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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2019

Carla Solvason and Alison Kington

The purpose of this paper, based upon research carried out between a university and a Local Authority (LA) in the Midlands, UK, is to explore the phenomenon of head…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper, based upon research carried out between a university and a Local Authority (LA) in the Midlands, UK, is to explore the phenomenon of head teachers working collaboratively across clusters of primary schools, or inter-collaboration.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative case study approach was taken and the data collection methods co-constructed with the participants.

Findings

The head teachers were eager to share what they perceived as an overwhelmingly positive collaborative experience. The findings in this paper illustrate perhaps the most significant discovery, i.e. the role that the collaborative clusters can play in offering emotional support to those head teachers involved.

Research limitations/implications

This research was based within a specific LA, so the findings reflect the values manifested there. Quite different results may have been discovered in alternative contexts.

Originality/value

The personal, social and emotional needs of leaders are often overlooked in research whilst focussing upon the support that they offer to others. This paper explores the solitary role that headship can be and the function that supportive, collaborative clusters can provide in filling that emotional void.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 March 2016

Pamela Sammons, Ariel Mariah Lindorff, Lorena Ortega and Alison Kington

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the concept of ' inspiring teaching' based on case studies of exemplary practitioners in England to inform professional…

180873

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the concept of ' inspiring teaching' based on case studies of exemplary practitioners in England to inform professional development and collaborative learning and support school improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed methods design involving multiple perspectives. Data sources included interviews with teachers, two systematic classroom observation schedules and qualitative field notes from classroom observations. Quantitative and qualitative findings were integrated to allow for triangulation and synthesis.

Findings

The ‘inspiring’ sample of teachers exhibited many strengths in terms of the characteristics of more effective teaching identified in previous literature. However, the integration and synthesis of evidence also reveals core features of inspiring practice and highlighted the strong emotional and reflective components that distinguish inspiring practice, including: positive relationships; good classroom/behaviour management; positive and supportive climate; formative feedback; high quality learning experiences; enjoyment, and high levels of student engagement and motivation.

Research limitations/implications

This small-scale study was based on a purposive sample of 17 teachers in England therefore results cannot necessarily be generalised to other contexts.

Practical implications

The research findings and approaches can be used to support teachers' professional development and provide resources to promote collaboration in developing professional learning communities.

Originality/value

The investigation provides new evidence on the characteristics, practices and views of inspiring teachers. The use of multiple perspectives and integration of findings provides new evidence to inform and support the development of professional learning communities.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

Article
Publication date: 17 May 2010

Alison Fox, Rosemary Deaney and Elaine Wilson

This paper, taking a participatory perspective of learning, seeks to look at the interaction between individuals and their workplace, focusing on the perceptions of…

2068

Abstract

Purpose

This paper, taking a participatory perspective of learning, seeks to look at the interaction between individuals and their workplace, focusing on the perceptions of workplaces and self by beginning teachers in terms of support for their learning.

Design/methodology/approach

The study presents an analysis of 37 interviews from 17 beginning teachers across 18 workplaces. Analysis used an adapted version of Evans and colleagues' expansive‐restrictive framework for evaluating workplaces, focusing on relational aspects. A matrix of congruence between individuals and their workplace is presented, highlighting the significance of personal networking.

Findings

Although beginning teachers concluded that their workplaces were largely expansive, they also identified concerns regarding perceptions of support availability. Formal and informal support was recognized and the significance of outside school support, such as through the University Faculty, was noted even for teachers in post. Good “matches”, differential engagement with the same workplace and similar agency in different workplaces were identified.

Practical implications

The matrix of congruence is offered as a tool to researchers and teacher educators interested in understanding how support is experienced by novice professionals. The study highlights the utility of taking a personal network perspective to conceiving workplaces as not necessarily bounded by locality or normative practices. This could offer opportunities for discourse leading to greater engagement by professionals in their own learning.

Originality/value

The paper responds to calls that personal‐social processes in the workplace need further attention. The consideration of network perspectives, attending to informal aspects of social engagement, offers new understandings.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2009

A. Fox and R. McCormick

By trailing data collection and analytical methods this study aims to address the dearth of research into the use of attending off‐site events for professional learning.

1036

Abstract

Purpose

By trailing data collection and analytical methods this study aims to address the dearth of research into the use of attending off‐site events for professional learning.

Design/methodology/approach

Three events, for academics and school leaders, were studied. A range of methods was trailed during 2006‐2007, with the aim of collecting real‐time data. These included shadowing individual delegates, interviews of other delegates, still and moving imagery and a survey questionnaire.

Findings

Collecting evidence of professional activities in real‐time requires sensitivity to minimise its impact on the activities. It is ideal if everyone at such events can be informed fully in advance of data collection. Any assistance, including participating in the research, in reflecting on the benefits of attending an event was appreciated. The most important benefit of attending events was in networking rather than the formal purpose of the event itself. It was found that such interactions are likely to affect the delegates' sense of identity. Individuals also reported that their strategies for using knowledge from events are incompletely developed.

Practical implications

The study raises issues of how best to support learning at events and the use of knowledge and understanding back in the workplace. Raising awareness of the importance of networking at an event to participants could influence how both organisers plan for, and delegates use, such events.

Originality/value

The study is exploratory both in methodological and in conceptual development and highlights key issues and possible avenues for conceptualising the learning from events. Few studies have been carried out on such events.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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