Learning to care and caring to learn : a multiple case study of three secondary schools implementing pedagogies of care and reconciliation in Perú and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Interest in pedagogies of care and reconciliation in secondary schools has increased globally in response to the need for alternatives to make education more humane and more effective to deal with various manifestations of violence, inequality, and ecological devastation. While implementing pedagogies of care and reconciliation demands that schools change current performance-based approaches to education (Biesta, 2005; Gill & Thomson, 2012), there is insufficient understanding about how secondary schools transform their pedagogy and school culture toward an ethic of care. This thesis sought to investigate the implementation of pedagogies of care and reconciliation in secondary schools by answering the overarching question: “What are the factors that promote and sustain pedagogies of care and reconciliation?” To answer this question, this thesis provided a conceptual framework where the literature in school change (Senge, 2000; Sergiovanni, 1998, Torres, 2000), libertarian pedagogy (Freire, 1998), and ethics of care (Noddings, 2005; Comins, 2009) was integrated to analyse the implementation of pedagogies of care and reconciliation in different sociocultural environments.
This thesis used a qualitative multiple case study design focused on three high schools, two in Aotearoa New Zealand and one in Perú. A total of 23 individual interviews, 16 focus groups, and 12 hours of classroom observation were analysed. Interviewees were school principals, teachers, students, and parents. The interview questions prompted the participants to reflect on their personal beliefs and values and their experiences of care and reconciliation in their school and classrooms. In addition, organisational documentation and schools’ websites were reviewed. The study was informed by Indigenous research principles (Fals Borda, 2001; Smith, 2012) and used thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
Six multifaceted and interrelated enabling factors that promote and sustain pedagogies of care and reconciliation were identified. These enabling factors were common factors present across all three cases. A key finding of this research was that prioritizing caring student-teacher relationships in the pedagogy provided meaning and connectedness to the school experience of young people. All participants reported that caring student-teacher relationships favoured school attendance and academic learning. Therefore, schools that aim to implement pedagogies of care and reconciliation need to confront the current performance-based pedagogy and the traditional hierarchical school organisation so that teachers and students have genuine opportunities to get to know one another and build trust where reciprocity is fundamental.
This thesis demonstrated that confronting the traditional schemes of secondary education entails the authentic commitment of the teachers to holistic and humanistic education. Such authentic commitment of teachers must be manifested in a coherent practice. Another key finding of this research is that school principals have a central role in providing spaces for teachers to process the emotional work that is inherent in a change that affects their professional identity. By allowing a space of vulnerability for educators, the role of principal as a caregiver becomes paramount. Furthermore, the findings of this thesis suggest future pathways for a more humanistic and holistic education of teachers and school principals, therefore, allowing the pedagogies of care and reconciliation to become available in wider contexts.