CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL CONTEXTUALISATION OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
In the previous chapter, a review of the theoretical and conceptual framework underlying the notion of school management and leadership development was undertaken in order to situate the research within the context of the body of knowledge on school management. This chapter focuses on the rationale for the professional development of newly promoted secondary school heads and discusses the theoretical framework that informs the design, content and process of management development programmes (MDP) for beginning secondary school heads (BSSHs). Such a discussion is appropriate as it may provide a deeper understanding of the key concepts and principles that relate to the development of a curriculum for newly promoted secondary school heads.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES FOR BSSH
The theoretical framework that informs the MDP for BSSHs will be based on the social constructivist theory of learning, particularly Ettienne Wenger’s social learning theory and Levi Vygotsky’s social development theory. These two theories have been considered to be appropriate for this study because they provide the researcher with a conceptual understanding of the psychology of learning that helps to explain the approaches that could be used to impart the knowledge, experiences and skills required for newly promoted secondary school heads. In addition, the two theories will also be relied upon to provide insight into the modalities that deal with the design, selection of content and implementation of an MDP for BSSHs.
The social constructivist theory of learning posits that human beings construct knowledge as they interact with the environment (Eloff & Ebersohn 2004:24). The major view espoused by this paradigm is that learning occurs in a social and cultural context in which participants acquire knowledge through collaboration and active participation. This means that learners are therefore responsible for their own learning as they derive meaning from experiences that they acquire within a social setting. The instructor simply plays the role of a facilitator by creating the appropriate environment for learning as well as providing support to the learner. As stated previously, attention will be given to the socio-cultural view of learning as propounded by Etienne Wenger (Wenger 2000:226) and Levi Vygotsky (Tuckman & Monetti 2011:73).
The social learning theory
The social learning theory is the brainchild of Etienne Wenger. According to this theory learning is a social process in which knowledge, skills and attitudes are acquired through interaction within a social learning system (Wenger 2000:226). The theory also asserts that the construction of knowledge occurs naturally within a given context and culture. The major tenet of the social learning theory is the notion of the community of practice (CoP). According to Wenger (2000:229) and Tight (2000:117) CoPs are age-old phenomena in which people involved in a common craft or practice interact within their communities to share knowledge and expertise. Members within a specific community define the knowledge that is specific to their community and develop concepts, models and language that are peculiar to that trade and which are then shared among members. Participation in the community helps members not only to share ideas and experiences but to define the real competences that characterise a particular profession.
Wenger (2000:227) avers that a CoP is primarily focused on learning through a process of engagement. There are four elements that define the process of learning within a CoP and these are community, identity, meaning and practice as shown in figure 3.1.
The term ‘community’ refers to a group of people who subscribe to a common craft or practice and who are bound by a sense of belonging and shared purpose (Cox 2005:535; Kimble & Hildreth 2005:103). In terms of the definition cited above, the term ‘community’ is used to denote the relationships that emerge around a practice. Members within a CoP engage in joint activities and share information and experiences, particular to their trade, among themselves. According to Wenger and Snyder (2000: 141), a central feature of the CoP is its capacity to transmit professional skills and best practices among members. This implies that a CoP is characterised by the existence of norms, standards and a competence framework that regulate a particular practice within a given community. The existence of norms that provide commonality within a community implies that a CoP is characteristically marked by a boundary that delineates members of the same profession from non-members. The boundary of a CoP is, however, fluid to the extent that new members can be allowed access into the community. According to Wenger (1998:73), three dimensions help to maintain a state of cohesion among members within a CoP. The three dimensions are mutual engagement, joint enterprise and a shared repertoire. Mutual engagement, for one, entails the active participation of members as they seek to share knowledge and endeavour to improve their practice. Interaction is an essential vehicle for the transfer of knowledge from the experienced peers within the community to the less experienced. The prevalence of trust and good relationships among members help to foster a culture of collaboration that sets the enabling context for the exchange of knowledge to take place (Evetts 2014:30). Joint enterprise is the other dimension of a CoP that points to the existence of shared goals among members. Lastly, a CoP’s third dimension has to do with a shared repertoire. This refers to the traditions, routines, language, tools, concepts and symbols that a particular community has developed in the course of its history. The repertoire helps to define a practice and provides meaning and interpretation to the activities that characterise a particular profession.
Identity is a central element of the concept of CoP. It is central to the idea of an individual becoming a member of a community. Wenger (1998:5) asserts that the process of learning within a CoP shapes individuals’ history and experiences to the extent that they would belong to a particular community. An individual participates within a CoP in order to acquire skills and become an expert in line with the set standards and competences of the profession. According to Wenger (2000:228), learning leads to a process of realignment in which participants use their own experience to improve competence. This process ultimately leads to identification in which the individual seeks to become part of a community and subscribes to its norms. In order for learning to facilitate the identification of members, it must be structured in such a way that it espouses the range of competences and standards that define a particular profession.
