Leading learning for Māori students : the challenges of leadership for teaching principals in small rural primary schools
O’Leary, Hazel Aroha Abraham
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Citation:O’Leary, H. A. A. (2015). Leading learning for Māori students : the challenges of leadership for teaching principals in small rural primary schools. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec Institute of Technology
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3260
This study focused on examining teaching principals’ perceptions of educational leadership practices that were perceived to transform Māori achievement in small rural primary schools. A kaupapa Māori framework was applied to this research. This involved meeting and interviewing eight teaching principals, in their schools throughout the greater Wairoa, Gisborne and Eastern Bay of Plenty education regions. A sizeable proportion of Māori students are located in isolated, small rural primary schools that are led by teaching principals. The literature suggests a myriad of leadership challenges exist for teaching principals in small rural primary schools. An assumption is made that these challenges have stemmed from the implementation of the self-managing model, Tomorrows Schools (Brooking, Collins, Court, & O'Neil, 2003; Springford, 2006). Findings were analysed qualitatively, generating themes grounded from within each participant’s story. Mentoring and lifestyle choices were considered determinants that influenced people into taking up positions in small rural primary schools. The findings also indicated that there is an alarmingly increasing number of challenges that some teaching principals face alone and without appropriate support. Although twenty five years have gone by since the implementation of the self-managing model of Tomorrow’s Schools teaching principals are continuing to spend a considerable amount of their time supporting and managing responsibilities that should be carried out by Boards of Trustees. A new finding of this research highlights the positive value of having iwi and external providers collaboratively working together with teaching principals to strengthen strategic management, particularly the shaping of the vision of education for the identified iwi primary schools. In these iwi primary schools, teaching principals have committed to implementing and fostering te reo Māori (language), school wide, as part of strengthening and adopting Māori culture, karakia and values through ruma rumaki and mainstream classes.