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Practices, Obstacles and Benefits of Instructional Leadership at Private Schools of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Easaw Alemayehu*

Department of Educational Planning and Management, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Corresponding Author:
Easaw Alemayehu
Department of Educational Planning and Management
Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: 06/09/2021; Accepted date: 20/09/2021; Published date: 27/09/2021

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Abstract

Instructional leadership is getting more attention these days because of its direct connection to the basic activities of schools. Even though the majority of studies agree that instructional leadership is important to a school's success, school administrators typically neglect it. As a result, the study's objective was to investigate instructional leadership practices, obstacles and benefits in Addis Ababa's private schools. The study's objectives were met by employing descriptive survey method. 200 teachers, 100 department heads, 100 principals, and 100 vice principals from private schools in the ten subcities participated in the survey. Totally, 500 respondents were participated. The research participants were chosen using simple random and available sampling techniques. A questionnaire was used to collect information on key instructional leadership practices, obstacles, and benefits. The survey tool created by Hallinger and Murphey, the Principal Instructional Leadership Rating Scale (PILRS), was modified and utilized by the researcher. To analyze and interpret the data obtained from these respondents, the percentage, mean, standard deviation, and mean ranking were employed. Quantitative values were identified with an average mean scores ranging from 1.00-2.49 for low, 2.50- 3.49, 3.50-4.49, and 4.50-5.00 for moderate, high, and very high, respectively. In addition to the questionnaire, a systematic open-ended eight-item interview was used to obtain data from the ten sub-city respondents. According to the data finding, instructional leaders' duties in communicating school goals, overseeing and assessing teaching, monitoring school achievement, protecting instructional time, maintaining high visibility, and promoting professional development are all at moderate and high. On the other side, curriculum coordination, teacher incentives, and student incentives are all high. In private schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, instructional leadership approaches appear to be moderate, according to the finding.

Keywords

Benefits, Instructional leadership, Obstacles, Practices, Private schools

Introduction

Background information

Because of its relevance in delivering school effectiveness and increasing students' learning, instructional leadership is being regarded as the best leadership among the numerous leadership methods in schools [1]. As instructional leaders, school principals play a critical role in fostering an environment that supports instructional leadership [2]. As a result, it is clear that the principals' leadership abilities, particularly in the area of instructional leadership, are critical to the effectiveness of the school. As a result, the role and activities of the school principal have a significant impact on the outcome of effective schooling [3].

Since the late 1960’s, leadership, particularly main leadership, has been studied. By assisting teachers' motivation, involvement, and coordination, good leadership may undoubtedly contribute to improved student outcomes. Recent research has expanded the scope of school leadership to include school administrators, department heads, coordinators, and instructors at all levels of the organization [4].

Principals have a critical role in the performance of a school, from goal setting through goal-achievement. In their everyday work tasks and obligations, a principal has a critical role to play. They are the driving force behind the success of schools. Teacher evaluator, creation, implementation, evaluate programs, review policies and procedure schedules, creating objectives, recruiting new teachers, parent & community interactions, delegating, and emphasis on student discipline are some of the key duties of school leaders, according to Meador [5].

Although teacher quality has a direct impact on student achievement, principal leadership has an impact on teacher motivation and instructional quality [6]. A number of studies have pointed to the importance of head-teacher capacity in developing a "shared vision." Teachers will be more motivated and teach differently as a result of being involved in a process of "shaping" their schools; consequently, this process will create a difference in students' learning and motivation [7]. Furthermore, as the instructional leader, the school principle is required to fulfil a variety of tasks. For example, according to the principal as an instructional leader prioritizes instructional excellence as the school's top priority and works to make that vision a reality. Setting clear goals, assigning resources to teaching, administering the curriculum, monitoring lesson plans, and assessing instructors are all responsibilities of instructional leaders.

A principal who wishes to be an instructional leader, according to [8] must have a vision and dedication to high student success, high standards, the establishment of a trustworthy working environment, effective communication, and the willingness to seek help. There are several significant problems in school leadership owing to the breadth, depth, and complexity of the duties and responsibilities of the school leadership. Ensure continuously good teaching and learning is a few of them.

A principal must also be an agent of communication, according to Reitzug [9], in that all other stakeholders in the school management engage with each other via him/her. Managing conduct and attendance; strategically managing resources and the environment; creating the school professional learning community; and developing partnerships beyond the school to increase parental support for learning and new learning opportunities. Only a few of the schools are considered good or effective. Others, on the other hand, may be branded as ineffective or ineffective educational institutions. Principals leadership skills, particularly in the area of instructional leadership, are responsible for school success, according to Likewise, stated that the quality of the principal's leadership is the most significant single component in a school's performance. The principal's position and actions have become more important in the success of good education. Principals who are great instructional leaders lead excellent schools [10].

With this in mind, the researcher attempted to assess the practice, difficulties, and benefits of instructional leadership at private schools in Addis Ababa. In doing so, it appears that school leadership must be considered from a variety of angles, including strategic and implementation aspects in general, as well as their role as instructional leaders in particular.

