THE INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP PRACTICES ON CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY FOR NEWCOMER STUDENTS
Reid, Kareen k
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The increasing numbers of new immigrants and refugees (newcomers) have changed the ethnic, racial, and cultural landscape of Canadian schools. Stemming from this change, culturally responsive pedagogy has become a subject of interest among teachers, school leaders, and other teaching and learning practitioners. Studies have shown that school leadership significantly influences student outcomes and school success. This qualitative case study examined how school leaders in a selected elementary school in Saskatchewan engaged in practices that support culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) for culturally diverse newcomer students. The study focused on culturally responsive pedagogy as the ability of teachers and leaders to use relevant cultural knowledge, skills, and dispositions to address the learning needs of students. The study was conducted in a school with a diverse population where most students were newcomers from different cultural backgrounds. An instrumental case study approach was used to gather data from eight participants who held leadership roles in the school. They included three school leaders and five classroom teachers. Data were mainly gathered using semi-structured interviews and observations. All recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, transcripts along with observations and research field notes created the primary data sources. NVIVO 12 was used to sort and analyze transcribed data which were categorized using descriptive and structural coding. The findings revealed that the school had an English as an additional language (EAL) and a resource program that served students with low English levels; however, more resources were needed to address students' learning needs. Because language was a barrier, some students struggled with reading, grammar, communication, speaking, and writing. With only one EAL teacher, it was challenging for teachers to provide a long-term one-on-one approach for these students. As such, school leaders and teachers were expected to create a learning environment that addressed the learning needs of these culturally diverse students. For the school in this study, connecting with families was a crucial part of its mandate. Hence, the school’s leadership placed great effort in creating opportunities through planned events such as meet the teacher night, conferences, multi-cultural potlucks, and special events such as Christmas concerts. To facilitate this relationship, some parents were named resource persons within the school. In addition, the school’s leadership created partnerships with different organizations, such as the Open-Door Society that facilitated an after-school sports program, the Hunger Education Program that provided lunches for needy students, and the support worker in school (SWIS) that provided settlement services geared towards helping the families integrate into their environment. School leaders also planned events to build teacher-student. Although these measures were in place, the findings revealed that culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) was mainly practiced through the lens of First Nation, Inuit, and Metis (FNIM) students? and that the practices were deficient in working with culturally diverse newcomer students. The deficiencies were mainly because of the difference in the challenges and barriers faced by FNIM and newcomer students. The findings further indicated that school leaders and teachers had limited targeted resources to effectively meet the unique needs of culturally diverse newcomer students. A lack of professional development in CRP led teachers to use their initiative or knowledge of FNIM techniques to teach and engage newcomer students. Notably, there was a lack of diversity and student compliment representation among staff. Based on these findings, recommendations were made with an emphasis on the need for professional development that supports teachers to teach culturally diverse students. There is also the need for a diverse teacher compliment. Research has shown that teacher diversity can influence students’ learning outcomes. Consequently, schools should seek to hire and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds that reflect the students they will teach. In addition, it is crucial for school leaders to implement strategies that enforce training programs that would create an opportunity for teachers to enact culturally responsive pedagogical practices within the teaching and learning community geared towards helping teachers to develop competencies to effectively teach all students regardless of cultural backgrounds. Although these recommendations were highlighted, without support from the central office or school division, these recommendations may not take effect. Therefore, these supporting bodies must do their part in supporting teachers and school leaders to effectively support culturally diverse students to actualize their full potential.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeCottrell, Michael; Newton, Paul; Squires, Vicki; Balzer, Geraldine
Copyright DateFebruary 2022
Leadership, Practices, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Newcomer Students.