The Leadership Experiences of CALD School Leaders: A Case Study

Year: 2021

Author: Yakubu Goodman, Jemila

Type of paper: Workshop

This study investigates the acculturative experiences of school leadership staff from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who hold middle-level positions in Victorian schools. Specifically, it examines the challenges and opportunities faced by these middle school leaders and how these experiences help to shape their leadership practice.   This study holds relevance due to a major gap in research on the leadership experiences of CALD leaders across Australian schools and how these experiences may shape their leadership practice. The study explores the significant acculturative experiences, opportunities and challenges for these leaders. It aims at providing deeper understandings of how the leadership of these CALD school leaders is practised and maintained. The study commenced with an extensive literature review to determine the significant leadership dispositions and behaviours, expected, and demonstrated by CALD leaders across a range of contexts. The literature review provided theoretical underpinnings of both culture and acculturation constructs, aimed at enhancing understandings of these underpinnings and how they connect to CALD school leaders through their leadership dispositions. Notions of cultural maintenance; accommodation, adaptation and adjustment were also explored, along with acculturation strategies of assimilation, integration, separation and marginalisation. Together, these concepts provide a deeper knowledge of the strategies available to and often adopted by new societal members and potentially, CALD middle-level school leaders in Australia.  Multiple data sources were used to enhancing understandings of school leadership and the cultural school context that these school leaders work within. Importantly, it also helped to clarify the factors which shaped their leadership.   The main research questions were, What are the challenges and opportunities faced by middle-level (CALD) school leaders in Victorian schools? How do these challenges and opportunities shape their acculturation into middle-level school leadership in Victorian schools?  How do these challenges and opportunities shape their leadership dispositions and practices? The emic positioning and identification of the researcher as being of CALD background and non-Anglo Celtic descent has helped to ensure that data collection and analysis were conducted with utmost sensitivity concerning the leadership experiences of research participants.