Some theoretical and conceptual basis

The importance of instructional leadership is seen as a significant driver for change and educational growth, in accordance with the focus on quality education [11]. With the increased value placed on instructional leadership, what comes to vision is the school as an environment to change productivity, which is dependent primarily on instructional leaders' ability to analyze current conditions and future challenges, as well as implement strategies for achieving goals. School directors should also be well-qualified, competent, and experienced in executing instructional leadership responsibilities such as defining and conveying school goals, overseeing and assessing instruction, curriculum coordination, and student progress tracking. Protecting instructional time, maintaining high visibility, rewarding teachers, encouraging professional growth, and rewarding learners [12].

Unfortunately, school administrators may encounter several obstacles in executing the aforementioned instructional activities and bringing about meaningful reforms in school systems. Heterogeneous difficulties and needs that have arisen as a result of discontinuous environmental changes, such as globalization, have resulted in new instructional patterns in schools. As a result, the efficacy of school administrators, instructors, and students will be put to the test.

Principals may employ techniques to overcome the bottleneck issues they confront and to strengthen instructional leadership in this respect. To strengthen their instructional leadership, instructional leaders should accomplish the following: create or establish entirely agreed-upon goals, be able to preserve and use a comprehensive record of the school's progress, reate a feeling of responsibility for the group, develop the habit and skill of critical and self-evaluation, and grasp group process and knowledge of ideals and skills in attaining them via school members to distribute leadership [13]. Because of this, the Ethiopian government has developed a guideline that includes instructional leadership functions and criteria for the recruitment and selection of competent principals at schools with higher academic readiness standards, five years of experience in instructional activities, and commitment aspects of teachers to be school principals [14].

Although Ethiopia has made an endeavor to decentralize and professionalize instructional leadership, there is still more work to be done in terms of principalship training and professionalization. As a result, principals were unable to perform their essential instructional leadership role [15]. In terms of private schools in Addis Ababa, a significant increase of privately owned private schools occurred immediately after the Dergu government fell. Despite private schools in Addis Ababa are reported to be high-performing in terms of student academic achievement, school principals must be knowledgeable and effective in their instructional leadership roles. As a result, because this city has a large number of high- performing private schools, the application of instructional leadership practice, difficulties, and possibilities calls for a scientific research to assess instructional leadership know-how.

According to Hallinger and Murphy's instructional leadership paradigm, there are three components to instructional leadership: establishing the purpose, administering the teaching program, and fostering a positive school atmosphere; and functions within the dimensions; defining and conveying school objectives, monitoring and assessing education, organizing curriculum, tracking student success, preserving instructional time, encouraging professional development, maintaining high visibility, rewarding instructors, and rewarding students.

Statement of the problem

Divergent roles for school leaders have been suggested in the literature. According to Price Water house Coopers' research; school leaders have a variety of important duties and obligations. Strategic direction and ethos; teaching and learning; developing and managing people; networking and cooperation; operations and accountability are only a few of them. Furthermore, according to Reitzug, school principals' responsibilities include offering staff development, promoting risk-taking, and requiring explanation of methods. Principals should invest significant time to coordinating and managing education, be very visible in the school, and stay close to the instructional process. Also it is suggested that three-quarters of a principal's time should be spent on educational concerns [16]. Because of its far-reaching implications on the achievement of school programs, objectives, and educational goals, instructional leadership is of particular importance in educational administration. Secondary school administrators are required to perform effectively in instructional leadership activities in light of this [17].

School principals, on the other hand, may face numerous challenges in implementing instructional leadership to make changes in school systems as effective as possible. Divergent challenges and needs that have arisen as a result of discontinuous environmental changes, such as globalization, have introduced new instructional trends in schools. As a result, the efficacy of school administrators, instructors, and students will be put to the test. To support this point [18] said that private school principals confront several problems as a result of their position; they are exposed to a variety of challenges. For instance, push from superiors to fulfil organizational goals, pressure from professors to meet personal needs, and pressure from both internal and external contexts. In a similar vein, identified five obstacles to instructional leadership success. Principals' lack of ability and training, teachers' lack of collaboration, time to execute instructional activities, superintendents' lack of support, and principals' lack of vision, will, or bravery toward instructional activities are among them.

Decentralization changes in Ethiopia, which began recently, have moved key duties to the District level, particularly to schools. However, according to Ethiopian, secondary school leaders in Ethiopia are still appointed on the basis of experience, and there is a shortage of competent school leaders, which has been deemed to be less than adequate. Establishing participatory decision-making and school administration for teachers and students; establishing an orderly school environment by defining tasks and responsibilities; and being skilled in human relations; interacting with various stakeholders was also not satisfactory. Generally, according to [19] Ethiopian school administrators are under-trained in professional disciplines that would enable them to execute instructional leadership duties effectively and efficiently as required.

