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improvisation as a response

May 23, 2015
Kensington Church St

improvisation

Selected reference

Clandinin, D.J. & Connelly, F.M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Coaching in schools

May 17, 2015
Mosaic on Bayswater Rd

Project title

Coaching in public schools in Perth, Western Australia from the participant’s point of view.

Abstract

This study of one K-12 Independent Public School in Perth, Western Australia is located within a qualitative and interpretive research framework which seeks to generate theory about staff perspectives on coaching.

Specifically, data will be derived from semi-structured interviews, observations, and conversations in reference to artefacts such as photographs and notes. Narrative inquiry will be undertaken as a secondary process to explore participants’ lived accounts of coaching.  Research findings are expected to contribute theoretical insights to what is currently a popular, if nebulous, practice.

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Research aim

The aim of the proposed study is to generate theory about the perspectives of staff on coaching in public schools in Perth, Western Australia: an interpretive study of one school.

Background to the study

A resurgence of interest in coaching practices in Australian schools coincided with publication of the Performance and Development Framework (AITSL, 2012a), and the accompanying Charter for Professional Learning (AITSL, 2012b), yet most of the review documentation and research recommendations are based on studies undertaken internationally – particularly the UK and US (Hay Group, 2012) – where school improvement and leadership development are key components of a Global Education Reform Movement (Fishetti, 2014; Graham, 2013; Sahlberg, 2011). 

To date, there appear to be few studies that have focused on clarifying participants’ perspectives of coaching practices in Australia; this proposal seeks to redress imbalance in the research literature.

While coaching may be seen to offer promise, it is “not yet proven to increase student achievement” (Neufeld & Roper, 2003, p. v). Currently, there is no common model or agreed definition of coaching; as an emergent component within a suite of national Performance and Development practices (AITSL, 2015), efficacy of coaching practices remains open to conjecture.

Approach

Generating theory on coaching in a public school in Perth, Western Australia depends on qualitative research and draws on an interpretivist approach applying grounded theory (Marshall & Rossman, 2006; O’Donoghue & Punch, 2003; Punch & Oancea, 2014; Silverman, 2005). 

The study will make a substantial contribution by undertaking narrative inquiry with participants involved in coaching practices at the micro-level. The relevance of the study is particularly significant in relation to the WA Director General’s Focus 2015: Directions for Schools strategic plan which progresses Classroom First strategy (DoEWA, 2011) by aiming to increase

teacher peer review and classroom observation as improvement tools”, and by developing  “whole-school approaches to improve teacher quality” (DoEWA, 2015, p. 4).

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Primarily, data gathering will take place using semi-structured interviews with staff. Secondary conversations drawing on observations and artefacts will be conducted to

search for patterns and explication of their meanings, through progressive focusing, reflexive iteration and grounded interpretation, which aims to generate rich accounts of the phenomena studied (Punch & Oancea, 2014, p. 219).

The study will involve both description and analysis of coaching contexts. Interviews will generate transcripts, and transcript analysis will yield data to be coded. Observation will be conducted during coaching conversations which are embedded as a key component of the school’s Performance and Development processes.  Living stories will be explored.

Incorporating narrative inquiry as a secondary process anticipates that

field notes are shared with the narrator, and the construction of the written record may be done collaboratively (Marshall & Rossman, 2006, p.123).

As multiple perspectives exist, different analytic techniques are prompted (Punch & Oancea, 2014), for instance, narratives arising around artefacts, such as photographs and notes will be analysed alongside responses to conversation questions. In summary, this proposed interpretivist study focuses on eliciting participants’ voiced accounts of coaching within the frame of a complex research puzzle (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Clandinin & Huber, 2010).

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Context

Concerns regarding quality of teaching practices, teacher education and professionalism, have persisted for more than fifty years within a global context of scrutiny and ongoing policy review evaluating teaching development, standards and performance (Levin, 2010). These are shifting landscapes which teachers are forced to make meaning within (Clandinin, 2010).

