Role of leadership in supporting effective learning and
teaching in New Zealand secondary schools
The study aims to examine the role of leadership in supporting effective learning and teaching in secondary schools of New Zealand. It indicates role of school leaders, the effectiveness of leadership, role of leadership to promote effective learning and development, leadership practices in schools, professional development and effective learning in secondary schools in New Zealand. The study summaries the view point of a number of authors and their findings on the form of literature review. Based on the literature review, the role of leadership and professional development to promote effective teaching and learning practices in the secondary schools were analyzed. Along with it, the study provides the recommendation for future research area.
Table of Contents
For an individual attaining success in education is crucial in order to get better employment opportunities as well as income prospects. Not only educational success promotes individual growth but it promotes the overall economic wellbeing of a country. Schools are the main institution in order to attain quality education. Educational reforms in the country, increased emphasis on promoting school leadership, and improved professional learning can help to address the difference in the achievements of students. Moreover, the organization leadership when applied to the schools can help reduce the disparities among students. The aim of this study is to examine the role of a leadership in promoting effective learning and teaching practices in the secondary schools of New Zealand.
In this section, comprehensive findings of earlier research on this topic have been presented. The focus is on explaining the present state of research on the topic -the role of leadership in supporting effective learning and teaching practices in various secondary schools of New Zealand. Along with it, all the variables involved such as the effective leadership, role of leaders, leadership practices, leadership practices, professional development and educational reforms in New Zealand are discussed.
According to Robertson & Notman (2013), in the recent times, schools are also facing immense pressure to be answerable for the public spending on education; consequently, performance of schools is determined and compared. The school leaders have to maintain balance between the rules and regulations by the government as well as have to provide the best services to the students and provide teachers with the best professional learning experience. The study specifies that in order to develop schools, it is crucial to improve the quality of teachers. The quality of teachers can be improved by developing their professional teaching practice. With a view to develop strategies to improve the teaching practice, leadership practices are given emphasis. The study emphasizes on the notion that application of leadership practice to improve the quality of teachers has resulted in the improvement of learning across many schools. Furthermore, the school leadership and teaching practices cannot be parted from each other. Supporting this study, Robinson (2019) suggested that the professional attributes of a leader, the purpose, passion, pedagogy style along with the leadership qualities are essential for bringing forward the best possible result for learners as well as other stakeholders.
A leader is said to be effective when he/she demonstrates execution of high integrity, values and is culturally responsive; follows a humanitarian approach to increase the learning capacities of students. An effective leader in education sector significantly changes the educational result of the low achieving students. Leadership is crucial to develop effective schools and provide the students with necessary support so as to improve their educational outcomes. Educational leadership practices help to reduce the disparities in language, race, ethnicity and class among students and in turn, foster creation of equitable learning environment. As per the study conducted by Ishimaru & Galloway (2014) suggested ten practices that must be exercised by a leader to achieve equitable education learning environment, these comprises of determining equity vision, providing directions to achieve that vision, promoting organizational leadership, ensuring practice for equitable learning and teaching, collaborating with faculty and other members, allocation and management of all allied resources and monitoring all actions.
As per Leithwood, Harris & Hopkins (2008), the main aim of a leader is to influence the learning of students as well as improve the performance of the other staff members. The study demonstrated that when the head teachers exercise core leadership practices then it resulted in improves teacher capacities, motivation level and accession to the working conditions. This in turn, positively impacted classroom training, despite this practice was not related to the learning and achievement levels of students. Although, in the same study, the author found that the direct contribution of school leaders on the staff capacities is discreet, however, there was a positive effect of school leaders on the levels of motivation, commitments as well as acceptance of working environment.
Traditionally, the focus was mainly on Principal having all the powers. However, a study by Klar, Huggins, Hammonds & Buskey (2016) specified that it is important to engage teachers and provide them with the distributed leadership practice. The principal must be willing to divide power and authority. A number of countries comprising the UK, the USA, Australia, some parts of New Zealand and Europe have adopted distributed leadership practice in educational reforms. This was undertaken for the purpose of making the learning institutions handle dynamic processes and to improve their productive capacities. Earlier the principals were the only educational leaders, now the focus has shifted towards a collaborative culture. As a part of collaborative culture, the school leadership practices are not only exercised by the principal but also by the teachers as well as other administrators. Collaborative working improves the self-efficacy of teachers, if done well.
