Life-giving headteachership in Lusaka Province: navigating the liminality of post-colonial schooling

Author: Leslie Nachula

Nachula, Leslie, 2020 Life-giving headteachership in Lusaka Province: navigating the liminality of post-colonial schooling, Flinders University, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

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This study was an exploratory appreciative inquiry into what school headteachers in primary schools in Lusaka province considered life-giving in leading schools and how this informed the way they engaged in leadership. The lack of required qualifications for school headteachers and a gap in the literature about the nature of leadership that gives life to headteachership in post-colonial Zambian schools formed the rationale for the study. Consequently, the research presented contextual life-giving stories of headteachership in selected primary schools in Lusaka province. The inquiry uncovered how headteachership was embedded in-between spaces of ambiguity or puzzlement of a nation that is in a transitional phase of the post-colonial era, and the findings show that the participants considered life-giving leadership practices were associated with being with the parents, the community, the teachers and the students. Within each of these themes, authentic leadership presented as remapping of culture in a post-colonial era, boundary marking, re-marking and collapsing, navigating and embracing sensitivities in school leadership. The study suggests it is in the with-ness that boundary marking, re-marking and collapsing enables preservation of what is valued, and access is created where barriers and bridges are built to connect people in relational processes that offer potential for refreshing ways of engagement in school leadership. Therefore, this study recommends that the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) takes proactive steps to establish a headteachers’ qualification that will incorporate these school leadership practices that are contextual, collaborative, inclusive and life-giving. At the same time, the study recommends the Ministry should endeavour to establish formalised internal structures exclusively for aspiring and serving headteachers so they can implement on-going contextual, inclusive and collaborative professional learning.

Keywords: Headteachership, post-colonial education, appreciative inquiry, liminality, authentic leadership, boundary marking, remapping boundaries, collapsing boundaries, life-giving

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2020
School: College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Supervisor: Dr Michael Bell