The concept of meaning relates to the way individuals participate in their community and obtain experiences that help them to gain a deeper understanding of their real practice (Wenger 1998:53). The implicit conceptualisation emanating from the description above is that meaning is achieved through a process of negotiation within the CoP. The negotiation of meaning is based on two elements: reification and participation. Reification refers to the artefacts, documents, processes and symbols that define a particular practice. Participation entails the active involvement of members of a community in the process of interpreting artefacts and symbols in order to achieve meaning.
The element of practice denotes that members within a CoP are practitioners who not only belong to the same profession but who also share experience, tools and knowledge (Wenger & Trayner 2015:13). In order for proper learning to take place, there is a need to construct a knowledge base of the skills and competences that define a particular trade. The term ‘practice’ can be used to either refer to the profession of members of a CoP or to imply the concept of learning by doing. In terms of its later sense, it can be stated that knowledge sharing is a central feature of a CoP (Klein 2008:43). This implies that CoPs play a critical role in generating and distributing knowledge among members of a given community. On the basis of the above, it must be noted that for any meaningful learning to occur, it must take place within a social context in which the experienced members inculcate the appropriate technical skills and knowledge associated with the practice to the novices and less experienced.
The social learning theory is strongly related to Jean Lave’s situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger 1991:63). Like the social learning theory, the situated learning theory avers that learning is situated within a context. According to Browns, Collins and Duguid (1989 in Caffarella and Merriam 2000:59), situated learning is a function of ‘the activity, context and the culture in which it is developed and used’. This suggests that interaction is a central feature of the process of learning within a CoP as it enables learners to acquire knowledge from their experienced peers. The novices initially join a community and participate in learning from the fringes in a process called legitimate peripheral participation (Wenger & Snyder 2000:140; Hoardley 2012:288). As the learners steadily develop new knowledge, they become more active and begin to move gradually from the periphery to the centre where they can gain expertise in a particular field through the support of more experienced peers. This implies that learning within a CoP takes place when learners have access to experts who can transmit knowledge to the former.
Professional development programmes for school leaders provide a clear example of learning within a social context in which knowledge is shared through a process of interaction. It is quite clear that the social learning theory must be relied upon to inform the construction of skills development programmes for BSSHs.
The social development theory
The social development theory, proposed by Levi Vygotsky, is another constructivist theory of learning that subscribes to the socio-cultural view of learning. Although this theory was developed to explain learning in children, its application has gained widespread acclaim in the field of leadership development. According to this theory, learning is a social process in which learners acquire knowledge through interaction and socialisation with their peers (Tuckman & Monetti 2011:73). Vygotsky also upholds this view by stating that learning is situated within the learner’s cultural context and that a learner’s experiences contribute significantly to the development of cognition (Vygotsky 1978:86). The same view is corroborated by Needham (2011:201) who conceives learning to be a function of the transaction between the learner and the social environment. Based on the above, learning must be understood as a process of socialisation in which the social environment plays the central role of providing the appropriate context for knowledge construction and the development of learners under the guided participation of experienced peers.
Vygotsky’s social development theory is anchored in two concepts: the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and scaffolding (Vygotsky 1978:86). The ZPD is a concept that is used to explain the relationship between cognitive development and learning. The concept holds that there are two levels of development, the actual and the potential level of development (Jwan & Ong’ondo 2011:402) as illustrated in figure 3.2.
The actual level of development refers to those tasks that a learner can accomplish independently while the potential level of development refers to those tasks that learners are capable of performing with support from more experienced peers (Shabani, Khatib & Ebadi 2010:238). The ZPD therefore bridges the distance between the actual level of development and the potential level of development. Scaffolding entails the provision of support to a learner by a more experienced tutor who plays a handholding role to ensure that the former uses their existing skills to develop new knowledge. McKenzie (1999 in Turuk 2008:251) identifies scaffolding as an instructional strategy in which the instructor provides support to the learner and gradually reduces the level of support as the learner shows signs of improved problem-solving capability regarding the previously scaffolded task. In this way, learners are able to develop their level of cognitive development and ultimately improve their capacity to solve complex tasks that they would not have done on their own. The theory of social development is quite relevant to the focus of this study.
It is quite apparent from the discussion above that the professional development of BSSHs into competent school leaders is not possible without the support of experienced peers within their community of practice.
