Head-teacher and school principal development in Ghana: theory into practice
AbstractThis qualitative case study is based on a collaborative web-based leadership training program offered by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada, the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Canada, and selected educational institutions from four English West African countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia) in 2010. While this study focuses on the Ghanaian context, the program’s general design provided a select group of headteachers and school principals in participating countries with the following: innovative knowledge and skills in school management to enhance their professional skills and effectiveness; a forum to exchange ideas and experiences for managing primary and secondary schools, and; opportunities for their continued professional development. The final objective was to develop a formal training manual that “master trainers” would use in their respective countries to train other school leaders. Faculty from MUN provided administrative and academic expertise, including the research and theoretical basis of the program. Six local trainers who were selected from each participating country, brought their expertise and their knowledge of local context, and ensured thoughtful reflection on each of their own country’s circumstances and practices. The COL provided financial support to ensure that the program was developed and implemented successfully. The program was carried out in two phases (beginning in Ghana and ended in The Gambia) leading to the development of a final training manual that master trainers would use in their respective countries to train other school leaders. Ghana started implementation of the training in 2011. Within the last decade or so, Ghana has consistently experienced considerable decline in students’ academic performance both at the basic and secondary school levels due to several factors including leadership inefficiencies. The leadership training program as it applies to Ghana seeks, therefore, to introduce modern leadership practices which focus on local conditions to participating headteachers and school principals. In doing so, the aim is to improve the teaching and learning environment within the Ghanaian school system. The current study investigated successes and challenges that characterized the training and implementation of skills for school leaders within Ghana. Of particular interest here, is what the trainees (mostly headteachers and school principals) learned, the processes through which they intended implementing the new skills, knowledge, and abilities (SKAs) to their workplaces, and the socio-cultural factors that influenced the implementation processes. The design of this study relies on theoretical perspectives elucidated by instructional leadership theory (Hallinger & Murphy, 1985), transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1985), distributed leadership theory (Sheppard, Brown, & Dibbon, 2009), and the transfer of learning framework (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). The methodology used for data collection was a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire, followed by one-on-one, face-to-face interviews. The sample consisted of 36 respondents made up of 30 headteachers, two coordinators (one doubled as a trainer), three trainers who participated in the manual development training in Ghana and Gambia, one faculty member from MUN who provided expertise and contributed to the development of the training manual, and one Ghanaian consultant who collaborated with the COL and MUN representatives before the program started. Findings revealed that headteachers and school principals who undertook the training successfully developed contemporary leadership SKAs. Most trainees endeavoured to implement what they learned in the training program at their workplaces, but factors such as resistance to change, lack of employer support, and poor conditions of service caused a relapse in their ability to apply contemporary leadership skills. In light of these findings, recommendations are made for program improvement and further development in addressing issues of social content in the adaption and implementation of skills for future trainees.
Boadi, Sylvester Asmah <http://research.library.mun.ca/view/creator_az/Boadi=3ASylvester_Asmah=3A=3A.html> (2017) Head-teacher and school principal development in Ghana: theory into practice. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.