University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership team members, Linda Bendikson, Jacqui Patuawa and Gary Pearce are part of a wider team who are working under contract to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to improve literacy and leadership outcomes in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The team comprises the University of South Pacific’s (USP) Institute of Education, the University of Auckland’s Woolf Fisher Research Centre and the Research Unit in Pacific and International Education (RUPIE).
The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership and USP's role is specifically aimed at developing the leadership of schools to enhance literacy outcomes. Our work began by collecting interview data on current leadership behaviours used in schools, as perceived by teachers and as espoused by leaders. We also collected artefacts as evidence of those behaviours such as school plans and other documentation.
Since August 2015 we have moved into the implementation phase of up-skilling leaders on literacy and leadership. We will be judging our effectiveness in developing leadership in two ways: firstly – comparing our early data on key leadership behaviours with data we will collect at further time points in 2016 and 2017; and secondly, by assessing the progress schools make on key literacy outcomes. In the Cook Islands, for example, that focus will be on progress in the written language of students.
This project allows the University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership to play to our strengths – a strong research base about what behaviours make leaders effective in improving outcomes, and a highly pragmatic approach to working with the challenges leaders face in their specific contexts to gain those outcomes. It is a challenge we relish.