According to the findings of the study, the good number of Ethiopian school principals was trained in subject areas but not in professional disciplines, which puts private school principals in a difficult position to execute instructional leadership tasks as required. For example, on the one hand, pressure from their superiors to fulfill the organization's goals, and on the other hand, pressure from the teachers to meet their own personal needs.

The majority of local studies on school leadership focus on traditional school leadership activities such as teacher evaluation, planning, reporting, scheduling, budgeting, and facility maintenance rather than the most important aspects of instructional leadership.

Likewise, similar local study found that the majority of school principals lacked the necessary qualifications for the position and had not received educational leadership training that would have qualified them for instructional leadership [20]. Furthermore, [21] found that principals were confronted with both internal and external problems, including a lack of teacher cooperation, a lack of instructional resources, a lack of principle experience, and a severe workload. Superintendents interfering in principals decision-making processes, as well as a lack of technical assistance from the superintendent in carrying out instructional leadership methods.

As a result, despite the fact that Addis Ababa is one of Ethiopia's largest cities, it suffers from a lack of competent and efficient instructional leadership in secondary schools. This is shown to be a deficiency in school principals' instructional oversight and implementation abilities. Though the preceding ideas suggest that the current circumstances may have an impact on the quality and practices of instructional leadership in private schools, there are currently insufficient researches to indicate the state of instructional leadership practices in Addis Ababa's private schools. As a result, the following fundamental questions guide this study's assessment of instructional leadership methods in private schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

  1. In Addis Ababa's private schools, to what degree do principals fulfil instructional leadership functions?
  2. What are the primary obstacles that principals face in conducting instructional leadership in Addis Ababa's private schools?
  3. What are the benefits of instructional leadership in private schools of Addis Ababa?

Objectives of the study

The overall goal of this research is to evaluate instructional leadership practices, obstacles and benefits at private schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It's also meant to show principals' methods for improving instructional leadership at the private school level. In addition, the study has the following particular goals:

  1. Determine the extent to which principals are carrying out instructional leadership responsibilities.
  2. List out the primary obstacles that principal’s face in conducting instructional leadership in Addis Ababa's private schools.
  3. Describe the benefits of instructional leadership in private schools in Addis Ababa.

Review of Related Literature

The concept of instructional leadership

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the notion of instructional leadership was extensively researched [22]. Instructional leadership may be explained using a variety of models and concepts. The Hallinger and Murphy Models, Model Weber, Model Murphy, and Mc Ewan Model are among the instructional leadership models and ideas. Instructional leadership, according to Hallinger and Murphy [23], is defined as principals' actions targeted at promoting and enhancing the teaching and learning process in schools, which includes teachers, students, parents, school planning, school management, school facilities, and resources. Model Hallinger and Murphy is the major reference for many instructional leadership scholars. According to this paradigm, instructional leadership tasks have three dimensions: establishing school missions, administering instructional programs, and building a school-learning environment. In this model, instructional leadership sub dimensions include eleven leadership functions, including drawing on school goals, explaining school goals, supervising and evaluating teaching, coordinating curriculum, monitoring student progress, ensuring instructional time, maintaining learning support, providing incentives for teachers, enforcing academic standards, promoting professional development, and provide incentives for learning. Philip Hallinger developed the Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) Instrument based on this concept, which has been used in over 175 global surveys. Hallinger dubbed the model and instructional leadership principles of Hallinger and Murphy models to improve this model. According to him, the notion of instructional leadership is still relevant to policy, research, and management, as well as school leadership practice. As a result, in order to develop high-impact leaders, an assessment of the amount of instructional leadership practice by principle in each school should be established.

Instructional leadership responsibilities of principals

The principal's primary job is to ensure that all pupils learn and succeed. Demands for increased accountability, particularly calls for the adoption of more outcome-based metrics, necessitate the principal's focus on education. Are the pupils gaining knowledge? What are we going to do if the pupils are not learning? The focus on outcomes, on student success, and on students learning at high levels can only be achieved if teaching and learning become the school's and the principal's primary concerns.

How can principals assist teachers in defining instructional goals and collaborating to enhance teaching and learning in order to achieve those objectives? Principals must assist instructors in shifting their attention away from what they are teaching and toward what their pupils are learning. We can't continue to believe that "I taught it; they just didn't get it." The instructional leader's job assists the school in staying focused on the school's mission, which is to help all children learn.

Shifting the focus of education from teaching to learning; creating a learning-friendly environment; and establishing collaborative structures and processes for faculty to collaborate on improving instruction [24-26]. Principals must undertake a number of essential responsibilities in order to be successful instructional leaders in a professional learning community, including ensuring that professional development is ongoing and focused on school goals. This will need district-wide leadership that is solely focused on education. Focusing on learning, promoting collaboration, utilizing data to promote learning, focusing on professional staff development and assistance, and aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment are all things that school principals may do. These aspects, when considered together, create a convincing foundation for achieving long-term broad success for all children.

