The enduring effect of exemplary teachers of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most disengaged secondary school students : an ideology of hope (2020)
Type of ContentElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Degree NameMaster of Education
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsMaitland, Rachelshow all
In the short term, disengagement from education is linked with young people participating in high-risk, antisocial behaviours. In the long term, disengagement from education points to serious, ongoing health and social issues impacting individuals, families and communities. Teachers are known to be one of the most significant factors influencing educational engagement. This thesis presents findings from a qualitative research project into the beliefs, practices and knowledge base of exemplary teachers of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most disengaged secondary school students. These students sit at the very tip of Aotearoa New Zealand’s infamous tail of underachievement and represent the countries most marginalised communities. Alternative education is a provision funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Education with a goal of catering to the educational needs of 14 to 16-year olds who are categorised as alienated from mainstream schooling; this specialist field is a focal point in this study.
Methodologically guided by grounded theory and underpinned by kaupapa Māori principles. Data were gathered during a series of semi-structured interviews with experienced leaders and exemplary teachers in the specialist field of alternative education. Former students, who experienced success in alternative education, were also interviewed. The research findings are divided into three key domains, including the head, which refers to what exemplary teachers of at-risk learners know, the heart, which refers to what exemplary teachers of at-risk learners believe in, and the hand, which refers to what exemplary teachers of at-risk learners do. Within each of these three domains, six generalised statements are captured to present the key findings. When comparing the findings from this research to the literature reviewed in this study, some interesting convergent and divergent streams of thought emerge in relation to exemplary teaching practice. Overarching themes include teachers’ ability to disengage their ego, to see young people from a holistic perspective, to use time and space strategically, to employ mana-enhancing practices and to challenge young people to see themselves and their world in a different light.