The social learning theory has significant implications for the design and provision of training for school heads (Jwan & Ong’ondo 2011:402). The notion of experiential learning is therefore a cornerstone of the theory as learners generate new knowledge within a community of practice on the basis of interaction with their experienced peers. Experiential learning focuses more on the use of experience to ensure the integration of theory and practice as well as the personal development of learners through a process of self-reflection and self-awareness. In terms of this study, the social learning theory provides the researcher with insight into the kind of training approaches that could be used in an MDP for BSSHs. Armstrong (2012:280) assert that, “the practice of learning and development should be based on an understanding of learning theory and the process involved in learning and development”. Besides, the learning theory interlinks with the Peter Principle as it explains how the acquisition of new knowledge and skills might mitigate the problem of underperformance by newly promoted secondary school heads. According to the social development theory, it is quite apparent that learning is viewed as a process of socialisation that enables individuals to network and share knowledge about a certain practice. Learning also facilitates the transmission of the knowledge and skills that are critical for the development of a learner from a state of novice to that of an expert. This is achieved through the work of mentors and coaches who play a critical role in the development of the requisite skills among the learners.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF BSSH
Several arguments have been put forward in previous chapters to justify the case for the provision of MDPs for school heads. This paragraph consolidates these fragments and other justifications into a consolidated rationale for the provision of an MDP for BSSHs. Studies on school effectiveness (Schreenes 2004:1; Botha 2010:607; Pretorius 2014:53) have established the relationship between sound leadership and effective schools.
Leithwood, Day, Sammonds, Harris and Hopkins (2006, in Bush 2008:25) not only assert that successful school outcomes and learner achievement are dependent on talented leadership, but that leadership is also a crucial ingredient in learner achievement as it comes second only to classroom teaching. In the light of this, education policy makers agree that schools need to be staffed by highly competent school heads if they are expected to drive the national agenda effectively. This provides a compelling case for the professional development of school heads. Leadership preparation is being viewed as a panacea to the quest for effective leadership and the improvement of standards in schools. The introduction of leadership preparation programmes that nurture the appropriate leadership skills and behaviours for school heads has therefore become a necessity.
The case for the professional development of school heads has also been bolstered by the view that headship is a specialist occupation that requires specific preparation (Bush 2008, in Forde 2011:356). In this regard, a structured MDP could enable participants to transfer their skills and knowledge into applied practice within the school situation (Dempster, Lovett & Fluckiger 2011:20; Wallace 2007: 5). The emphasis on practice stems from the realisation that the gap between the “current demands” of school leadership “and the skills that teachers get at the time of initial training” requires regular upgrading and renewal if school heads are expected to be effective in the execution of their roles (Bush, Kiggundu & Moorosi 2011:32; CIET 1999:464).
Proponents of the need for the leadership development programmes argue that leadership preparation is a critical intervention for the professional socialisation of newly promoted school heads into their new roles and that it provides a pathway into the leadership career (Bouchamma, Basque & Marcotte 2014:581; Bush 2009:375; Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, Meyerson, Orr & Cohen, 2007:2; Dempster et al 2011:8). Research on leadership in other sectors such as the field of business has also established that there are similarities between the challenges facing leaders in business and in education (Pont, Nusche & Moorman 2008:110). This fact points to the need for the professional development of school leaders. The need for the professional development of school leaders is even more compelling given the fact that headship is a “specialist occupation that requires specialist preparation” (Bush 2008:26). This implies that headship is almost a second career that is different from the teaching profession and it is on this basis that it has become necessary to provide training to school heads.
As stated in the previous chapters, school heads commence their careers as teachers and their progression to the post of headship calls for a different set of competencies. Research has also revealed certain complexities associated with headship as well as an increasingly expanding array of responsibilities which school heads may find difficult to overcome if no adequate preparation is provided (Bush 2008:11). Bush, Briggs and Middlewood (2006:189) have also pointed to the transition shock that newly promoted school heads experience during the early days of headship. In the absence of appropriate training, school heads may fail to cope with the daunting tasks associated with their new roles. The existence of a gap between the skills that heads attain at the time of teacher training and the current demands of school leadership provides credence to the call for a special programme to be designed to cater for the training needs of those who are promoted to lead schools (CIET 1999:465). On the basis of this, education authorities have a moral obligation to provide specific training to newly promoted school heads in order to equip them with the skills that are necessary for school leadership.
The impetus for nurturing the capacity of school leaders stems from a widespread concern among leaders of education systems regarding cases of rampant incompetence on the part of school leaders. The absence of a structured leadership preparation programme for school heads implies that incumbents are simply thrown into their positions and left to either sink or swim on their own. Governments have often felt the consequences of professional ineptitude emanating from lack of leadership training for school heads as it has become apparent that the aims of education have not been achieved due to gross incompetence (Arikuweyo 2009:77). In view of the recent research findings that have posited that leadership development makes a difference to the effectiveness of schools by inculcating the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours within school leaders (Ashu 2014:11; Dempster et al 2011:8), this places a greater demand on education authorities to consider the provision of structured learning programmes for beginning school heads.
