Learning through networks: trust, partnerships and the power of action research
Continuing Professional Development
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AbstractIn England school teachers and head teachers are faced with a myriad of challenges in coping with the pressures of managing the dynamic and diverse institution which is their school within an imposed, centralized, standards-driven change agenda. It could be argued that many of the national policies and initiatives over the last 15 years have directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously undermined the traditional autonomy of teachers. As a consequence, many feel little ownership of a curriculum that is regularly policed through national pupil assessment at ages 7, 11, 14, 16, 17 and 18, school inspections and competency frameworks related to role specification, and are consequently insecure in making decisions about pedagogy. As part of governments' drive to ensure the effective and efficient implementation, they have been inundated also with demands to attend professional development courses dealing with imposed initiatives, but have little time or energy for reflection on their practice and reflection on the impact that imposed change is making on pupils, motivation, learning and achievement. It was in this context that the Primary Schools Learning Network was formed through negotiated partnerships between a group of self-selecting schools, the local education authority (district), and the Centre for Research on Teacher and School Development at the University of Nottingham. Its aim was to give ownership for development back to teachers through collaborative action research with a view to improving schools and raising pupil attainment.
Educational Action Research, 12(4): 575-586
Educational Action Research