This paper explores my journey as a High School principal as I explore culturally appropriate leadership styles that will ensure equity of educational outcomes for Maori students at Rangiora High School, a large state secondary school in the South Island of New Zealand/Aotearoa. This study was prompted following an analysis of our student achievement data which highlighted unexpected and unacceptable disparities between Maori and Pakeha; students at all levels of the school.I employed a participatory action research model and as an insider researcher undertook practitioner-based research in my own school, using self-study methodology as I deliberately changed aspects of my established leadership practice and explored leadership styles with the potential to foster bicultural approaches. Over the course of two years my work morphed into an auto-ethnographic study, supported by narrative inquiry strategies and enabled me to explore my own journey as a principal, document and examine deliberate changes I made to my own leadership practice and then measure the effect my altered practice had on those around me. The work is important because, while there is a plethora of educational research around principal leadership, there is little if any auto-ethnographic research focussed on principal leadership, in a uniquely New Zealand context, underpinned by an examination of bicultural perspectives. This paper offers a unique opportunity to advance collective understandings of the changing contexts of qualitative inquiry and the impact such understandings have on language education, social justice, social change and students achievement.
Margaret Peggy Burrows, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Stream: Life long learning
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