In the realm of narrative construction – stories told about these experiences – what is explored has

historical, moral, emotional, and aesthetic dimensions (Clandinin et al., 2006, p. 6).

Research Plan and Methodology

Background

There was a realisation as pilot interviews and sampling of observational data commenced that much is to be gained by beginning with a familiar topic with which you are already involved (Silverman, 2005). Time pressures, for one, were minimised:  Weekly walkthroughs are conducted as a reflective practice in our Humanities team, and have been ongoing for more than two years; another embedded cultural practice involves collecting and sharing photographs of student work samples as artefacts for reflective coaching conversations; focus on learning in a community of practice sustains – trust is established, and teacher professionalism is valued (Sachs, 2003).

A fundamental principle of interpretivism is that

all human action is meaningful (O’Donoghue, 2007, p. 16),

especially as a means of investigating social practices in everyday settings, such as a metropolitan K-12 public school. Initial sampling will lead to ongoing observations with staff and inform further research, dependent on categories identified during data analysis (Punch & Oancea, 2014). It is anticipated that purposeful sampling which attends to

categories such as age, gender, ideology, status, role or function in organization, stated philosophy or ideology” will yield the greatest range of insights (Coyne, 1997, p. 624).

Data analysis

Analysis of data is dependent on

a tightly-woven iterative process involving constant comparison, which leads to the gradual development and refinement of theory grounded in the data (Tuettemann, 2003, p. 11).

While views are likely to vary, hope for successful outcomes generated by continuing practice of coaching was expressed as a common theme during pilot interviews.

This sense of belonging within the school’s context will lead to confirmation of the calibre of much of the data; lines of inquiry effectively remain open through shared documentation, reflective conversations, and ongoing review of data. Coding of transcripts will identify categories and major themes of staff perspectives on coaching (Thomas, 2003), while narrative inquiry processes capture participants’ living stories.

Mosaic on Bayswater Rd

Conclusion

The proposed qualitative study is designed to generate theory about the perspectives of staff on coaching in public schools in Perth, Western Australia: an interpretive study of one school. As a secondary method, narrative inquiry is anticipated to illustrate participants’ responses to discussion questions which follow semi-structured interviews.

In the absence of a common model or agreed definition of coaching, context is expected to be a critical determining factor influencing the perspectives which staff have developed from their lived experience of coaching practices.

Selected references

AITSL. (2012a). Australian teacher performance and development framework. Retrieved September 10, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/professional-growth-resources/performance-and-development-resources/australian_teacher_performance_and_development_framework_august_2012.pdf

AITSL. (2012b). Australian charter for the professional learning of teachers and school leaders. Retrieved September 10, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/australian_charter_for_the_professional_learning_of_teachers_and_school_leaders

AITSL. (2015). Teacher toolkit. Retrieved January 20, 2015 http://www.toolkit.aitsl.edu.au/category/coaching-mentoring

Clandinin, D.J. (2010). Sustaining teachers in teaching. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 16(3), 281-283.

Clandinin, D.J. & Connelly, F.M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Clandinin, D.J. & Huber, J. (2010). Narrative inquiry. In McGaw, B., Baker, E. & Peterson, P.P. (Eds.) International encyclopedia of education (3rd Ed.) (pp. 436-441). New York, NY: Elsevier.

Clandinin, D. J., Huber, J., Huber, M., Murphy, M. S., Murray Orr, A., Pearce, M., & Steeves, P. (2006). Composing diverse identities: Narrative inquiries into the interwoven lives of children and teachers. London: Routledge.

Coyne, I.T. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26, 623-630.

