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Ng, David Foo Seong
Research studies have continuously reveal that leadership in teaching and learning is crucial to the quality of teaching and learning in Early Childhood Education (ECE). Concurrently, instructional leadership is a well-researched educational leadership theory related to leadership in teaching and learning which has shown promising correlations with teacher instructions and students’ learning. This study seeks to investigate instructional leadership practices of preschool leaders in Singapore.
This is the first study both locally and internationally, on instructional leadership theory of preschool leaders. In essence, this research aims to understand the extent to which instructional leadership is practise and how it is practised by preschool leaders in Singapore. This study leverages on a survey research design and adopts a one-phase triangulation mixed method approach.
An adapted version of Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS) is used to collect quantitative data from preschool leaders and both descriptive and inferential statistics will be presented. Coding is used to analyse the data collected from structured interviews with three preschool leaders. The two datasets is subsequently merged to obtain a complete picture from both datasets.
The mean and standard deviation for the overall PIMRS computed for 177 preschool leaders was 4.0633 and 0.44062 respectively. The findings using the PIMRS have established empirically and theoretically that preschool leaders in Singapore practised instructional leadership.
The qualitative findings also contributed to the understanding of instructional leadership practices in the preschool context as the three leaders practised instructional leadership through the four dimensions of instructional leadership framework. For example, in the dimension of Leading Teaching and Learning, preschool leaders shared that they conduct walkabout daily and provided feedback to teachers on classroom observations.
Furthermore, three contextual factors which supported the practice of instructional leadership are found to be, namely, operating models of preschools, preschool accreditation in Singapore through the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework (SPARK) and support from headquarter on teaching and learning matters.
Both quantitative and qualitative approaches validated that preschool leaders practised direct instructional leadership where direct guidance to the teachers’ teaching practices and personal monitoring of teachers’ teaching take place. With this research finding, preschool leaders could be made more intentional in their instructional leadership approaches. This will help to build their instructional leadership capacities and hence reap the potential benefits given the relationships between instructional leadership and quality in teaching and learning.
Four key limitations are identified in this research study, namely, the high PIMRS score is a hopeful rather than an actual assessment, the use of only interviews as the data collection method for the qualitative segment, the need to include a larger variety of preschools and the limitation of a one-phase mixed method design.
Future research studies arising from the implications of this research could possibly be to study the antecedent factors and effects of instructional leadership and to uncover how instructional leadership impact teaching and learning practices so as to impact children’s learning.
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checked on May 15, 2021
checked on May 15, 2021
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