Krug’s effective instructional leadership dimensions

Because of the significance of leadership in school districts and schools, the function of the superintendent and principal has been scrutinized more closely, and a clearer knowledge of what instructional leaders do has emerged [27]. The strategic use of knowledge to address context- specific challenges and attain the goals of schooling via others is what instructional leadership entails. Despite the fact that instructional leadership faces a wide range of challenges and operates in a wide range of situations, [28] argues that instructional leadership can be basically defined in terms of five major dimensions: defining a mission; managing curriculum and instruction; supervising and supporting teaching; monitoring student progress; and promoting an instructional climate.

Mission-Defining with instructional leadership

Superintendents and principals' first job is to define the school system's and individual schools' objectives, purposes, and missions. There are no criteria for assessing whether a school district or school is successfully engaged in the educational process if it has not properly explored how it would do so. People with expertise in this field frequently discuss purpose and mission with employees, students, and the general public. They seize opportunities to emphasize and explain goals. They also make an effort to be visible in their surroundings and express their enthusiasm for education to employees and students.

Managing curriculum and instruction with instructional leadership

Successful principals give teachers with the knowledge they need to organize their lessons successfully, as well as actively supporting curriculum comprehension. Superintendents and principals must be aware of the unique requirements of each instructional area, even if they do not teach. Superintendents and principals can't give the resources teachers and staffs needs to carry out their job successfully unless they have a broad knowledge base. Superintendents and principals with experience in this area can give instructors with the knowledge they need to properly organize their work [29]. They endeavor to ensure that curriculum objectives and accomplishment assessment are well aligned, and they actively promote curriculum implementation. As superintendents and principals, their major focus is on educational rather than administrative issues.

Supervising and supporting teachers with instructional leadership

Despite requirements and traditional hierarchical structures have traditionally assigned principals and superintendents a restricted, evaluative function in relation to teachers, a good instructional leader is more generally focused on staff development. That is, a successful instructional leader is proactive rather than reactive when it comes to instructors, focusing on what could be rather than what was Superintendents and principals who are responsible for overseeing and assisting teachers spend time encouraging them to do their best and providing helpful coaching and counselling. They pretend to be a mentor rather than an assessor when criticizing teachers [30].

Monitoring students’ progress with instructional leadership

The primary output of the school district is a population of graduates with the technical and life skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment. McEwan says that good instructional leaders must be aware of the various methods in which student development may and can be measured [31]. More significantly, instructional leaders must use assessment data to assist teachers and students in improving, as well as to help parents understand where and why change is required Instructional leaders meet with teachers on a regular basis to discuss performance statistics and assess progress toward educational objectives. They provide teachers access to information on student evaluations [32].

Research design and methodology

Design of the Study

A descriptive survey is used in this study. Descriptive survey study seeks to collect people's thoughts, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs regarding a current instructional school leadership issue by describing their activities. Conducting a survey was the most common method for obtaining such data or information from people [33]. It would also seek to evaluate instructional school leadership methods, challenges, and advantages. The number of respondents, who reported each response, as well as their mean, standard deviation, and rank, were then utilized to summarize the descriptions. As a consequence, it explained what the reality is and what is really going on in the current practices, difficulties, and issues in the study field.

A mixed technique strategy was chosen because it provides us with a better understanding of a study topic or issue than each research method alone. In a single study, it entails acquiring, analysing, and integrating (or combining) quantitative and qualitative research (and data) [34]. This study looked at the elements of instructional leadership in Hallinger and Murphy's instructional leadership models: defining the mission, implementing instructional programs, and promoting a positive school climate.

Data source

To fulfil the study's aim, both primary and secondary data were used. 200 teachers, 100 department heads, 100 principals, and 100 vice principals were chosen as sample responses from Addis Ababa Private Schools' ten sub cities. In addition, important informants from these private schools' leadership positions contributed primary data in the form of interviews.

Sampling design

Study population

The sample would be drawn from the study population, which consists of a number of different elements. As a consequence, 200 teachers, 100 department heads, 100 principals, and 100 vice principals were chosen as sample responders from Addis Ababa Private Schools' ten sub cities

Sample size

Using simple random sample and available sampling, a total of 500 (five hundred) respondents were selected from the general target population to participate in this study.

Sampling techniques

To choose sample respondents from the entire population, simple random sampling and availability sampling techniques were utilized [35]. To avoid bias and to generalize data received from sample respondents; simple random sampling techniques were used. In addition, availability sampling was used as a method, and key informants were administrators and vice-principals from the private schools chosen. The researcher employed this method to include such leadership bodies in order to get useful information about instructional leadership practices, challenges, and advantages.

Method of data collection

In order to perform this study, the researcher used primary and secondary data. The descriptive survey method was used in this study, and the data collection techniques used to get primary data from sample respondents included a questionnaire, an interview, and document analysis.

Questionnaire

The primary instructional leadership rating scale (five likert scale) developed by Dr. Philip Hallinger and Murphey [36] was used to assess instructional leadership methods, challenges, and advantages. The questionnaire has both closed and open-ended variants. This enables obtaining a large amount of data from a large number of respondents in a short period of time and at a cheap cost straightforward. Additionally, because they all work in educational institutions, all of the participants were literate. People may read and reply to the questionnaire more freely as a consequence, expressing their opinions on the issue, and responders can offer information without fear of retaliation.

