Core professional values for school leaders and teachers: Piloting an online tool
Evidence of the extent to which school leaders and teachers embrace core professional values may, through dialogue, open up new avenues for school improvement. With this in mind, the focus of this article is the piloting of an online survey tool designed to identify how widely four such values are held in New Zealand schools. The pilot was commissioned by the Te Ariki Trust with the support of the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) and the University of Canterbury. The tool is based on items which together, define four values underpinning the mission of the Te Ariki Trust, namely “Professional Discretion”, “Collegial Obligation”, “Reflective Inquiry and Discourse” and “Evidencebased Professional Practice”. An analysis of one school’s responses to such a survey tool is one way to gauge evidence of collective commitment, the strength of collegial relationships and trust, with the realisation that knowing how to collect and reflect on data matters if important decisions are to be well informed. The article draws upon research and scholarly writing to explain the four values, describe the development of the tool and its pilot study and suggest what the results might offer for dialogue using the findings from a sample school whose staff members completed the instrument. Suggested changes to the instrument and its use conclude the article.