The Role of Networking in Supporting Headteachers' Professional Development and Practice in Ghana

Addae-Kyeremeh, Eric (2020). The Role of Networking in Supporting Headteachers' Professional Development and Practice in Ghana. EdD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

This thesis is about headteacher professional development in Ghana and headteachers’ capacity to harness professional capital within their peer network to advance their practice. It is set against recent developments in Ghana around headteacher capacity building and the need to improve leadership practice in government basic schools where resources have been limited. Although networking and the notion of collaborative learning in professional learning communities are well-developed practices in some of the world’s best education systems, very little is known about such developments in Ghana and how the professional capital embedded in these network relations is contributing to practice.

The research strategy is underpinned by pragmatic beliefs that research questions are the principal determinants of the research philosophy. Therefore, rather than committing to a research philosophy at the start of the study, the questions posed determined the methodological framework. Through a mixed-methods design, this empirical study deploys a two-phase sequential and exploratory strategy drawing on qualitative and quantitative datasets.

The study finds evidence of a learning community of headteachers who, through frequent network interactions, build professional capital to enhance their practice. Headteachers indicated five key content-specific types of information and professional advice they exchange in this peer network. For these types of information and professional advice, the study reveals that age, experience, type of school or academic qualifications do not significantly influence headteacher choice of who to go to for information and professional advice. However, the data indicate a positive and significant relationship between headteacher gender and their likelihood of seeking information and professional advice about how to help ineffective teachers improve their practice and how to deliver the national curriculum effectively. The findings imply that policymakers should recognise network relations that exist among headteacher groups and direct resources to supporting peer learning and collaboration rather than the over-reliance on trainer-led workshops for headteacher professional development.

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