Interview

Key informants like as principals and vice principals were interviewed in a semi-structured interview to acquire specific information about the general present context of instructional leadership methods, challenges, and advantages.

Method of data analysis

Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis approaches were utilized to answer the key research questions and satisfy the study's objectives [37]. As a consequence, for the study's implementation and its completion, the collected data were recorded, edited, structured, analyzed, presented, and interpreted in relation to research objectives. Descriptive statistical tools such as tables, figures, means, standard deviations, and rank order were used for data collected through surveys. Descriptive statements were employed and quantitatively with average mean scores ranging from 1.00-2.49 for low, 2.50-3.49, 3.50-4.49, and 4.50-5.00 for moderate, high, and very high, respectively. Whereas descriptive statistical techniques such as description of finding were used for data collected through interviews and document analysis [38].

Pilot test

Since the researcher adapted and used Hallinger and Murphey's survey method, the Principal Instructional Leadership Rating Scale (PILRS), a pre-test of 100 (25%) of the respondents was conducted at 5 different private schools before the final distribution of the questionnaire. The pilot test was important in establishing the validity and reliability of the instruments, with the goal of determining whether the item included in the instrument can assist the researcher in gathering the necessary data. Furthermore, the objective of pilot testing was to make any required modifications in order to address any ambiguous or perplexing difficulties, and the researcher worked closely with him on this. As a consequence, using the SPSS computer software, a final analysis was performed on 28 items for sample survey respondents. As a result, the questionnaire was assessed, and the reliability test result was statistically computed using SPSS version 26 software.

Ethical consideration

Research ethics refers to the agreement that the researcher reached with his or her study participants. Every research study has ethical consequences, and all researchers must be aware of and respond to the ethical issues that arise as a result of their work. As a result, respondents were encouraged to take part in the survey on their own time. It required a lot of time and effort to respond to interviews and complete questionnaires. As a result, before enabling respondents to use their right to voluntary participation, the researcher informed them about the study's aims and significance. They were assured that the information they gave would remain confidential. The researcher did this by removing data that needed respondents' names to be disclosed. In addition, on the first page of the questionnaire, an introductory introduction letter was given, requesting the respondents' assistance in supplying the necessary information for the study.

Presentations and analysis of results

The study's overall goal was to evaluate instructional leadership practices in Addis Ababa's private schools. The primary goal of this study was to determine the extent to mwhich principals are undertaking instructional leadership duties. To demonstrate this, a modified survey was used, with the results shown in Table 1.

Table 1. The practice of instructional leadership activities.

Functions Mean SD Rank
1. Defining the educational goal (objective) of the school. 4.34 1.2 3
2. School goal (objective) communication. 3.48 1.3 10
3. Conducting instructional supervision and evaluation. 4.44 1.5 1
4. Coordination of the curriculum 3.98 1.4 9
5. Student progress is being tracked. 4.42 1.8 2
6. Time for learning is protected. 4.11 1.8 7
7. Keeping a high level of visibility. 4.33 1.8 4
8. Giving incentive for teachers. 4.22 1.9 6
9. Encourage the growth of your career. 4.11 1.7 7
10. Students were rewarded for their efforts. 4.32 2 5

As shown in Table 1, principals had substantially higher mean scores in activities of instructional leadership tasks such as setting school objectives (M=4.34, and SD= 1.21), communicating school goals (M=3.48, and SD=1.32), monitoring and assessing teaching (M=4.44, and SD=1.76), and organizing the curriculum (M=3.98, and SD=1.42), and school progress monitoring (M=4.42, and SD=1.76). This might indicate that principals were significantly performing instructional leadership responsibilities such as defining school goals, conveying school goals, overseeing and assessing instruction, organizing the curriculum, and monitoring school success.

Inline to this, school principals that offer supervision and instructional leadership are not excessively obsessed with precise administrative procedures (Ismail, et al). Instead, they take on responsibilities such as establishing clear objectives, administering the curriculum, assessing instructors, monitoring lesson plans, and allocating resources to teaching. In the qualitative part of this study too, similarly to the above quantitative result, one respondent said the following:

Since I've worked at our school for the past seven years, we've developed an excellent culture of establishing the school's clear goal and posting it in a visible place of the school notice board, which helps me stay focused on what the school wants to accomplish in the near future. I also recall the school while presenting and debating the goal in the meeting hall, in addition to displaying the school objective on the school gate’s board. Similarly, the findings of the mean value revealed that principals were found to have relatively higher average mean values in functions of instructional leadership activities such as safeguarding instructional time (M=4.11, and SD=1.82), keeping high visibility (M=4.33, and SD= 1.79), encouraging professional growth (4.11, and SD=1.69) and offering financial incentives to pupils (M=4.32, and SD=1.97).

