Ethnic diversity and school leadership: Lessons from johannesburg schools

Buma Annastacia, Pierre du Plessis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Increasingly, South African schools are becoming more diverse due to the implementation of new legislation to foster democratization in schools. Other external factors such as increasing globalization may also be contributing to the apparently growing diversity at schools. Such increasing diversity could pose challenges regarding fostering a culture of teaching and learning at these integrated schools. Therefore, this article looks at how school management and leadership are fostering a culture of teaching and learning in ethnically diverse schools in Johannesburg North District. The theoretical perspectives for this study are based on multicultural education and diversity. The study is embedded in a social constructivist inquiry paradigm. It reports on the application of a mixed method design which aims at capturing the lived experiences, beliefs and feelings of the participants who are the principals, Heads of Departments (HoDs), teachers and learners, as expressed in their languages, both spoken and written in relation to ethnic diversity. The data collected, show that the diverse cultures of schools in Johannesburg North include characteristics of both traditional and liberal multicultural education and illustrate the fact that societies are becoming more complex in terms of social, economic and political composition. Therefore, in addition to teaching the basic skills of reading, writing and math, school leadership and management should encourage teaching and learning that will involve social justice issues, equity and equality through which students will learn to become reflective, moral, caring and active citizens, goals which liberal multicultural education aims to achieve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1192
Number of pages9
JournalMediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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