Leadership of learning and change for successful learning outcome in History Education





Leadership;, Management, Learning outcome, History educators, Leardership influence, School management, Learner performance, Learning and Teaching


Managing History learning and teaching in schools of South Africa over the years has been characterised by diverse opinions regarding the causes of learner underperformance, who is to be held responsible over learner performance and possible leadership influence on History learner performance. In addressing the problem of underperformance in History from a leadership point of view, the researchers were guided by the managerial leadership and humanism learning theories. The selected qualitative methodology adopted an ethnographic design to establish hidden inferences. A sample of thirty participants comprising the provincial coordinator for History, subject advisor, principals, departmental heads, teachers and learners was obtained based on the availability of History-offering schools in the study area. Data collection was mainly through interviews and meta-analysis of documents. Both deductive and inductive reasoning was applied using ATLAS.ti version 8.4 and thematic analysis in the data analyses process. The findings suggest several managerial leadership measures ranging from policy to practice. These amongst others include the recommendation that History as part of social science should be separated in totality from Geography.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Dr Hennades Tabe, North-West University, South Africa

Hennades Tabe Tabe holds a PhD in Educational management and Leadership. Prior to the completion of his PhD in August 2021, he worked at the Academic Development Centre (ADC) as a writing consultant for four years. He has worked in the Faculty of Education, North West University at various capacities concurrently as follows: An assessor/marker in the Faculty for four years, a research assistant at various projects for three years, and a temporary lecturer for over three years in the School of Professional Studies (SPS) and the School of Commerce and Social Studies in Education (SCSSE). Through the ADC, Hennades Tabe has been involved in different community projects wherein they visited nearby rural secondary schools to encourage and motivate the grade 12 matriculants.

Prof Jan Heystek, North-West University, South Africa

Before Prof Jan Heystek was appointed as a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria in 1995, he was a deputy principal in a secondary school. He continued his academic work at the Stellenbosch University (2006 to 2012) and is currently a research professor as the director of the education in leadership research entity at the North West University. His initial research focused on school governance (from a leadership perspective) with the potential contribution of parents as partners to improve the standards of education. His recent focus is on school leadership and school improvement in low socio-economic context, school leadership development, school governance and school leadership in general. Prof Heystek is the co-author of two textbooks: Human resource management in education (2005) and People leadership in education (2008), as well as the author of nine chapters published in different international, supervised 13 doctoral and 34 master’s degree students and authored or co-authored of 43 articles in nationally and internationally refereed and accredited journals. He is a C2 rated academic.

Dr Pieter Warnich, North-West University, South Africa

Pieter Warnich holds a doctoral degree and is a senior lecturer in History education and deputy-director of the School of Commerce and Social Studies of the North-West University at the Potchefstroom campus, South Africa. For the past 20 years he is involved in the teaching of history academic and methodology modules to undergraduate students and provide supervision to postgraduate students. His main areas of specialisation are teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum development. He has presented various papers at national and international conferences and published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in books. Dr Warnich is also the editor of various books on History teaching and assessment. From 2014-2018 he acted as the Editor-in-Chief of the educationally focused and accredited History Journal, Yesterday & Today. Currently he serves on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Research on History Didactics, History Education, and History Culture.


Angbing, H.D. 2014. Determinants of senior high school students’ performance in social studies in the central region of Ghana. Journal of Education and Practice, 5(8): 52–57.

Bush, T. & Glover, D. 2016. School leadership and management in South Africa: Findings from a systematic literature review. International Journal of Educational Management, 30(2): 211–231. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-07-2014-0101

Carl, A.E. & Negumbo, T.A.N. 2017. Underperformance in social studies in grades 5–7 in Namibian primary schools: A case study. Yesterday & Today, 17: 92–120. https://doi.org/10.17159/2223-0386/2017/n17a5

Coetzee, E.J. & Van Niekerk, J.L. (Eds.). 2017. An educator’s guide to effective Classroom management, second edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

Department of Basic Education, 2018. Report of the history ministerial task team. Available at https://www.eccurriculum.co.za/Circulars2018/Report%20of%2History/Ministerial. [Accessed 21 November 2019].

Du Plessis, P. & Mestry, R. 2019. Teachers for normal schools a challenge for South Africa. South Africa Journal of Education, 39(1): S1–S9. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v39ns1a1774

Eleanor, M.L. 2019. Parent involvement in teacher education in South Africa. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267978437_Parent_involvement_in_teacher_education_in_South_Africa. [Accessed 21 December 2019].

Heystek, J. 2014. Principal’s perceptions about performance agreements as motivational action: Evidence from South Africa. Educational Management Administration, 42(6): 889–902. https://doi.org/10.1177/1741143214549425

Hompashei, D. 2018. Instructional leadership and academic performance: Eastern Cape educators’ perceptions and quantitative evidence. Stellenbosch Economic Available at www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2018/wp132018. [Accessed 23 September 2018].

Kotter, J.P. 2018. Management vs. leadership. The Clemmer Group: Stronger people, stronger organisation. Available at https://www.clemmergroup.com/articles/management-vsleadership. [Accessed 22 January 2019].

Leithwood, K., Harris, A. & Hopkins, D. 2020. Seven strong claims about successful school leadership revisited, School Leadership & Management. 40(1): 5–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/13632434.2019.1596077

Little, V. 1990. A national curriculum in History: A very contentious issue. British Journal of Educational Studies, 38(4): 319–334. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.1990.9973860

Louis, K.S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K. & Anderson, S. 2010. Learning from Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning. New York: The Wallace Foundation.

Makgato, M. & Mudzanani, N.N. 2019. Exploring school principals’ leadership styles and learners’ educational performance: A perspective from high and low-performing schools. Africa Education Review, 16(2): 90–108. https://doi.org/10.1080/18146627.2017.1411201

Maree, K. (Ed). 2014. First steps in research, fourteenth edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

Mendels, P. 2012. The effective principal: Five pivotal practices that shape instructional leadership. Journal of Staff Development, 33(1): 54–58.

Mestry, R. 2017. Principals’ perspectives and experiences of their instructional leadership functions to enhance learner achievement in public schools. Journal of Education, 69: 257–278.

Munje, P.N. & Maarman, R. 2017. Do school resource matter? The effect of school resources on learner performance in poor school communities, Journal of Educational Studies, 16(1): 34–51.

Nwati, M.P. 2015. A capability analysis of performance in quintile one schools in Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis. Cape Town: University of Western Cape.

Ogundele, G.A., Olanipekun, S.S. & Aina, J.K. 2014. Causes of poor performance in West African school certificate examination (WASCE) in Nigeria. Scholars Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(5B): 670–676.

Parsons, D. 2014. Humanist learning theory. Available at http://www.learning-theories.com/humanism.html. [Accessed 25 January 2018].

Taylor, N. 2008. What’s wrong with South African schools?. Available at https://www.jet.org.za/resources/Taylor%20Whats%20wrong%20with%20SA%20schools%20JET%20Schools%20Conf%20final.pdf [Accessed 23 April 2018].

Voogt, J. & Roblin, N.P. 2012. A comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21century competences: Implications for national curriculum policies. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(3): 299–321. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.668938

Warnich, P. & Meyer, L. 2013. Trainee teachers’ observation of learner centred instruction and assessment as applied by History and Social Sciences teachers. Yesterday & Today, 9: 13–44.



How to Cite

Tabe, H., Heystek, J., & Warnich, P. (2021). Leadership of learning and change for successful learning outcome in History Education. Perspectives in Education, 39(4), 172-186. https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v39.i4.12



Research articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)