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School leadership for teaching and learning

The researchers also developed indicators for understanding and categorising school leadership practice. They highlight the importance of instructional school leadership, of self-regulated inquiry and knowledge-building, and of working towards coherence (for example, through ensuring that professional learning for leaders and teachers is aligned to student learning needs). The leadership indicators are listed in Appendix J of the report, along with examples of leadership practices when focusing on Pasifika students.

The following table sets out the leadership practice indicators for the inquiry phase identifying valued outcomes and student learning needs. It then lists some examples of what these looked like when school leaders were consciously adapting their practice to the languages, identities, and cultures of their Pasifika students. The following case study illustrates those examples in practice.

Indicators: Identifying valued outcomes and student learning needs

Examples of practice focusing on Pasifika students

  • Leaders develop school systems for data collection, organisation, and use.
  • Inquiring into puzzles that emerge from analysis of disaggregated Pasifika student data.
  • Using the English Language Learning Progressions to identify the next steps for learning for English language learners.
  • Selecting focus Pasifika students and English language learners and monitoring their progress.
  • Leaders prioritise student learning and know what is happening.
  • Identifying the implications (of evidence about student learning) for Pasifika students.
  • Leaders set a clear vision for student achievement with informed expectations.
  • Using the English Language Learning Progressions to identify where English language learners sit in terms of progress towards curriculum level English language competency.
Case study

3: Identifying puzzles of practice with regard to Pasifika students

In a number of schools, the literacy leaders were also members of the senior management team, reflecting their commitment to the long-term success of the professional learning. In one such school, a literacy leader (and deputy principal) explained that she and her colleagues had realised that many Pasifika students at their school were English language learners, despite not having identified this earlier. She connected this to another finding from their school: that junior students were being pushed through the reading levels on the basis of their ability to decode text but that they could not always understand the text they had decoded.

I know there has been a big focus on powering kids through levels as opposed to what they were actually doing to get there. I am interested in what the data is showing us now that there has been some PD [with] a focus on literacy, and whether we are seeing different trends [in the data] to what we were before, particularly for those students who are English language learners.

On the basis of these two findings, the school decided to focus on comprehension and vocabulary. Later, the school also decided to adopt The English Language Learning Progressions instead of asTTLe to monitor progress for some students because of the ELLP matrix’s information about learner development in relation to language structure, grammar, and vocabulary. The next step would be to triangulate students’ reading data with their writing data.

A learning project

The LPDP was a learning project: inquiry and knowledge building took place at all levels. The identification of puzzles of practice led to connected learning for teachers, school leaders, and facilitators themselves because each participant in the project took responsibility for improving their knowledge and skills in relation to specific issues and questions. The evidence to support this inquiry and knowledge building was drawn from both inquiry into professional practice and from formal research. In keeping with this approach, research findings from the study were shared as they emerged, and any learning needs were promptly addressed.

Guiding questions He pātai

  • What do you know about leadership practices designed specifically to improve outcomes for Pasifika students and English language learners?
  • To what extent do you implement these for your Pasifika students?

The Pasifika Education Plan 2013– 2017 is due to be released in December. It sets out a transformation agenda that holds everyone involved within the education sector responsible and accountable for achieving Pasifika education success. The Plan places Pasifika learners, their parents, families, and communities at the centre; from there they can influence policies and practices as well as become more informed and demanding consumers of education.

The Pasifika Education Plan sets out clear targets that can be used to measure progress towards achieving accelerated levels of Pasifika participation and achievement, and the actions to get there.

Published 2012 for the Ministry of Education by Learning Media Limited. All text and images copyright © Crown 2012. All rights reserved. Enquiries should be made to the publisher. ISSN 1179-9323 (Online)

Download the full print version: Issue 27: November 2012 (PDF, 1,008 KB)