Improving teaching and learning in selected Mauritian secondary schools
: an exploration of the instructional leadership narratives of principals

  • Guy Jean-Noel Genevieve

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The study explores issues of the quality of teaching and learning and
instructional leadership, as experienced by principals in selected state secondary
schools in Mauritius. Five principals were purposively chosen, representing a
range of variations that can be found in the population of principals of state
secondary schools. The narratives collected were analysed in three ways. A
narrative portrayal of each participant was first produced. The narratives were
also analysed collectively to evidence common structures and themes. Finally,
the narratives were analysed using theoretical frameworks describing various
dimensions of quality teaching and instructional leadership.

The principals tended to focus on short-term, high-visibility objectives, usually
unrelated to academic performance. They appeared to be strongly guided by
considerations of risk minimisation, avoidance of conflict and loss of reputation,
all of which need to be understood in the context of their professional
experiences. They are very careful to avoid situations that they felt could escape
their control. Despite this inhibiting factor, they showed concern for quality by
using a combination of approaches to improve on academic achievement and
various aspects of school life. Direct intervention on teaching is, more often than
not, enacted when quality of teaching falls below a threshold. The key indicator
is constructed within a quantitative frame, determined by the number of
complaints received. The data thus gestures strongly towards leadership as
control, risk mitigation and maintenance of routine school activities.

This research contributes to educational policy by indicating that support for the
principals should be reviewed to provide them with risk management skills. The
support system should also ensure that right from their initial career stages, the
instructional leadership practices of principals are better aligned with the official
quality of education policies of the Government.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorDavid Stephens (Supervisor)

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