Wood, Beavis, Cloonan, Hutchison, Pangrazio, & Sefton-Green (2019) have shown that in this era of digitalization the teachers as well as schools have to keep pace with fast changes in technologies. The professional learning helps the teachers to understand the usage of technologies by the students, their types and enable them to imbibe the changes in technology in their teaching practices. This was supported by the study of Katz & Darr (2017) about Real professional learning, that will enable the teachers to make changes in their thinking patterns and practice they have adopted over the year. Understanding of new areas and topics will promote improved practices which will consequently affect the learning’s and achievements of students. The teachers are professionally developed when there is an increase in their learning’s. These learning’s when inculcated will be seen in their actions and behavior of teachers. Thus, this will be transferred to students. Impactful changes come from enhancing the knowledge of teachers; hence it becomes necessary to provide continuous training for continuous expansion of knowledge.
The deployment of Research Learning communities in schools was done with the purpose to increase the awareness among teachers and usage of educational research in enhancing their professional practice and simultaneously increase the results of the students as emphasized by Harris & Jones (2018). The study findings showcased that although, the evaluation report showed that there was no improvement in reading results of the students; yet, the research learning communities enhanced the inclination of teachers towards research.
The relationship between effective leadership and teaching in Secondary schools in New Zealand was indicated by the study of Eley & Berryman (2018). The education reform in New Zealand aims to increase the educational achievement for every citizen of New Zealand. The focus of reforms is to bring equity, excellence and belongingness in order to provide students with better future and make their identify strong as well as secure. The actions of school teacher have considerable impact on the actions and practices of a student. Nonetheless, changing only the classroom pedagogy was not enough for schools in order to become more cultural and to reduce disparities. It is imperative for the schools to revolutionize the complete institutional structures to persistently improve the performance of the students rather than the simple resource policies that comprise of decreasing the class size, augmenting the salaries of the teachers, increasing expenditure on schools, bringing leadership and administrative system. However, the findings of study indicated that changing school leadership practices is not sufficient to bring large-scale changes for students who are culturally different.
In this century, the significance of effective leadership in managing the operations of schools has been widely acknowledged by Klar, Huggins, Hammonds & Buskey (2016). Sustained and collaborative leadership practices in educational institution enhance the teaching qualities as well as the benefit the students by providing them with a climate in which they can grow and attain educational success. The professional development of teachers by developing research learning communities has helped teachers to accept changes. However, only effective leadership is not sufficient. Along with it, the approach by school leaders, the pedagogical dialogue, their passion and purpose to bring changes in the lives of students promotes the overall development of students. Bringing the non-indigenous individuals in the framework of education will foster an equitable educational success and stimulate the economic well-being of all the sections of the society was suggested by Eley & Berryman (2018) findings. Moreover, when the teacher in school emphasizes on the improving cultural relationship in order to make pedagogy more responsive, enhanced collaborations among home, schools and community and imbibe adaptive expertise in order to drive deliberate processes acts then the reform are strengthen and the progress of students is elevated.
For schools to improve the quality of services, it has become important to improve the quality of teachers. Professional development and assimilation of effective leadership qualities in them is crucial for improving the educational outcomes of students. Effective leadership must be sustained and collaborative in order to expand the professional learning in schools. Leaders must engage students, the pedagogical dialogue, their passion, approach, purpose enable them to create a climate where student can flourish. However, it is necessary to understand the holistic nature of successful leadership, which helps to reduce the disparities and bring non-indigenous students into the educational framework.
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Ishimaru, A. & Galloway, M. (2014). Beyond Individual Effectiveness: Conceptualizing Organizational Leadership for Equity. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 13(1), 93–146. DOI: 10.1080/15700763.2014.890733
Katz, S. & Darr, L. (2017). Towards a culture of inquiry for data use in schools: Breaking down professional learning barriers through intentional interruption. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 42, 35-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2013.10.006
Klar, H., Huggins, K., Hammonds, H. & Buskey, F. (2016). Fostering the capacity for distributed leadership: a post-heroic approach to leading school improvement, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 19(2), 111-137. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603124.2015.1005028
Leithwood, K., Harris, A. & Hopkins, D. (2008). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership, School Leadership & Management, 28(1), 27-42. DOI: 10.1080/13632430701800060
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Robinson, V. (2019). Excellence in educational leadership: Practices, capabilities and virtues that foster improved student outcomes. In T. Bush, L. Bell & D. Middlewood (Eds.). Principles of Educational Leadership and Management, 3, 73-91. London: Sage Publications Ltd. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e49f/2a5a6bd2bbffe351aabb81159fdc588f9f17.pdf
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Wood, N., Beavis, C., Cloonan, A., Hutchison, K., Pangrazio, L., & Sefton-Green, J. (2019). Teacher learning and the everyday digital. Australian Educational Researcher, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-019-00326-2
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