The researcher also got similar idea concerning safeguarding instructional time, keeping high visibility and encouraging professional growth by respondents 1 and 4 as stated: To be honest with you, our school has a strong dedication to protecting our students' instructional time, which has been demonstrated by our students' performance. For your information, despite the fact that students were absent for over four months because to COVID-19, all of our grade 8 students had a percentile result of greater than 80 last year. Isn't it for the sake of preserving instructional time? The fourth respondent by the same token in his part said:

The positive thing about most private institutions, including this one, is that they are dedicated to maintaining high visibility and typically support professional advancement. This might be because they are competing with other private schools, and they need to be visible in their work locations on a frequent basis, as well as having competent personnel. This might suggest that these operations were conducted at a significant level. Incentives for instructors (M=4.22, and SD=1.88), too, had a higher performance in the mentioned private schools.

Concerning encouragement and incentive provision, similar to the quantitative result respondent 7 said: To the best of my knowledge, the secret to most private schools' success is that they offer competitive salaries and, by carefully evaluating their staff members' performance, they provide awards and incentives in cash and in kind, which is crucial for fully implementing instructional leadership practice Table 2.

Table 2. Obstacles of instructional leadership.

Obstacles of Instructional Leadership Mean SD Rank
1. Instructional leaders have a lot of work to do. 3.78 1.23 2
2. There is a scarcity of educational resources. 3.43 1.43 3
3. Superintendents don't communicate well. 3.33 1.33 4
4. Use of existing teaching resources is insufficient. 2.1 1.11 8
5. Insufficient time to carry out instructional tasks. 2.2 1.21 6
6. Within the school, there is a lack of contact with the staff members. 2.12 0.98 7
7. The operation of instructional activities is inconsistent. 3.3 1.43 5
8. Superintendents are interfering in the decision-making process. 4.4 1.76 1
9. The instructional leader lacked the guts and commitment to carry out instructional tasks. 2.01 0.98 9
10. Among the teachers, there was a lack of collaboration. 1.98 1.01 10

Heavy work load (M= 3.78, and SD=1.23), shortage of instructional material (M= 3.43, and SD= 1.43), inadequate communication with superintendent (M= 3.33, and SD= 1.33), and insufficient use of existing instructional resources were among the key problems that principals face in their instructional leadership practices (M= 2.1, and SD, =1.11), as shown in table. Similarly concerning the above three ideas one respondent said: Although it is critical to execute what is required by instructional leadership science, it is challenging to implement a full-fledged instructional leadership program at our school since there is so much paper and manual work that comes in so regularly. Even if we need to make it from the already divided time, shortage of educational resource and unwillingness of the immediate boss will be definitely a barrier. (M= 2.2, and SD, =1.21), Principals highlighted two key issues that influence principals' instructional leadership roles: a lack of time to undertake instructional activities (M= 2.12, and SD=0.98) and a lack of time to perform instructional activities (M= 3, and SD= 1.43).

Concerning the shortage of time, another respondent said:

As far as I can tell, this is what I've understand that our school personnel will not face any perceived issues when it comes to completely implementing instructional leadership. The issue, though, is a lack of time. Since private school stakeholders have been accustomed to receiving daily feedback from students in the form of a so-called communication book, time will be limited to fulfil other necessary instructional leadership activities. On the other side, there is a lack of teacher participation (M= 4.4, and SD= 1.76), as well as bravery and commitment to carry out instructional activities (M= 2.01, and SD=0.98).

Similarly, during the qualitative interview session, one of the respondents said something that was directly triangulated from the quantitative data. According to the responder: Because private schools must make a profit, teachers at private schools will have a higher number of periods than teachers in government school, which is limiting their ability to be active participants in instructional leadership standards. Furthermore, teachers primarily possess subject-matter expertise and have just a rudimentary understanding of instructional leadership advantages.

The highest challenging aspects of principals' instructional leadership practices were interference by the superintendent in decision-making processes (M= 4.4, and SD=1.76). Two respondents (Respondent 3 and Respondent 5) during the semi-structured interview remarked, respectively, on the amount of influence by private school administrators: Although the staff of private schools is eager to participate in the implementation of instructional leadership, the intervention of the superintendent is typically discouraging. We realize that private school owners must maintain their good name in order to keep on getting their income, but this should not come at the cost of tolerating significant student disciplinary issues, which are an integral element of the entire instructional leadership implementation package.

This school would be far more effective if they just delegated decision-making to specialists and received only their reports. Unfortunately, even if they have professional principals and vice principals, private school founders or their cadres will often meddle with professional choices. (Interviewee, # 5, November 2020) Table 3.

Table 3. Benefits of instructional leadership.

