaborative culture in her school. Her participatory leadership style allowed her to involve the stakeholders particularly teachers in decision - making, and she was able to build good relationship and trust by valuing stakeholders' ideas. The headteacher played multiple roles such as a change agent, a learner, a facilitator, and as a professional development teacher (PDT) in order to create a collaborative learning culture in the school. Developing an enabling learning environment in her school was not an easy task for her. However, through dedication, commitment, and good relationship with the stakeholders, she was able to achieve the success to some extent. The most impeding factors in promoting collaborative environment were: teachers' beliefs, an exam-oriented curriculum, teachers' annual confidential report practices, political interference, and teachers' part-time jobs. The study concludes that if there is will' and skill', there is always a way towards success.

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