Several developments that have taken place within the education sector have thus provided a compelling case for the administration of leadership preparation programmes for school heads in Africa and the world at large. Kitavi and Van der Westhuizen (2004 in Bush et al 2011:32) argue that the significant changes that have affected the education system in the second half of the 20th century point towards the need to prepare beginning school heads for the challenging roles in school leadership. The decentralisation of power in the education system to school level has also culminated in school heads assuming additional responsibilities of decision making, planning, budgeting, organising and managing resources (Hussain & Zamair 2011: 25; Jwan & Ong’ondo 2011:409). Furthermore, changes brought by the advent of globalisation and advances in information technology have strengthened the case for preparing school heads appropriately so that they are able to deal with the challenges facing schools in the 21st century (Parshiadis & Brauckmann 2009:121). There is also recognition that school heads make a significant contribution towards the development of a competitive human resources base for the nation and hence require the requisite training for them to perform these tasks efficiently. Dempster et al (2011:8) state that school heads can turn out to be effective leaders following specific training and can contribute meaningfully towards the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in schools. The situation in Zimbabwe also beckons for the introduction of preparation programmes for school heads (CIET 1999:465).
In the light of the complexities associated with school headship and the incessant education reforms that have resulted in additional responsibilities for school heads, it has become necessary for education authorities to provide leadership development training to newly appointed school heads in Zimbabwe.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE DESIGN OF A MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOL HEADS
Several factors are considered when formulating a framework for an MDP for BSSHs.
The following discussion focuses on these.
Ideological perceptions of the state
The design of an MDP is largely influenced by the ideological perceptions of the state. In a centralised education system, the purpose of education is strongly influenced by the government (Bush 2007:392). Bell and Stevenson (2006:8) echo the same view by stating that in most countries, the state has a key role in the provision and regulation of education because it views the school as a special vehicle for the promotion of national values, economic development and social cohesion. The state’s policy interests regarding what must be taught in schools and how schools should operate are often expressed through policy promulgations and statutory instruments. An example that can be given relates to the implementation of the new school curriculum that was introduced in Zimbabwe from 2016 as part of the country’s education reform process following the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training (CIET) (CIET 1999:460; Georgescu, Mavhunga, Murimba & Stabback 2016:2; Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education website, www.mopse.gov.zw/index.php/about-ministry/). According to a report in the Sunday Mail of 29 January 2017, the curriculum review would enter its final phase in 2017. The major question that remains is whether school leaders have been provided with the necessary training to equip them with the requisite competence to implement such new policies in accordance with the expectations of the state. It has therefore become a political imperative for governments to provide professional development support to newly promoted school heads to enable them to provide sound leadership to schools in line with the national agenda. The state, therefore, plays a prominent role in the formulation of a management development curriculum for school heads because its content must reflect the national goals that must be achieved within the schools.
TABLE OF CONTENT
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1 ORIENTATION
1.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1.5 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
1.6 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.7 AIM OF THE STUDY
1.8 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
1.9 CLARIFICATION OF CONCEPTS
1.10 CHAPTER DIVISION
CHAPTER 2 CONTEXTUALISING BEGINNING SCHOOL HEADSHIP WITHIN RELEVANT MANAGEMENT THEORY
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.3 THE CONCEPTUALISATION OF MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION
2.4 CHANGES THAT LED TO THE EVOLVED ROLE OF THE SCHOOL HEAD
2.6 FUNCTIONS OF MANAGEMENT
2.7 THE NEXUS BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND SKILLS
2.9 LEADERSHIP AND SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS
2.10 PROMOTION OF SCHOOL HEADS
2.11 ROLE OF SCHOOL HEADS
2.12 CHALLENGES FACED BY BEGINNING SCHOOL HEADS
CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL CONTEXTUALISATION OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
3.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES FOR BSSH
3.3 JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF BSSH
3.4 FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE DESIGN OF A MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOL HEADS
3.5 THE CONTENT OF A MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR BSSHs
3.6 TYPOLOGIES OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT APPROACHES
3.7 LEADERSHIP PRACTICE COMMUNITIES
3.8 A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN THREE SELECTED COUNTRIES
3.8.1 South Africa
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
4.2 RATIONALE FOR EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
4.3 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.4 RESEARCH METHODS
CHAPTER 5 DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
5.2 BACKGROUND OF SCHOOLS SELECTED FOR THE RESEARCH SAMPLE
5.3 BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF PARTICIPANTS
5.3.4 Senior teachers
5.4 DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS FROM THE STUDY
CHAPTER 6 SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
6.2 SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS
6.3 SUMMARY OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.5 RELEVANCE OF THE PETER PRINCIPLE TO THE RESEARCH STUDY
6.7 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT