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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

SWANEPOEL, Cassie. The perceptions of teachers and school principals of each other's disposition towards teacher involvement in school reform. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.1, pp. 39-51. ISSN 0256-0100.

Worldwide teachers are faced with the task of continuously facilitating and implementing educational reform that has been designed without their participation. This exclusion of the key agents, who must mediate between the change agenda and actual change in the classroom, from the planning and decision-making processes, is detrimental to educational reform. Although school-based management has recently emerged as the instrument to accomplish the decentralisation of decision-making powers to school level, the success thereof depends largely on school principals' disposition regarding teacher involvement. It is argued that the expectation of principals regarding their own leadership role, as well as the professional role teachers should fulfil, is a primary determinant of principals' willingness to involve teachers in responsibility-taking processes outside the classroom. The results from an empirical investigation revealed that principals' perception, of the wishes of teachers regarding involvement, significantly underestimated teachers' actual involvement wishes. Likewise, the expectation of teachers regarding the willingness of principals to involve them was a significant underestimation of the involvement level principals are actually in favour of. These misperceptions probably discourage actual school-based management and could jeopardize the implementation of educational reform in general.

Keywords : decentralised decision-making; educational change; principals' perceptions; school-based management; school reform; teacher involvement; teachers' perceptions.

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