UNDERSTANDING AND IMPROVING TEACHING LEADERSHIP PRACTICES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In the 1960s, teaching leadership (IL) evolved from the effective school literature. In the last three decades, two distinct threads have evolved. Evidence from the 1980s showed that IL improved school performance (Murphy, 1985). In the new century, a second wave of interest arose, resulting in large-scale research demonstrating the favorable influence of IL on school effectiveness and improvement (Hallinger, 2011). Instructional leadership (IL) has a long history of improving student achievement, mainly in the United States (Murphy, 2013). In fact, according to experts (Leithwood, 2008), IL has been the most successful leadership strategy over the past 30 years. In the last decade, there has been a resurgence of interest in IL, with many praising its usefulness in creating long-term teaching and learning in schools (Bryk, 2010). Students are entitled to a high-quality education that allows them to develop academically, emotionally, spiritually, and physically (Peterson, 1999). Teachers are considered valuable to society if they offer pupils with high-quality education. However, due of the combination of internal and external factors that tend to mediate instruction and produce a negative impression of the teaching profession, the sort of atmosphere favorable to teaching and learning is generally not realized. According to Harris (2007), in recent decades, the community's opinions of teaching have been directly influenced by a variety of external factors that have fundamentally transformed the character and nature of teaching and learning. Bush (2007) claims that the quality of leadership may have a substantial impact on the transformation of teaching and learning. Both the National Development and Education visions require strong teaching leadership. Parents and society as a whole have high educational expectations and professional responsibility because of these goals. Schools and instructors are increasingly being held responsible for the education they deliver to the public (Bowora, 2000). School leaders are supposed to oversee employees, discipline children, connect with parents, manage buildings, lead the educational program, ensure the safety of teachers and students, manage finances, and participate in school reform, among other things, according to Chirichelo (2007). According to Grima (2016), heads of schools are in a better position since they are more aware of what is going on in their schools and can identify areas for development due to increased engagement with outside organizations. ―School Heads are supposed to be improvement managers, establishing the ideal environment in their schools for it to happen (Sebring, 2010). They must have a clear sense of direction for their schools and discuss and plan how to get there with their personnel. The job of the principal is continually changing. In most cases, a head teacher can only manage one school; but, in other cases, head teachers are in charge of many schools. The governance systems to which head teachers are answerable have a variety of job titles, including principal, executive, associate, and head of school (Allensworth, 2009). Head teachers have a powerful influence in society and help to develop the teaching profession. Head teachers, on the other hand, are expected to have good ideals and goals to bring schools to higher levels because they are responsible for the schools' and students' performance. Head teachers' leadership has a significant influence on the quality of teaching and student achievement in the classroom. Within and outside of their own institutions, head teachers set high academic standards and expectations. According to Halverson (2004), instructional leaders are responsible for identifying, acquiring, allocating, coordinating, and using the social, material, and cultural resources needed to create the circumstances for teaching and learning to take place. Identification, acquisition, allocation, coordination, and utilization of social and cultural resources essential to create the circumstances for teaching and learning are all part of instructional leadership (Spillane, 2004). According to Nkobi (2008), instructional leadership aims to enhance teachers' classroom work quality with the goal of boosting students' achievement as well as their attitudes and conduct toward schoolwork and their personal lives. Instructional leadership is an important component in raising learner achievement.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Primary school principals are responsible for providing vision, leadership, and direction for their schools, as well as ensuring that they are managed and structured to fulfill their goals and objectives MOE (Ministry of Education, 2012). Educators must teach kids on a local level to become global citizens. When school leaders appropriately practice their instructional leadership duties, efforts to boost student achievement can succeed in a big way (Darling, 2005). However, education quality and school leadership abilities are now at the heart of a heated national discussion. The subject taught, the teachers who deliver the curriculum, and the leaders who work with teachers, students, and the community are all factors that play a role in this area (Cunningham, 2009). Evidence shows that policy measures that focus only on leadership and management struggle to have more than a generic influence on student learning. Rather, significant economic, demographic, technical, and global upheaval have changed the role of school principals (Levine, 2005). Despite the fact that they play a critical role in determining the course of successful schools, public primary school administrators face a variety of challenges in their current work environment. Despite the fact that studies have been undertaken primarily to examine the challenges that primary school administrators face in order to accelerate the delivery of high-quality primary education (Oduro, 2007). However, due to the importance of this function in students' academic achievement and the issues facing primary schools in Ose, Ondo state, research into the meanings teachers attach to the role of heads of school in instructional leadership is urgently needed.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study's main goal is to better understand and improve instructional leadership practices in primary schools. Specifically, the study aims to:
i. assess teachers' perceptions of head teachers' roles as instructional leaders,
ii. examine head teachers' roles in improving teaching and learning in primary schools.
iii. determine the challenges that head teachers face as they practice instructional leadership in primary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
i.What are teachers' perceptions of head teachers' roles as instructional leaders?
ii.What are head teachers' roles in improving teaching and learning in primary schools?
iii. What are the challenges that head teachers face as they practice instructional leadership in primary schools?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Researchers and other educational stakeholders, such as educators, curriculum creators, parents, and policymakers, were anticipated to benefit from the findings of this study. For example, the suggested study's findings revealed teachers' attitudes about instructional leadership and raised teacher (educator) knowledge of regarded techniques for enhancing teaching and learning in primary schools. The findings of this study clearly assisted curriculum writers and policymakers in dealing with obstacles faced by head teachers and academic staff in exercising instructional leadership in primary schools, and they may have found answers to these problems. (For example, the type and availability of elementary school teaching and learning resources, as well as what needed to be improved.) Knowing what was lacking might help them grasp what was most required for elementary education.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The participants in this study will be primary school kids from four different primary schools in the Ose LGA of Ondo state.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Obtaining funding for general research activity will be difficult over the course of studies. Correspondents may also be unable or unwilling to complete or submit the questionnaires that have been sent to them. However, it is expected that these limits will be overcome by making the greatest use of existing resources and devoting more time to research than is required. As a result, it is firmly considered that, despite these constraints, their effect on this research report will be minor, allowing the study's purpose and importance to be met.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Leadership:Many scholars have sought to define leadership, and the majority of them acknowledge it as the process of influence that occurs between leaders and followers. Make it obvious that leadership is a process of influence that leads to the achievement of desired goals.
Instructional leadership is defined by Spillane, Halverson, and Diamond (2004) as the identification, acquisition, allocation, coordination, and utilization of the social, material, and cultural resources required to create the circumstances for teaching and learning. Instructional leadership aims to enhance instructors' classroom work quality with the goal of boosting students' achievement as well as their attitudes and conduct toward schoolwork and their personal lives.