Enacting Pedagogical Leadership in Early Childhood Education Settings in Ghana. A Cross Case Study of Three Schools
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Generally, there has been scarce research in early childhood education leadership, and pedagogical leadership is no exception. This study investigates the enactment of pedagogical leadership in early childhood education settings in Ghana. The study employed qualitative case study design methodology to explore in-depth the enactment of pedagogical leadership in three public basic early childhood education settings. The paradigmatic commitment that underpinned this qualitative study was constructivism that ascribes to an interpretivist phenomenon. The study’s conceptual framework was deduced from the research on pedagogical leadership in the context of international and local policies and practices in early childhood education. The framework covered four main areas namely conceptualization of pedagogical leadership, enactment of pedagogical leadership, enabling factors of pedagogical leadership, and challenges of pedagogical leadership. Study participants were three headteachers and fifteen teachers from three public early childhood education schools in the Cape Coast Metropolitan area in the Central Region of Ghana, which represent the three main cases of the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the 18 participants. Observation and documents on some aspects of pedagogical leadership were also collected to complement the interview data. Individual and cross-case thematic data analyses were conducted to obtain the findings of the study. Four major findings were revealed. First, headteachers and teachers conceptualized pedagogical leadership in terms of (a) capacity of using methods of teaching and learning, (b) support for leading teaching and learning, (c) partnerships and engagement of multiple stakeholders and (d) investments in educational leaders, pupils, and teaching and learning materials. Second, participants enacted pedagogical leadership through executing general leadership roles and specific classroom, instructional and teaching leadership roles. Third, personal, school-based and outside school factors were found to enable headteachers and teachers’ enactment of pedagogical leadership. Fourth, pedagogical leadership challenges, evident from the findings, included attitudinal and material and facilities challenges, as well as challenges related to professional development, teaching and learning, financial and human resources. Conclusions based on the findings indicated the need for empowering headteachers and teachers to have requisite pedagogies or pedagogical knowledge and competencies for leading early childhood settings. Recommendations included creating professional learning opportunities to empower teachers and headteachers to use appropriate and effective methods of teaching and promoting opportunities for sustained partnership and engagement with educational stakeholders.