Schools performing against the odds: Enablements and constraints to school leadership practice
There are many schools in developing countries which, despite the challenges they face, defy the odds and continue to perform at exceptionally high levels. We cast our gaze on one of these resilient schools in South Africa, and sought to learn about the leadership practices prevalent in this school and the enablements and constraints to the school leadership practice. Underpinned by a critical realist lens, and drawing on social realist theory, this case study of one school generated data through interviews, observation, document analysis and transect walks. The school principal, one head of department and two teachers, were selected as participants. The findings indicate that the school embraced an expansive form of teacher leadership comprising leadership within and beyond the classroom. Further, the structural, cultural and agential climate was receptive to the expansive leadership. We conclude that the professional capital of teachers, together with teachers serving as social actors rather than remaining primary agents, are key resources to change and transformation in an emerging economy.
Keywords: critical realism; expansive leadership; leadership practice; social realism; teacher leadership