Benefits of Instructional Leadership Mean SD Rank
1. Knowing what is going on in the classroom is made easier with instructional leadership. 3.68 1.43 7
2. Instructional leadership aids in the development of staff capacity by enhancing their strengths while minimizing their limitations. 3.93 1.53 5
3. The importance of instructional leadership in ensuring the execution of instruction policies is critical. 4.33 1.73 2
4. Inspiring action and having a positive outlook on the future are two benefits of instructional leadership. 3.1 1.31 8
5. It is beneficial to utilize instructional leadership to elicit suggestions for improvement. 4.2 1.21 4
6. Instructional leadership is important for making educated decisions and keeping a school on track. 3.92 1.98 6
7. To make the most of existing resources, instructional leadership is helpful. 4.3 1.53 3
8. Instructional leadership is important for staying on top of concerns, approaches, and strategies that affect a school's curriculum. 4.4 1.76 1

In response to item 1 at Table 3, respondents were asked to rate the advantages of instructional leadership in connection with knowing what is happening in the classroom. As a result, the respondents' average score and standard deviation was (M= 3.68) and (SD=1.43) respectively. This item has got a seventh rank order opportunity list amongst all item. This means, it is not a major opportunity for the respondents. From this, it is clear that instructional leadership helps to know what is happening in the classroom at the private schools mentioned.

As to the word of one of the interviewee:

At my ten years of experience working in three private schools, I've seen principals, vice principals, and department heads spend far more time talking with student’s families, dealing with concerns from the education office, and recruiting new employees, among other things. The duties listed are also essential to me, but what is going on in the classroom is my first focus. Unfortunately, school administrators are less committed to this cause.

Another interviewee also added that:

Because most private schools have a restricted number of principals and vice principals, I may claim that the instructional supervision inside each classroom do not meet my expectations. When I say this, I don't want to generalize that there is no formal classroom assessment at all. However, if the leaders were less preoccupied with other concerns, they could do it more frequently. (Interviewee, # 4, October 2020)

The respondents' average score for item 2 in table 3 was (M=3.93). The advantage of instructional leadership to develop the capacity of staff by building their strengths and reducing their weaknesses was modest, according to the respondents' mean ratings and standard deviation value of (SD= 1.53).

A responder made the following statement, which is pretty telling:

Because I have experience with instructional leadership, I can state that it is an integral element of the teaching profession. I've seen colleagues who were not graduated by teaching profession but rather electrical engineering graduates, but the school principals and Sub city education supervisors provided them with intensive instructional leadership developmental feedback that completely transformed them into teachers who were equal to or better than the graduates.

The respondents' average score and standard deviation for item 3 of table 3 were (M=4.33) and (SD= 1.73) respectively. The respondents' mean scores clearly show that instructional leadership is important in ensuring the implementation policies with regard to instruction. This item has got a fifth priority rank order opportunity out of the given eight choices. On this regard, a comment made by a relatively a new staff to the institution is but an experience at other private school is informative in this context: To tell you the truth, instructional leadership is crucial in ensuring that a school's instructional policies are followed. If they truly require the application of what is done in the policy framework, Ethiopia's ministry of education might do a lot in the field of instructional leadership implementation to the level of each school.

By getting the second highest rank order list as opportunity, Table 3 shows that the respondents' mean score for item 4 were (M=3.1) with a standard deviation of (SD=1.31). This indicates that respondents gave a moderate rating to instructional leadership usefulness for inspiring action and takes an optimistic view of the future. Because one of the major aspects of instructional leadership practice is inspiring action and takes an optimistic view of the future, it is easy to conclude that the of inspiration among principals in the selected private schools seen the moderate opportunity of instructional leadership. As priority of opportunity, this item is the list chosen one as priority since it is kept the eighth order. The following comment was made by one of the respondents, and it is rather telling: To the best of my knowledge, I do not regard instructional leadership as being particularly effective for motivating action or for predicting the future. Most teachers, principals, and vice principals, like myself, are generally focused on regular tasks.

The mean score of the responders was (M=4.2) for item 5 in the same table. Because most of the respondents rated high instructional leadership is useful to solicit ideas for improvement and it is a major opportunities of instructional leadership that matters the practices of instructional leadership in these private schools. Mean score (M=4.2) with standard deviation of (SD=1.21) clearly depicts that instructional leadership is useful to solicit ideas for improvement in the selected private schools Addis Ababa.

A participant's experience is extremely revealing/illustrative:

When I first started working as a department head at this private school 12 years ago, my principal and vice principals sought to offer me with instructional leadership feedback in a professional manner, which helped me become a better teacher and department head. Similarly, by referring to previous consultations, I am able to offer constant feedback to staff members who are under my supervision. The mean score of the respondents was (M=3.92), as shown in Table 3 item 6. This implies that the usefulness of instructional leadership to make informed decisive decisions and keep an educational organization on track was a moderate opportunity to the use of instructional leadership, since it was ranked moderately by the respondents having a standard deviation value of (SD=1.98).

