The theory of cultural educational leadership: a call for co-creators to support ongoing development of the theory through trans-disciplinary approaches

Year: 2019

Author: Hardwick-Franco, Kathryn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The ‘wicked problem’ (Rittel & Webber, 1973) I investigate, is the impact ‘colonial educational systems’ (Gunn, 2015) have on the measurable educational achievements of minority groups. The aim of my presentation is to show how my theory of cultural educational leadership offers a solution to the problem.

For this presentation, learning results of four minority groups - who are identified as First Nations’ peoples, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants - are compared with that of their Anglo-European-American peers. Data sets consistently show students from the four minority groups achieve less in testing regimes imposed by colonial educational systems. For this presentation, I compare learning results of students residing in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.

Education for a Socially Just World requires us to question the status quo and question our current colonial education systems. This work is significant now, because, for example, in a world where there are currently at least 11 million displaced children requiring schooling (UNHCR, 2018), we need to advocate for the development of education systems that support learning for all students; and particularly those who cannot advocate for themselves.

The research required to investigate and solve this ‘wicked problem’ requires a research design that crosses disciplinary boundaries - a trans-disciplinary methodology. I advocate and demonstrate the use of disciplinary methodologies from anthropology, sociology and educational research.

Findings show that where educators value epistemological and ontological philosophies of minority groups the result is measurable and positive increases in learning achievement of minority students.

I posit a solution: the theory of cultural educational leadership. I propose educational leaders enact a system of schooling where in the school principal supports teachers and community members of the minority cultural groups to work together. Where the school-community partnership supports teachers and community members co-create curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. With the view that staffs engage students in educational experiences that account for the epistemological and ontological philosophies of the minority groups.

I offer a call to action. There is an imperative that scholars work together to address the social injustice that manifests itself in colonial models of education - with the view to developing education systems that create success for all. But trans-disciplinary research requires collaboration with others to solve the problem. I offer a call to scholars to work with me to continue to enact research that further develops, through co-creation, the theory of cultural educational leadership.