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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.74 n.3 Pretoria  2009


Using reflexive photography to study a principal's experiences of the impact of professional development on a school: A case study


Die gebruik van refleksiewe fotografie om 'n skoolhoof se ervarings van die impak van professionele ontwikkeling te bestudeer: 'n Gevallestudie



G.M. Steyn

Department of Further Teacher Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria. E-mail:




The changing social and economic environment has a direct impact on schools and theireffective management. School principals have to deal with issues hitherto unknown to them in historical school cultures. This article attempts to describe a South African principal's experience of the way in which professional development (PD) impacted on the development of the school and the way in which his PD - and that of his staff -manifests itself in the functioning of the school. An exploratory qualitative study employing visual ethnography was deemed appropriate for the study. Convenient and selective sampling was used in the study, identifying a school principal who proved to be an exemplar of a principal placing a high premium on his own continuing professional development and that of others. Data were collected by means of reflexive photography, the principal's writings and a photo-elicitation interview. The following categories emerged from the data: the commitment and attitude of the principal to professional development; the head start: receiving the inviting school award; be positive (B+); a focus on client service (doing more than is expected; the blue and orange card system for learners; and inculcating a value system); and what do we do differently?

Keywords: invitational education; professional development; reflexive photography; visual ethnography


Die veranderde sosiale en ekonomiese omgewing het 'n direkte impak op skole en die effektiewe bestuur daarvan. Vir skoolhoofde is dit nodig om onbekende kwessies te hanteer. Hierdie artikel poog om 'n Suid-Afrikaanse skoolhoof se ervarings van die wyse waarop professionele ontwikkeling die ontwikkeling van die skool en dié van personeel in die funksionering van die skool beïnvloed het, te bestudeer. 'n Verkennende, kwalitatiewe studie deur middel van visuele etnografie is vir die studie geskik gevind. Gerieflike en selektiewe steekproefneming is gedoen om 'n skoolhoof te identifiseer wat as voorbeeld kon dien van 'n skoolhoof wat 'n hoë premie plaas op sy/haar eie en ander se voortgesette professionele ontwikkeling. Data is deur middel van refleksiewe fotografie, die skoolhoof se skrywes, sowel as 'n foto-verduidelikende onderhoud ingesamel. Die volgende kategorieë het uit die data na vore gekom: 'n toegewyde en positiewe gesindheid van die skoolhoof teenoor professionele ontwikkeling; die voorsprong: ontvangs van die uitnodigende skooltoekenning; wees positief (B+); 'n fokus op kliëntediens (doen meer as wat verlang word; die blou-en-oranjekaartstelsel vir leerders; die vaslegging van waardes); en wat doen ons anders?

Kernbegrippe: professionele ontwikkeling; refleksiewe fotografie; uitnodigende onderwys; visuele etnografie



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