Interviewees saw the same thing on the aforementioned issue as they did with the quantitative finding. One of the interviewers, for example, said: There is no doubt that if schools properly embrace the notion of instructional leadership, their instructional activity as well as their students' academic achievement would increase. Similarly, those high- performing institutions will maintain their reputation and advancement. The average score and the standard deviation of the responders for item 7 in Table 3 was (M=4.3) and (SD= 1.53) respectively. As a consequence of this finding, it is feasible to conclude that instructional leadership is useful to make effective use of available resources since it has got very high mean value. Except for two of the respondents' interview participants stated instructional leadership is beneficial to make effective use of available resources, the rest of the students agreed with the quantitative findings and claimed instructional leadership is useful to make effective use of available resources. When asked about the most common usage of instructional tools, one interviewee stated: I can state that instructional leadership practice helped us to use the already available resources efficiently since department heads, supervisors, and school administrators commented on us. Furthermore, because the evaluation criteria included staff members' successful use of school resources, our staff is more likely to use what the school has as a teaching resource, which is, in my opinion, the result or benefit of instructional leadership implementation at this private school. (Interviewee, # 4, October 2020) Finally, as it can be seen in Table 3, item 8, the respondents' mean score was (M= 4.4), indicating that respondents at private schools considered instructional leadership as useful to abreast of issues, techniques and strategies that impact an educational program by rating very high mean value with a standard deviation of (SD=1.76).

Summary of the study

The study's objective was to investigate instructional leadership practices, obstacles and benefits in Addis Ababa's private schools. The study's objectives were met by employing descriptive survey method. 200 teachers, 100 department heads, 100 principals, and 100 vice principals from private schools in the ten sub-cities participated in the survey. The research participants were chosen using simple random and available sampling techniques. A questionnaire was used to collect information on key instructional leadership practices, obstacles, and benefits. The survey tool created by Hallinger and Murphey, the Principal Instructional Leadership Rating Scale (PILRS), was modified and utilized by the researcher. To analyze and interpret the data obtained from these respondents, the percentage, mean, standard deviation, and mean ranking were employed. Quantitative values were identified with an average mean scores ranging from 1.00-2.49 for low, 2.50-3.49, 3.50-4.49, and 4.50-5.00 for moderate, high, and very high, respectively. In addition to the questionnaire, a systematic open-ended eight-item interview was used to obtain data from the ten sub-city respondents. To achieve this aim, the following research questions were raised:

  1. In Addis Ababa's private schools, to what degree do principals fulfill instructional leadership functions?
  2. What are the primary obstacles that principals face in conducting instructional Leadership in Addis Ababa's private schools?
  3. What are the benefits of instructional leadership in private schools of Addis Ababa?

According to the finding of the data, defining and communicating school goals, preserving instructional time, maintaining high visibility, monitoring and assessing curriculum, and supporting professional development are some of the instructional leadership duties performed at a better and average level by principals. On the other hand, principals were in charge of providing incentives to teachers and students. Private school administrators established school mission at a level similar to the expected average, managed instructional programs at a moderate level, and promoted school atmosphere at a moderate level according to the data.

Principals confront a variety of issues in their instructional leadership practices, including a lack of instructional resources, poor communication with superintendents and subordinates, a lack of and incorrect use of existing instructional materials, and a lack of training in instructional areas. Both teachers and principals moderately do have the courage and commitment needed to perform their instructional leadership responsibilities. Principals also encountered problems such as relatively higher-class sizes, teacher turnover, a lack of expertise for principal ship, high teacher turnover, school structure concerns, inadequate rapid response from superintendents, and superintendent involvement in principals' decision-making.

Lastly, private school principals used conversations with teachers, students, and parents, encouraged interested parties to address school challenges and opportunities, and used a checklist to assess students' progress on the subject matter, according to the replies. Improving method of teaching, assisting students in making proper use of existing instructional materials, and recognizing students through various rewards are all examples of methods to improve instructional leadership practices more.

Conclusion

The following conclusions were drawn based on the current findings from both quantitative and qualitative data collected and analysed on the level of instructional leadership practice, obstacles and benefits. As variables, defining and communicating school goals, preserving instructional time, maintaining high visibility, monitoring curriculum, and supporting professional development were used. According to the modified survey tool of Hallinger and Murphey: Principal Instructional Leadership Rating Scale (PILRS) used in the current study, servant leadership is well practiced at private school of Addis Ababa.

Beginning with the founding of the private school, school principals should execute instructional responsibilities in the three primary areas of instructional leadership: establishing purpose, executing instructional programs, and constructing a school environment in an integrated manner. The instructional program dimension and its functions appear to be managed relatively and moderately in professional manner. As a consequence of integrating functions in the three dimensions, principals were found to be moderately efficient in leading instructional activities. Principals attempted to mitigate the impact of major challenges such as superintendent interference in decision-making, heavy workload, and moderate inter and intra-school communication by implementing strategies such as changing teaching methods, assigning well-qualified teachers, and creating a checklist to track student progress. All of these elements, as well as a lack of or insufficient utilization of instructional resources, may or may not contribute to the growth of instructional leadership practices in the selected private schools of Addis Ababa’s. This might mean that principals were trying to do their level best to integrate the aspects of instructional leadership and functions in order to enhance private school students’ results.

References