Original Research

Teachers’ and middle managers’ experiences of principals’ instructional leadership towards improving curriculum delivery in schools

Grace Chabalala, Parvathy Naidoo
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 11, No 1 | a910 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v11i1.910 | © 2021 Grace Chabalala, Parvathy Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2020 | Published: 31 May 2021

About the author(s)

Grace Chabalala, Gauteng Department of Education, Moses Maren Mission Technical School, Johannesburg, South Africa
Parvathy Naidoo, Department of Education and Leadership, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: This study was designed to explore teachers’ and middle managers’ experiences regarding their principals’ instructional leadership practices aimed at improving curriculum delivery in schools. Literature on instructional leadership indicates how failing schools can be turned around to become successful if principals consider instructional leadership to be their primary role within schools. The authors, therefore, argue that it is the responsibility of principals to ensure that learners’ results are improved through intervention and support provided by the principals to capacitate teachers and middle managers in delivering the curriculum effectively. Globally, literature promotes the significance of the continued professional development of teachers, and many scholars allude to the pivotal role principals or school heads play in teachers’ skills advancement.

Aim: The aim of this article was to identify principals’ instructional practices that improve curriculum delivery in schools, which are examined through the experiences of teachers and middle managers.

Setting: The study was conducted in two schools in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

Method: The researchers employed a qualitative approach, utilising three domains of instructional leadership as its framework, and these are defining the school mission statement, managing the instructional programme and promoting a positive school learning climate. Four teachers and four middle managers were purposefully selected at two schools for data collection conducted through semi-structured individual interviews, which were analysed using thematic content analysis.

Results: Three themes emerged, namely, understanding good instructional leadership practices, teacher development as an instructional practice and instructional resource provisioning.

Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of teachers and middle managers in understanding that principals are merely not school managers or administrators, but rather instructional leaders whose primary role is to direct teaching and learning processes in schools. Principals need to create time within their constricted schedules to become instructional leaders, which is their main purpose in schools. If the roles and responsibilities of middle managers are not explicit, their ability to simultaneously perform the dual task of being teachers and middle managers will be compromised.


teacher; principal; curriculum; leadership practice; middle managers; instructional leadership


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Crossref Citations

1. Challenges of school resources management for curriculum delivery in South African Rural High Schools: Principals' perceptions on the way forward
Oluwatoyin Ayodele Ajani
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doi: 10.20525/ijrbs.v12i6.2709