An exploration of how teachers understand change in schools.
The purpose of this study was to explore how teachers understand change in schools. Changes in educational policies affect principals, teachers, learners and the school as an organisation. Teachers are the essential drivers of good quality education. Therefore, any change in schools that involve teaching and learning needs the support of all stakeholders. The research study was conducted within a qualitative research paradigm and took the form of a single case study in a suburban primary school in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. The data collection instruments included questionnaires and semi structured interviews. The findings of the research showed that the concept of change is understood in schools and in the classrooms. However, the findings show that communication is still from top to bottom structures, that a rigid hierarchy is still the structure of the school. Therefore, transformation and change using flatter structures and wider decision making processes in schools is not happening as expected. The case study school shows that there are barriers and gaps in terms of decision-making and communication among the SMT and the staff as well as in terms of policy as set out by the Government and practice, i.e. what is happening at school. However, despite these challenges teachers continue to work within their classrooms and outside, developing their capacity to be leaders and also for the functionality of the school. The study revealed that human resources are vital for effective teaching and learning and the success of the school. Therefore, educators need the support and commitment from all stakeholders to realise their full potential. Hence they will be able to meet the demands of change in their classrooms in regard to the curriculum, diversity, the climate and culture of the school.