A critique of the Best Evidence Synthesis with relevance for Maori leadership in education
The Government’s broad goals for te reo Māori include the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand recognising the intrinsic value of our national language and its acquisition being fully supported and promoted through national education and other industries and networks. Current trends show that culturally-appropriate early childhood services and schools are an important factor for Māori parents’ decisions to participate and engage in the national education system.. Māori children are achieving in Māori medium education. However, there is room for improvement of provision for Māori children and young people in the English (general) stream, where most Māori are positioned. The leadership dimensions conceptualised in the Best Evidence Synthesis (Robinson, Hohepa & Lloyd, 2009) shift leadership issues away from teachers to a focus on what and how teachers are teaching, and what and how children and young people are learning and achieving. This is termed pedagogical leadership. That is, what is happening at the interactional and relationship levels to make a difference in educational outcomes. The inclusive style of pedagogical leadership embraces all who are able to make a difference in student outcomes. The kōhanga reo movement and Māori-medium primary school extension, kura kaupapa Māori, have played (and will continue to play) crucial roles in challenging the colonial structures of the state, and making a difference for Māori. Why, because they have been initiated by Māori parents, whānau, hapū and iwi, committed to the cause of Māori language revitalisation and successful educational outcomes. What is good for Māori is good for the nation!