Description of site/context
A school contacted us indicating that they wished to achieve transfer and transformation of knowledge about literacy and the Australian Curriculum English through the examination of teacher practice and pedagogy. They had concluded that this was the best way to embed knowledge provided through other professional learning experiences.
Conduct of sessions/project
Through further discussion with the leadership team each staff member undertook their own personal action research in their classroom, focussing on pedagogy and literacy. We provided professional learning sessions about planning an action learning project and the collection and analysis of data. At various other points over the 12 months we responded to individual staff member’s action plans, including their proposed methods for collection and analysis of data. We also provided specific sessions on key literacy topics, examination of classroom practice, (including the audio-taping and analysis of transcripts), and change management. Staff members were supported in between our visits by the school leadership team and also through email and phone contact with us. Each time we met with the whole staff there was an expectation that everyone would share an aspect of their progress. This became a very positive feature of the project and encouraged development of the school learning community.
Discussion with the leadership team identified the following outcomes;
- The exercise enhanced self-awareness, self control, self esteem and pride in being a teacher
- Teachers increased their capacity to reflect on their teaching practice and pedagogy in a disciplined and regular way.
- Because teachers self selected the topic of their project within the whole school focus on literacy and pedagogy, there was ownership and a sense that they could cope with and complete it as part of their everyday work – in the words of one teacher ‘I was resistant until I saw the effect it was having on my classroom and work and then I was hooked.’
- The project provided skills and knowledge that contributed to sustainability, as action learning cycles and a focus on dialogic pedagogies became an embedded part of the staff’s annual professional learning goals.