The booklet developed by the Mangere Home and School Project to help parents help their own children.
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A lot of emphasis is currently placed on the need for principals to be instructional leaders or leaders of learning. In the study of the instructional leadership of secondary principals reported in this article, the authors argue that instructional leadership can be both direct and indirect. Direct instructional leadership is focused on the quality of teacher practice itself, whereas indirect instructional leadership creates the conditions for good teaching.
This issue of set features case study articles on four South Auckland schools that have, in their different ways, taken up the challenge of significantly raising the literacy achievement levels of their students. In October 1998, Wyatt Creech, then Minister of Education, announced that by 2005 every child turning nine would be able to “read, write and do maths for success”. For New Zealand schools in middle class communities, this goal presents little challenge.
The researchers investigated the impact of a literacy intervention on reading and writing and the sustainability of the programme. Data on reading and writing achievement showed that while the latter was at national levels, the former was significantly below. It was concluded that the reading data collected by teachers were unreliable, and reading levels were probably comparable to writing levels.
The researchers’ interviews of a sample of staff showed that after three years of using PAT, all staff could provide some examples of how they used the data, but some misunderstanding and reservations remained. Staff who had greater involvement in the analysis of the data were more confident in its use. The data have been used to make school-wide decisions about changes to timetabling and teaching programmes.
East Tamaki School worked with researchers to learn about how teachers viewed the requirements on reporting to parents, and how parents understood what was written. Teachers experienced the same technical, ethical, and practical dilemmas as their local and international counterparts. They resolved these in ways that inadvertently sent mixed messages to parents about their children’s achievement.
Otahuhu College wanted to know how its teachers were coping with the inclusion of students with disabilities in their classrooms, and more specifically, how teachers interacted with such students. Results revealed that the practical demands of the classroom made it difficult for teachers to spend time with the mainstreamed students. Most relied on and supported teacher’s aides to teach these students.
Teachers engaging in “learning talk” analyse, critique and challenge their current teaching practices to find and/or create more effective ways of teaching. Using three New Zealand studies, this article examines the effectiveness of “learning talk” in facilitating changes in teacher practices and beliefs, and in student achievement. It addresses the challenges to this kind of talk, and explains the role of expert support in facilitating it.
The overlaps between the requirements of good research and good practice provide both a foundation and a rationale for the development of teachers as researchers. Viviane Robinson examines some of the challenges of creating a teacher culture in which research-based discussion and debate becomes an integral part of teacher professionalism.
Teachers are often asked to work in partnership with others to meet the educational needs of their students. If the partnership is to be successful, it is important that people are clear about why they are in that relationship and what they hope to accomplish together. The authors illustrate their theory of partnership by describing a study of how teachers report to parents, which showed that both parties need to understand each other’s expectations for the child’s achievement and take joint responsibility for working together to realise those expectations.