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1.1 Background of the study
Educational leadership was constructed by Anglo-American scholars as which include moral, interpersonal, instructional and administrative dimensions (Sergiovanni, 1991; Law & Glover, 2000) Current literature on instructional leadership falls into four broad areas. First, prescriptive models describe instructional leadership as the integration of the tasks of direct assistance to teachers, group development, staff development, curriculum development, and action research (Glickman, 1985). However, professional norms which call for principals to engage more actively in leading the school's instructional programme and in focusing staff attention on student outcomes are prevalent (Hallinger, 1992; Southworth, 2002).
Currently, there are experiences of rapid change in environment with various shifts in every domain of human activity. Technological, scientific and economic advancements, globalization and immigration movements are just a few of the areas giving rise to complexity and uncertainty in the modern world. These societal changes have inevitably transformed the school environment into a more dynamic and complex one than in the past (Crow, 2006). In this novel school environment, where various pressures and external challenges are identified, there is an increasing recognition of the importance of school leadership in supporting change and providing for educational quality. In fact, school leadership has been identified by a number of researchers as a key element in the effectiveness of school organizations, for instance, (Brauckmann and Pashiardis, 2009; Marzano, Waters and McNulty, 2005; Kythreotis and Pashiardis, 2006; Kythreotis, Pashiardis and Kyriakides, 2010). Hence, principals in western countries are urged to deal with educational change, to anticipate and respond to new initiatives, challenges and opportunities and to adapt to the market-like environment of education (Bredson, 1995; Hall & Southworth, 1997; Oplatka, Foskett & Hemsley-Brown, 2002).
While principals in western countries were observed as engaging in some aspects of instructional leadership (Murphy, 1990; Southworth, 2002), they also spend a considerable amount of time on instructional tasks when compared to principals in developing countries, presumably because of the different environment in which their schools operate (e.g. scarce human and physical resources. In South East Asian countries, but to a much lesser extent than in other developing countries, principals, like their counterparts in the west, were found to attach great value to instructional leadership. In Singapore principals are expected to provide instructional leadership to staff (Bolman & Deal, 1992; Zhang, 1994). Chinese principals perceived excellent instruction as a key to student success and school prestige (Ligget et al., 1997).
1.2 Statement of the problem.
The priority of all countries, especially the developing ones, is to improve the quality of schools and the achievement of students (De Grauwe, 2001) since learning outcomes depend largely on the quality of education being offered (Barro, 2006). Barro further notes that higher quality education fosters economic growth and development. But quality education partly depends on how well teachers are trained and supervised since they are one of the key inputs to education delivery (Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991). De Grauwe (2001) posits that national authorities rely strongly on the school supervision system to monitor both the quality of schools and key measures of its success, such as student achievement.
Many researchers believe that supervision of instruction has the potential to improve classroom practices, and contribute to student success through the professional growth and improvement of teachers (Blasé & Blasé, 1999; Musaazi, 1985; Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2002; and Sullivan & Glanz, 1999). Supervision is viewed as a co-operative venture in which supervisors and teachers engage in dialogue for the purpose of improving instruction which logically should contribute to student improved learning and success (Hoy & Forsyth, 1986; Sergiovanni & Starratt, 2002; Sullivan & Glanz, 1999). Performance in national examinations (KCSE) in Secondary School in Uyo District is poor. Poor performance has persisted despite the fact that the schools in the District are assumed to be having adequate and well trained teachers. Survey on performance of examinations has shown that a majority of schools which display good results have adequate facilities and human resource (Musungu and Nasongo, 2008). Certainly the same cannot be said of Uyo District. This is because the district has consistently posted poor examination results in the previous years.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the roles Principals play in instructional supervision in order to improve on students’ academic achievement in Uyo District Secondary Schools as it is perceived by their teachers.
1.4 Objectives of the study
i) To determine the roles played by Principals in instructional supervision as perceived by the teachers in Uyo District.
ii) To explore strategies that Principals employ to improve on their instructional supervision as perceived by teachers
iii) To investigate the challenges faced by Principals in instructional supervision as perceived by teachers.
iv) To examine strategies of coping with challenges faced by Principals in their endeavour to improve instructional supervision as perceived by teachers.
1.5 Research question
The research was based on the following questions:-
i. What roles does the Principals role play in instructional leadership as indicated by the head of departments and the teachers?
ii. What are some of the strategies or approaches the Principals employ in order to improve instructional supervision in their schools as perceived by the teachers?
iii. What challenges do you think the Principals face in implementing instructional supervision in their schools?
iv. What are some of the ways in which the Principals cope with the challenges they face in improving curriculum as seen by teachers?
1.6 Significance of the study
This study provided great insight to the administrations and managers of schools in Uyo District for they may be in a position to identify from this study the factors that the teachers identified as contributing to higher academic performance in schools hence they can apply the same in their schools for the realization of better academic achievements.
It also enlightened the school managers on whether the approaches they use in their attempt to improve instruction are appropriate as well as borrowing strategies from the suggestion which their teachers gave as most appropriate so that the student’s performance can be improved in the national examinations.
1.8 Scope of the study
The study took place in the larger Uyo district which included three constituencies namely Uyo Central, Uyo West and Uyo South before its subdivision early 2017. The study sample composed of the high performing schools and the average performing schools in the district who had similar facilities. The study focused on the role of Principals in instructional leadership as it is perceived by the teachers. Thus the respondents were teachers from the sampled schools.
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