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Building responsive school leadership in order to realise Māori students’ potential

School leaders need to respond positively, and in a culturally-appropriate way, so that Māori students can realise their potential.

In the Best Evidence Synthesis on school leadership and student outcomes, the researchers conclude that school leaders can indeed make a difference to student achievement and well-being (Robinson, Hohepa, Lloyd 2009: 35). Most importantly, they assert that effective leadership can counter differential achievement, and accelerate the learning of the lowest achievers (2009:52).

Moreover, the researchers suggest that a positive impact on student achievement is more likely when the educational leaders are close to the core business of teaching and learning (2009:47).

Gorinski and Shortland-Nuku (2006) suggest several factors that school leaders need to consider, especially if they have a high Māori student population. First and foremost is the need for leadership with a moral purpose; that is, leading with strong conviction. Examples could be a leader’s call to action in light of the urgency of Māori student achievement issues, or taking a stand on Māori student potential, or arguing for maintenance of the indigenous language and culture within the education system. The same researchers (2006: 18-19) suggest that effective leaders focus less on dysfunction and more on creating opportunities, building productive partnerships, and targeting resources.

Questions / Things to think about / Activities

  1. What could leaders at our school change to enhance Māori student achievement? What would be the benefits of such changes? How could the changes be made? How could we evaluate the impact of the changes?
  2. To what extent is the leadership team in our school actively taking responsibility for Māori students’ success?
  3. The BES on school leadership and student outcomes (2009:35) suggests that pedagogical leadership can make a difference to student achievement, and that such leadership is characterised by:
  • the establishment of clear educational goals,
  • the planning of the curriculum, and
  • the evaluation of teachers and teaching.

To what extent is our leadership team exemplifying this, in order to have a positive impact on Māori student outcomes? Are there any leadership issues in our school that may be hindering Māori student engagement and achievement?

Filed under: Identity Language and Culture | Effective teachers

Tags: Te Mana Kōrero

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