Instructional leadership and its effect on the teaching and learning process: the case of basic school head teachers in central province, Zambia.

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Kabeta, Rachel Monde Mabuku
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The University of Zambia
The Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MOESVTEE) in Zambia’s National Policy Document on education “Educating our Future” of 1996 identifies the vital role that the school head must play in pursuit of excellence and quality in schools. The policy identifies instructional leadership by head teachers as a priority in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in schools. However, while the policy document acknowledges that instructional leadership is critical in the realization of quality education, there have been little efforts if any, to establish whether head teachers are instructional leaders. This study was an attempt to assess whether head teachers in the basic schools in Central Province practiced instructional leadership and the extent to which they were doing so and also to establish the effect of instructional leadership on the teaching and learning process in the basic schools and furthermore to find out whether these head teachers received training that prepared them for this role. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative data was obtained through the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS-Principal and Teacher forms), while qualitative data was collected through face to face interviews, focus group discussions , observations and document analysis. The sample comprised 32 head teachers and 160 teachers who were selected using purposive sampling. The study was guided by Hallinger and Murphy’s (1985) conceptual framework. The results obtained from the quantitative data showed that the head teachers who participated in this study perceived themselves to be instructional leaders more than their teachers did, on the contrary, results obtained from the qualitative data overwhelmingly revealed that the head teachers were not practising much instructional leadership and that the majority of them were not even familiar with the concept of instructional leadership. The findings also revealed that the perceptions of the participants in this study were that head teachers’ instructional leadership practices would affect the teaching and learning process positively. The findings further revealed that the majority of head teachers who participated in this study did not receive training that prepared them for this role. iv The study recommends that the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education should review the National Policy on Education of 1996 to see whether its policy objectives on instructional leadership are being implemented. The study also recommends that the ministry should review pre-service teacher training programmes in order to incorporate training in education administration and leadership and that in-service training programmes should be strengthened and expanded by establishing more institutions that would offer training in leadership and management. The study further recommends that head teachers and teachers should be familiarise themselves with the policy document and to utilize it and also that the Ministry of Education should sensitize the head teachers and teachers about the role of instructional leadership in the improvement of teaching and learning. The study recommends too that the Ministry of Education should make relevant training in Education Management and Leadership a pre- requisite for the appointment of head teachers. Recommendations for future research suggest that a similar study could be done with a larger sample in order to enhance the generalizability, validity and reliability of the results and also that a simplified and shorter version of the PIMRS could be utilized. Further research could also take into account variables such as gender, work experience of head teacher, the size of the school and geographical location of the school.
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Instructional leadership--Zambia , Educational management--Zambia