Confused, compliant or courageous: Pedagogical leadership in early childhood settings in Australia within a neoliberalist landscape Event as iCalendar

24 May 2017

4:30 - 5:30pm

Venue: J1 Lecture Theatre, Epsom Campus

Location: 74 Epsom Avenue, Epsom, Auckland

Host: Faculty of Education and Social Work

Website: Register

Professor Manjula Waniganayake
Professor Manjula Waniganayake

Manjula Waniganayake PhD

Professor of Early Childhood

Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


Understanding the concept and meaning of pedagogical leadership within the early childhood sector is challenging and contentious. The absence of rigorous research on pedagogical leadership both conceptually and as it is understood by practitioners in the sector has hampered its theorisation and application within early childhood contexts. However, there is increasing recognition of the centrality of leading pedagogy as being the core business of early childhood organisations. Based on the voices of educational leaders in early childhood settings in Australia, this presentation will explore the extent to which leading pedagogy reflects confusion, compliance and courage. The challenges of leading pedagogy encountered by today’s practitioners will be contextualised within a neoliberalist policy landscape demanding performance against prescribed standards. The scope for conceptualising pedagogical leadership as a relational phenomenon activated collaboratively is recommended as a way forward in celebrating agentic leadership in early childhood settings.


Brief bionote

Over three decades, Professor Waniganayake has been involved in the early childhood sector as a teacher, a parent, an advocate, a policy analyst, a teacher educator, and a researcher. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tampere, Finland for her contribution to Early Childhood Leadership. She believes in diversity and social justice, and values learning from others within Australia and beyond.