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Assigning teachers to a position for which they are not suitably qualified influences effective educational leadership. The paper reveals assumptions and misconceptions about the lived experiences of teachers in out-of-field positions and what it means for effective educational leadership. The multilayered meaning of out-of-field teaching for quality education is an international concern which includes countries such as Australia, USA, UK, Korea, Europe, Turkey and South Africa. The paper reports on a transnational qualitative investigation conducted in Australia and South Africa at seven schools in different educational environments. The meaning of lived experiences in relation to out-of-field teaching and educational leadership is explored through the lenses of educationaldirectors, principals, specialist and out-of-field teachers and parents. An in-depth discussion of the practical and social implications unveils taken-for-granted traditions and cultures in relation to out-of-field teaching. The paper concludes with an in-depth discussion of the meaning out-of-field teaching has for educational leadership, while it underlines specific complexities for decision-making and policy development. The need for further research in relation to educational leadership training and professional development in relation to the out-of-field situation is revealed.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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