Department of Education WA. (2011). Progressing the classroom first strategy. Retrieved February 6, 2015 from the DoE policies website http://det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/strategic-documents/progressing-classroom-first.en?cat-id=3457058

Department of Education WA. (2015). Focus 2015: Directions for schools. Retrieved February 6, 2015 from the DoE policies website http://www.education.wa.edu.au/home/detcms/navigation/about-us/publications/strategic-plans/

Fishetti, J. (2014). Five trends that jeopardise public education around the world. The Conversation. Retrieved October 6, 2014 https://theconversation.com/five-trends-that-jeopardise-public-education-around-the-world-28969

Graham, J. (2013). (Ed). GERM: Global education reform movement. Professional Voice, 9(3), 5-10. Retrieved October 17, 2014 http://www.aeuvic.asn.au/2631_pv_9_3_issuu.pdf

Hay Group. (2012). Growing our potential: Hay Group’s view on implementing an effective performance improvement and development framework for teachers. Retrieved September 27, 2014 http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/growing_our_potential_-_hay_-_mar_2012

Levin, B. (2010). Governments and education reform: Some lessons from the last 50 years.  Journal of Education Policy, 25(6), 739-747. Retrieved July 5, 2014 www.onesearch.uwa.edu.au

Marshall, C. & Rossman, G.B. (2006). Designing qualitative research (4th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Neufeld B. & Roper, D. (2003). Coaching: A strategy for developing instructional capacity. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Retrieved February 16, 2015 http://annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/product/268/files/Coaching.pdf

O’Donoghue, T. (2007). Planning your qualitative research project: An introduction to interpretivist research in education. Oxon: Routledge.

O’Donoghue, T. & Punch, K. (Eds.). (2003). Qualitative educational research in action: Doing and reflecting. RoutledgeFalmer: London and New York.

Punch, K.F. & Oancea, A. (2014). Introduction to research methods in education (2nd Ed.). London: Sage.

Sachs, J. (2003). The activist teaching profession. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Sahlberg, P. (2011). Finnish lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland? New York: Teachers College Press.

Silverman, D. (2005). Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook (2nd Ed.). Sage: London.

Thomas, D.R. (2003). A general inductive approach for qualitative data analysis. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from Course Materials Online http://www.lms.uwa.edu.au/course/view.php?id=10590

Tuettemann, E. (2003). Grounded theory illuminates interpersonal relationships. In O’Donoghue, T. & Punch, K. (Eds.). Qualitative educational research in action: Doing and reflecting (pp. 7-25)RoutledgeFalmer: London and New York.

poised in landscapes

May 9, 2015
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Here is one I have been hatching: This is a narrative captured in pictures. It is a journey, a record, and reminiscence, all in one. My telling is non-linear.

The boat was adrift beside Brian and Louise’s lake where we stayed in Pipe Gate.

Boat out of Water

Waterways shed silvery skeins throughout our walk alongside the Shropshire Union canal:

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The Thames in London glistened from Chelsea Embankment, too;

P1030977And sculptures poised in landscapes;P1030859Totemic and intriguing;

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Static yet fluid;

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Reminding me that my return home, and the daily pleasures of workaday life, draw on similar landscapes of

  • observation
  • codifying
  • emotional attunement
  • inspiration

So it is with Year 7s and their preparation for next week’s NAPLAN using powers of persuasion; Year 8s and their telling of origin tales designed to spellbind and dramatise; and Year 12s searching for context cues while decoding William Saroyan’s The Parsley Garden. 

Here it all is presented like a window framing grand possibility, like this one taken from my Nanna’s kitchen:

Through Nanna's Kitchen Window

Or this – in more than one way circular – as we return to a view of Pipe Gate:

RoundWindow

Journey’s close contained within a beginning.

An end to imply that fresh opportunities lie ahead…

Real Quality

May 9, 2015
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P1030796

Real Quality

Selected reference

Pirsig, R. (1999). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. London: Vintage Books.

reflect in action

May 2, 2015
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P1030754

reflect in action

Selected reference

Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. USA: Basic Books.

Your best teachers

April 27, 2015
tags: ,
Starbucks interior

Your best teachers

Selected reference

Oliver, M. (1998). Rules for the dance: A handbook for writing and reading metrical verse. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

The defining feeling

April 19, 2015
tags: ,
image

imageSelected reference

Gardner, D. (2009). Risk: the science and politics of fear. London: Virgin.

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