The Mentoring Process as Antecedent of the Leadership Process: Incidents of School Improvement
AbstractMentoring and coaching has been seen as a critical element in the success of any organisation. In the schooling system there is still a perception of leadership focus regarding the role of the school principal in facilitating change management. The paper argues from the premise that school principal has an influential role to play in his/her interactions with the teaching staff. The present study of principals’ influence in schools’ renewal and reorganisation to perform better in their respective academic duties was conducted among nine high schools in the Free State Province. From these nine high schools, six of them have had a new principal in the past two years. A total of 167 teaching staff was selected to participate. The sample size was 167 teaching staff and the response rate was 128 (76.6%). In order to obtain a holistic view of the overall leadership style present in the school system, a Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was used. As the methodological paradigm applied in this research is a survey method with the questionnaire constructed in the Likert-type approach, ranging from 1 to 5, the study may be classified as quantitative research. Permission to conduct the study was requested and granted by the district management. Data analysis and interpretation were done using the interactive model of quantitative data analysis, which first involved sorting or sifting through the data and sequences. Data were analysed by descriptive statistics, such as percentages, frequency to assess the teachers’ views regarding the mentoring programme provided by their respective principals, as well as its existence. The study reveals that the principals are central to the success of a mentoring programme, as well as their leadership capability. One item that can improve the relationship between principal role and mentoring, as in the case of the current study, is when the task is related to a specific, work related task. The study argues that to a large degree the experience of the mentee has a limited influence on the mentoring process. Furthermore, the findings of the study indicate that the teacher has a positive role to play in the mentoring process and ultimately, has a bearing on the results of the mentoring. It can be concluded that motivation does influence interest in participating in mentoring.
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