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Leading for quality teaching and learning: a case study of six departmental heads in three secondary schools within the Pinetown district.

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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of six Departmental Heads in their leadership towards achieving quality teaching and learning within the secondary schools under the Pinetown district. The theoretical framework underpinning this study is the transformational leadership theory. The methodology used for this study is the interpretive paradigm. This study adopted the case study methodology to help better understand the experiences of the six Departmental Heads. Interviews were arranged after obtaining consent from gatekeepers and participants and the data was then generated using two data collecting methods, namely: semi-structured interviews and documents review. The interview sessions were recorded using a tape recorder and transcribed before they got analysed using thematic analysis. The major finding of the study is that the participating Departmental Heads aimed to achieve maximum curriculum coverage for the departments they lead and manage, and in doing so, they used one-on-one meetings to assist teachers experiencing difficulties in the teaching and learning process. Departmental Heads shared that they monitor if quality learning and teaching takes place by checking learner exercise books, learner files, teacher files and making sure the teacher attends to the classroom as per period timetable. The Departmental Heads also expressed that in performing their duties, they experience challenges such as teachers who possess a negative attitude towards their work and teachers who show a negative attitude by portraying certain actions when it is time to go to class. The actions include a teacher not going to class on time, absenteeism, and sitting in the staff room during teaching time. Departmental Heads did not only discuss the challenges, but they added to the study by mentioning that principals play a supportive role when required to do so. The principal was viewed as someone who assists in organising workshops that will improve the Departmental Heads’ skills where necessary and is someone who assists financially when organising extra help for the improvement of learner ability on certain difficult subjects. The principal is also viewed as someone who assists in getting the parents involved when it comes to the disciplining of learners who disturb the teaching and learning process.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.