The Impact of Middle Leaders’ Practices on English Language Learning for ESOL Students New to New Zealand

Aljazmaty, Lana
Smith, Alison
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Master of Educational Leadership
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Auckland University of Technology

Middle leaders represent a fundamental part in shaping the school context. This is because middle leaders are the link between government’s plans and teacher practice in terms of supporting ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) students in their needs to learn English effectively. This research critically examines the impact of middle leadership practices on the English learning of ESOL students new to New Zealand. The three research questions highlighting this study were:

  1. How do primary school middle leaders support ESOL students who are new to New Zealand to learn English?
  2. How do primary school middle leaders build classroom teachers’ capacity and capability to support ESOL students who are new to New Zealand to learn English?
  3. How do primary school middle leaders collaborate with the families/whānau of these ESOL students to support their English language learning? This thesis adapts a qualitative study to investigating nine middle leaders in five different primary schools across Auckland. This research used semi-structured interviews to gather thorough data from three ESOL teachers with leadership roles and six middle leaders. The research found that middle leaders have a distinctive role to other school leaders. They were instructional and distributed leaders, performing their roles as role models and enthusiastic towards school goals. Their responsibilities for students’ learning support ESOL students and their teachers, even when not specifically targeted at their particular needs. The research, however, raised issues about the importance for middle leaders to increase their knowledge in ESOL area so their practices might have a better impact on the teaching and learning practices for ESOL students and for their teachers. This, in turn, increase ESOL students’ capabilities and achievements in learning English.
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