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Open Access Onderpresterende vastbenoemde leraren door de ogen van schoolleiders

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Underperforming tenured teachers through the eyes of school leaders. An exploratory, qualitative study of their views on underperformance, actions and perceived obstacles

The performance of teachers largely determines the quality of schools. However, research shows that teachers’ underperformance is not always (adequately) addressed by school leaders. The legal protection of tenured teachers is frequently mentioned as an important obstacle. To obtain more insight in how Flemish primary school leaders deal with underperforming tenured teachers, we interviewed 14 school leaders about their views on teacher underperformance, the actions they take with tenured teachers and the obstacles they come across. The results show that school leaders describe underperformance as a prolonged failing towards students, the team and the school. Causes of underperformance are found in teachers’ attitudinal problems, physical and psychological problems, lack of expertise and lacking professional growth. School leaders adopt a phased and differentiated approach. At first, they offer help and support. If necessary, they proceed to confrontation and try to put pressure on the teacher. Underperforming teachers are also being moved to other positions within and outside the school and sometimes their workload is temporarily alleviated. Furthermore, school leaders are prepared to give them negative evaluations. Yet, for underperforming tenured teachers, they do not believe in the possibility of official sanctions and dismissal. Other obstacles in dealing with tenured underperformers include emotional and relational obstacles, time constraints, limited competencies of school leaders, a negative school climate, a lack of clear evaluation criteria and denial by the teacher. We conclude that school leaders need more support and training to adequately deal with underperforming tenured teachers and discuss the implications of our findings for follow-up research and practice.
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Keywords: primary education; school leadership; teacher underperformance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Loth Van Den Ouweland is werkzaam als onderzoeker aan de faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen en is lid van de onderzoeksgroep EduBROn., Email: [email protected] 2: Jan Vanhoof is werkzaam als hoofddocent aan de faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen en is lid van de onderzoeksgroep EduBROn. 3: Nadia Roofthooftt is werkzaam als adjunct-directeur in de Europese School Bergen.

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • Het tijdschrift Pedagogiek stelt zich ten doel de wetenschappelijke discussie over opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming binnen het Nederlands taalgebied (Nederland en Vlaanderen) te stimuleren en te ondersteunen. Pedagogiek beoogt naast een bijdrage aan het wetenschappelijke debat ook de maatschappelijke discussie op de terreinen van opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming te bevorderen. Bijdragen zullen dan ook uitdrukkelijk worden beoordeeld op zowel hun wetenschappelijke als maatschappelijke relevantie. Pedagogiek biedt: (1) wetenschappelijke verslagen van empirisch, theoretisch en historisch onderzoek op het gebied van opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming, alsmede review studies op onderhavige terreinen; (2) opiniërende bijdragen van wetenschappelijk niveau (Forumbijdragen); (3) boekbesprekingen.

    The journal Pedagogiek (Pedagogy) aims to stimulate and support the scholarly discourse on child rearing, education and training within the Dutch language area (The Netherlands and the Flemish region). Pedagogiek strives to contribute to the scholarly debate, but also desires to boost the public debate on the subject of child rearing, education and training. Therefore, contributions will be judged explicitly on both their scholarly merit and their social relevance. Pedagogiek offers: (1) scholarly articles reporting on empirical, theoretical and historical research in the field of child rearing, education and training, and review studies in the same field; (2) opinion pieces on a scholarly level (panel discussions); (3) book reviews.

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