LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 1 | 2023

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Introducing YOUR journal

Understanding leadership through research

Article by   Ann Briggs

Why have an academic journal?

A fundamental aim of NZEALS is to link educational leadership with research: so that we underpin our everyday leadership actions with authentic, verified principles and grow our leadership understanding by interconnecting with the leadership lives of others.

The NZEALS Journal of Educational Leadership, Principles and Practice (JELPP) was founded in 1986 and its publication costs are met through member subscriptions. It has been published online since 2015 and the most recent papers, in volume 37, can be found here. Papers are peer-reviewed and once published are freely available internationally through our Creative Commons licence. It is the only international academic journal focusing on educational leadership published in New Zealand, and as such is something for members to be proud of! Maintaining the journal enables educational leadership research to be published and read, maintaining an international presence for NZEALS. It also gives ready access for our members and contacts to read recent educational leadership papers.

Where do I fit in?

Explore some recent articles: relate them to your own experience and broaden your understanding of the issues leaders face.

Here are some examples.

Storying family experiences in higher education: Surfacing, awakening, and transforming developing leader identity

Maria Cooper, Kiri Gould, and Louise Gorst
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Storying family experiences provides a means to explore and support leader identity development. The idea of recalling and reflecting on stories about and from families can surface how orientations to lead are learned early on in life. We report on students’ narratives generated during a postgraduate early childhood education leadership course to understand the significance of family storytelling in leader identity development and the awakenings this process encouraged for those involved.

Our findings affirm the transformative potential of selecting, telling, and reflecting on family stories to both understand the roots of leadership motivations and develop leader identities. Implications include promoting a narrative-based pedagogy for leadership development that centres on postgraduate students’ retrospective storying of family experiences.

Read the full article here.

Principal leadership practices during the COVID-19 lockdown

Kate Thornton

New Zealand secondary school principals were required to make changes to their leadership practices when schools were closed as part of a national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 situation in early 2020. Eighteen school principals from a range of secondary schools were interviewed about their experiences. The research found that principals engaged in leadership that was relational, distributed and collaborative. They prioritised the wellbeing of teachers and students, responded flexibly to the challenges faced, drew on expertise from both within and outside of the school, and took opportunities to refocus and try new ways of working.

Read the full article here.

Women leaders in community secondary schools in rural Tanzania: Challenges and coping strategies

Joyce Germanus Mbepera

In Tanzania, many qualified and capable women teachers are not involved in decision making despite the fact that the Tanzania government has affirmed the promotion of women's participation in the decision-making process. Even those few who are in leadership still face obstacles and challenges especially in a rural context. This paper examines the challenges women leaders face and identifies the coping strategies they use to overcome the challenges in Community Secondary Schools (CSSs) in rural Tanzania. The study involved heads of schools, teachers, the Regional Educational Officer (REO) and the District Education Officer (DEO). Data were obtained through interviews and focus group discussions. The findings reveal that women face multi-level challenges with respect to family, society and the education system, most of which arise from early socialisation. Women leaders work in a patriarchal society that does not accept them due to their sex/femininity and there is a lack of trust from their spouses when they execute leadership roles. It was also observed that women leaders face challenges posed by witchcraft and superstition issues in the rural context. In confronting these challenges, women leaders identified cooperation with staff and the community, sharing challenges with experienced leaders, and being creative as useful coping strategies. The study recommends a number of measures for overcoming such challenges at society, organisational and government levels.

Read the full article here.

Share your leadership experience

Many NZEALS members conduct small-scale research in their own institutions, to inform developments in their school or ECE centre. Many also conduct research during a Masters or Doctoral degree. Some have a leadership story to tell about their own school or ECE centre. These projects can either be published as full research papers or as leadership stories, thus sharing your leadership learning with others – in New Zealand and internationally. I am always happy to help leaders who are new to this kind of writing to get their message ‘out there’, into the respected body of publishing that academic journals provide.

Maintain – or begin – your NZEALS membership

Much of NZEALS’ work is carried out by volunteers: busy leaders like you or still-busy retirees from educational roles. But authentic academic publishing has its costs, and NZEALS membership fees have enabled JELPP to stay in the publishing field for 37 years. Let’s keep it going a while longer – join today!

I’m happy to respond to any enquiries – just contact me here.

Ann Briggs
NZEALS National Secretary