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Intervention Measures To Ensure Participatory Decision Making By Teachers In Mbare- Hatfield District Primary Schools

Volume 5 - Issue 4, April 2022 Edition
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Author(s)
John Tenha, Tichaona Mapolisa
Keywords
decision making; intervention measure; participatory decision making; school environment,
Abstract
The educational landscape comprises both autocratic and inclusive administrators. Inclusive administrators engage teachers in decision making unlike autocratic administrators who make unilateral decisions. Successful engagement of teachers in decision making is possible when there exist intervention measures that allow the involvement of teachers in decision making. These are absent in many Zimbabwean schools resulting in low pass rates. This prompted this study where the researcher analysed the intervention measures related to teacher decision making in Zimbabwean primary schools. The researcher used the quantitative research approach and survey research design to conduct this study. Simple random sampling was used to select 50 primary school teachers and ten school heads from Mbare-Hatfield District of Harare in Zimbabwe. Structured self-administered closed-ended questionnaires were administered to teachers, while structured closed-ended interviews were administered to teachers. Tables and figures were used to present researchers’ biodata and actual research findings. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse data. Teacher input has a tremendous impact on students’ academic achievement. The research asserts that teachers’ performance is directly influenced by the school head’s leadership preferences and that involving teachers in school decision-making processes has a positive, lasting impact on school performance. The formulation of school policies is done by school heads in most of the schools. Few teachers were involved in crafting policies in their schools. The leadership preferences by school heads play a significant role in determining whether teachers have opportunities to partake in decision making activities at school. Teachers need to be staff developed and they regard this as an important intervention measure that aids teacher participatory decision making since it develops their instructional, curricular, administrative and leadership competencies, knowledge, and skills. It also develops teachers understanding of school activities thus resulting in knowledgeable staff who can proffer constructive ideas that assist in the day-to-day function of schools. Staff development is crucial in schools as it enables informed decision making by teachers. It is a way of capacitating teachers with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and improve classroom performance. Croft et al. (2010) [1] argue that when staff development is supported by the school head and well implemented, this creates a powerful lever that increases learner performance. Enlightened teachers are likely to make decisions that help schools develop and improve learner academic outputs, outcomes, and societal, national, and global impact. In that regard, staff developing teachers is an important intervention measure to their decision making. Creating work enabling environments is crucial in schools. The study concluded that the idea of teamwork is not new to schools but is not given value by school heads as an intervention measure that boosts teacher participation in decision making. Heads promote individual achievements at the expense of team efforts. It also concluded that the choice of a leadership style by school heads is a determining factor on how teachers participate in crucial school decision making activities. Another conclusion was that there is very little if any staff development activities in schools. In addition, teachers are motivated by praise, especially when recognised for outstanding performance and decisions. Last, positive school environments pave way to teacher participatory decision making in crucial school programmes. The study recommended that school heads should be trained by mentors from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Schools or other expert external agents on the importance and benefits of teamwork in schools. Another recommendation from the study was that school heads should adopt leadership styles that are forward looking, participatory and progressive in nature and practise that in schools. In addition, teacher participation needs to be active, recognised, meaningful, and effectively improve their skills and abilities, so that they in turn benefit learners. The other recommendation was that school heads need to create conducive teaching and learning environments that enable teachers to participate in school decision making willingly and voluntarily. Finally, there is need school heads and teachers to define the parameters mutually and clearly for staff development in schools by candidly identifying individual training needs so that teachers are staff developed in areas relevant to their jobs. Eventually, study recommended that further research needs to be carried out by other researchers from similar and different settings within and without Zimbabwe to examine how teacher participation in decision making is enacted at secondary school level.
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