2010 NZEALS International Educational Leadership Conference Christchurch New Zealand
2010 NZEALS International Educational Leadership Conference Christchurch New Zealand
NZEALS International Educational Leadership Conference Christchurch New Zealand

The 2010 NZEALS International Educational Leadership Conference was organised by the NZEALS Canterbury Branch, and held in Christchurch at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, 7 - 9 April. The conference convenors, Barry Brooker and Janet Baldwin, and the conference committee received excellent organisational support from UC events manager, Cheryl Dawson. The success of the conference was reflected in the fact that, with 184 participants, this was the largest conference ever held by NZEALS.

The keynote speakers and session presenters focussed on the conference themes of ‘Leadership for Learning’ and ‘People Leadership’, while also reinforcing the need for ‘Sustainable Leadership’. From the outset, the powhiri, led by Ruawhitu Pokaia, with the backing of the powerful and talented kapa haka group, Poutiriao, quickly made delegates aware that people are central to leadership and would be the focus of the conference.

In her opening address, Karen Sewell, New Zealand’s Secretary for Education, reminded delegates that the ultimate goal of educational leadership is to enhance students’ learning. The first keynote address, by Professor Bill Mulford, further strengthened the conference’s theme of ‘Leadership for Learning’. Bill emphasised the importance of schools developing as communities of professional learners, and the need for school leaders to focus their time and attention on areas that, research has shown, make a difference to students’ learning and social development.

Students learning continued to be the focus of the second keynote address by Professor Viviane Robinson, whose recent best evidence synthesis (BES) research focuses on identifying and explaining the characteristics of leadership that are linked to improving a range of desired outcomes for [diverse] learners. Her internationally recognised research is of particular significance to educational leadership in NZ and to the NZEALS conference. Viviane’s address helped delegates navigate the educational leadership BES and enabled them to better understand that, “the more leaders focus their relationships, their work and their learning on the core business of teaching and learning the greater their influence on student outcomes”.

In her keynote, entitled ‘Kai hea aku manukura: Where are my leaders?’, Hana O’Regan provided an insight to current and historical challenges for Maori society and leadership. In her address, punctuated with examples involving her own whanau, she made delegates laugh, and at times brought tears to their eyes. Hana provided delegates with a new lens through which to view the achievement, challenges and leadership of Maori.

On the final day, the keynote speakers focussed on the personal aspects of leadership. Building on findings from the International Successful School Principals Project (ISSPP), Dr Ross Notman spoke of the need to rekindle the spirit of educational leadership. He explained how values have a major influence on leaders’ decision-making, and emphasised the need for support programmes to help build the personal capacities and well being of current and prospective educational leaders. In the final address, without the aid of a power point or other props, Dr Peter Cammock engaged the audience, through a focus on the spirit of leadership. Peter argued the need for leadership to balance the conversations of rationality, structure and efficiency, with conversations of vision, creativity, flow and meaning.

Also critical to the success of the conference were the 37 presentations and eight symposia, led by practitioners and academics (some of whom were presenting for the first time), which supported, enhanced and extended the conference themes and the messages of the keynote speakers. Reflecting the nature and goals of NZEALS, the conference attracted speakers and participants from across the educational spectrum – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and government agencies. Also, in keeping with the international nature of the conference, there were delegates from throughout NZ, and from Australia, England, China (Hong Kong), Malaysia, USA, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. These included representatives from NZEALS ‘partner’ organisations: the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM), the Australian Council for Educational Administrators (ACEL) & the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).

The conference organisers were extremely pleased by the quality of the presentations, the mix of academic and practitioner presenters, the active engagement of the 184 delegates, and the interactions of educational leaders from across the educational sectors. 

The Conference Committee wishes to thank the conference sponsors: Ministry of Education, University of Canterbury, Campus Living Villages, Konica Minolta and the University Book Shop.

A special thanks goes to all those who attended and participated in the conference, to make it a success.

Dr Barry Brooker
Canterbury Branch President and Conference Co-convenor
On behalf of the Conference Committee

To contact us with conference enquiries click HERE.

To join NZEALS now or contact us for more information on membership click HERE.

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