Exploring the Concept of Inuit School Leadership in Nunavut, Canada

Abstract

Throughout the past 50 years, characteristics associated with competent educational leaders have changed. In the 1960s–1970s, educational leaders embodied autocratic styles of management. By the turn of the century, accountability, technology, and data-based decision-making were influencing the culture of schools (Hargreaves & Fink, 2006), and educational leaders began to call upon the skills of staff members to distribute leadership responsibilities. The purpose of this research paper is to articulate how a group of educators living in Inuit communities in Nunavut (Canada) describe effective school leadership. The data for this qualitative study (Merriam, 2009; Patton, 2015) were collected via 24 semi-structured interviews (Creswell, 2014) involving 14 educators living in Nunavut, Canada. These participants (who represented teachers, vice-principals, and principals) possessed from five to a lifetime of experience living and/or teaching in Nunavut. Thematically-analyzed (Marshall & Rossman, 2011), three core findings emerged. First, participants perceived strong, effective school leaders to be people who were positive and could motivate a team of staff members. Also, effective school leadership was depicted through a community of leaders, where each staff member’s leadership contribution equated to a healthy well-led school. Third, effective school leadership was a process imbued with modesty and humility. These findings are theoretically analyzed through the eight Inuit cultural principles/teachings as documented by the Nunavut Department of Education (2007). Related to the significance of this research, we believe that the Inuit context of leadership has great potential to positively influences the educational experiences for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, regardless of location.



Author Information
Jane P. Preston, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
Tim R. Claypool, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
William Rowluck, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Brenda Green, Saskatoon Public School Division, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2015
Stream: Primary and secondary education

This paper is part of the ECE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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