Building pedagogical leadership knowledge in early childhood education

Janis Carroll-Lind
Sue Smorti
Kate Ord
Lesley Robinson
Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand

This paper describes a research and development project that trialled a coaching and mentoring methodology with pedagogical leaders in early childhood settings in Aotearoa New Zealand. The methodology, which drew on ‘third-generation’ cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) was taught to leaders who were coached and mentored to use it as a mediating tool to identify connections between everyday leadership tensions and systemic contradictions (as identified within CHAT). The paper elaborates on the way in which participants came to understand the centre as an activity system and learned to ‘play the system’ rather than the person in the exploration and resolution of contradictions. They did so through engaging in productive change conversations with colleagues within their workplace settings. The paper concludes by confirming the potential of CHAT as a tool for building pedagogical leadership capacity through using tension and/or conflicting views as starting points in developing shared meanings and practices.


Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 4 December 2016.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.