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Educative leadership in indigenous schools : theories of leadership in use in selected schools in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand


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Wicks, NC 1999 , 'Educative leadership in indigenous schools : theories of leadership in use in selected schools in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This is a study of the nature of educative leadership in indigenous schools in Canada,
New Zealand, and Australia. Principals, as educative leaders, serve the vital function of
developing and maintaining school climates that promote conditions for effective
learning. Extensive research has been conducted in teaching, learning, and curriculum
development in indigenous schools. There has been, however, little research into the
theory or practice of leadership in indigenous schools. Research indicating low success
rates of indigenous students suggests that they and the schools they attend have unique
needs. It can be argued that student success is a function of school effectiveness in
promoting learning. Principals have key roles in this process. Thus, it is important that
the nature of educative leadership in indigenous schools is better understood. This study
was therefore undertaken to contribute to theory building in this area, inform
administrative practice, and influence the preparation of principals for indigenous schools
to better serve the learning needs of their students and colleagues.
The literature in this area suggested that the contexts of indigenous education share
many features. Indigenous world views and the epistemologies conveyed within them
are strikingly similar. Stemming from shared epistemological elements are analogous
ways of learning, teaching, decision-making, leading, and organising. Comparable
relationships between indigenous peoples and Europeans and successions of similar
overlapping policy periods were also found.
An interpretive research approach was adopted. Qualitative and ethnographic
methods were combined with case study analysis to elicit and analyse the perceptions of
school leaders. Field research conducted in 1996 involved interviews with principals,
participants, and stakeholders during study visits to each of four selected schools in
British Columbia, Auckland, and Northern Territory.
Constructs and categories emerged from the analysis of field data. Descriptions of
events, actions and utterances of educative leaders were analysed to ascertain common
themes. Dominant themes and the values that supported them were identified at each
site. National and international sites were aggregated for commonalities and the
touchstone of educative leadership in indigenous schools identified.
A suite of interrelated theories of educative leadership-in-use were then derived
from the themes common to all sites. These provisional theories were justified using an
eclectic approach influenced by the criteria for generating and evaluating grounded
theory, building theory from case-study research, and a coherentistic approach to theory
selection and justification.
Of the major themes to emerge across all sites, the importance of the local culture
was the paramount meta-value. Cultural maintenance and reproduction were primary
purposes of each school. Common theories of educative leadership-in-use included
respecting the meta-value of the local culture; managing the school as a site of local
cultural negotiation and reproduction; incorporating indigenous ways of teaching,
orgamsmg, and decision making into the school; and serving as a bridge between

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Wicks, NC
Keywords: Educational leadership, Indigenous peoples, School principals
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1999 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (PhD.)--University of Tasmania, 1999. Includes bibliographical references

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