Educational Leaders’ Views About School Culture, Climate, Leadership, And Success: A Comparative Study Of New Zealand, Finland, And Ghana
This comparative project explored educational leaders’ views, practices, and experiences in relation to school culture, climate, leadership, and student success in three international contexts: New Zealand, Finland, and Ghana. Taking an interpretive methodological stance, the study used policy documents, observations, artefacts, and interviews as data sources. A total of twenty-seven participants (school leaders, university experts, and Ministry officials) took part; nine from each of the three countries.
Key insights from the study include identifying positive aspects from each of the three countries. Generally, each of the cases showed positive relationships between students’ success and teacher-teacher, teacher-students, teacher-principal, shared leadership, teamwork, school-based guidance and counselling, and more. Specifically, for New Zealand, positive impetus for students’ success included, respect for teaching, use of local curriculum, a clear and relevant Education Act, and free tuition. For Finland, the positive variables included respect for teaching, local-based curriculum, school-based psychologists, and free tuition and school meals. For Ghana, these included school-based Christian Chaplains and Imams, a free boarding system which included tuition and meals, and a relevant quota system to encourage minority inclusion in education.
While partially confirming the relevant literature on effective school leadership and students’ success, the study argues for a deeper understanding of the subject to include issues of global socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic undercurrents and trends; symbolic capital; and hierarchical decision-making models’.
It is these sociological variables, forms and relationships, and dimensions of a complex education subsystem which act as catalysts for the daily practices of school leadership that influence students’ success.
The study offers (a) a theoretical framework for analysing school leadership and students’ success and (b) key recommendations for Ministries of Education and school administration and leaders.