Leadership and multicultural education: An analysis of multicultural leadership practice in a Cypriot primary school

Savvidis, Thanasis (2012). Leadership and multicultural education: An analysis of multicultural leadership practice in a Cypriot primary school. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ee74


This study set out to gain an understanding of the leadership practice in response to the multicultural orientation of education due to the increasingly multicultural environment of schools in Cyprus. The research aimed to analyse the complexity of leadership and ME by investigating the different school stakeholders' roles in and contribution to the leadership behaviour and practice of ME in a Cypriot primary school.

Aiming to provide an in depth and rounded view of the beliefs, and behaviours of the different stakeholders that may affect the processes of leadership practice for ME, the study adopted a qualitative, case study design. Purposive sampling and criterion-based selection were used to select a primary school and to identify stakeholders within that school to participate in the study. The participants were the headteacher, teachers, parents, students and inspector of the school.

The main research instrument employed as the semi-structured interview. Other data collection methods included observation, concept map, conversation, documents and open questionnaire. Data were analysed using thematic analysis by employing themes and codes both preconceived as well as grounded in the data. The study used Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological model as a conceptual framework to analyse the evidence and examine the research aims.

The findings reveal the complexity of multicultural leadership practice and the influence of the different school stakeholders' beliefs and behaviour. Furthermore, the research findings highlight the importance of a moral, democratic and distributed discourse of leadership in response to multiculturalism,: accompanied by forms of transformational and instructional leadership. Another outcome is that the practice of multi cultural leadership is affected by the ecological system of the school in various ways. Finally, some behaviours and characteristics (conceptualizations of ME, multicultural competence, celebrating diversity, parental and communal involvement, state support, school culture, relationships, curriculum, collaboration, experience and personal qualities, school's support system) are presented as those that may enable or disable multicultural leadership practice in the school in numerous different ways.

The findings discussed in this report provide important data that could be interesting for researchers and professionals in the field of educational leadership, multi cultural education and school policy. These concern school stakeholders (teachers, headteachers, students, parents, governors and inspectors), policy makers and providers of leadership professional development programmes.

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