This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
FACULTY OF EDUCATION MASTER OF EDUCATION PROGRAMME GROUP 2006-2009
Justification of the Research Report chosen…………………………………2 Analysis of the Research Report………………………………………………….3 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………..5 Appendix (Research Report)………………………………………………………6
Throughout the readings on Creating Professional Learning Communities (in this study unit EDU5808), the literature repeatedly gives attention to what SEDL (1997) call the five attributes of Professional Learning Communities. organizational arrangements entail: ● supportive and shared leadership ● collective creativity ● shared values and vision ● supportive conditions ● shared personal practice The school leader plays a pivotal role for the above mentioned arrangements to be effective. Hord mentions that, “The most logical and effective way to begin developing a professional learning community is to bring the professionals together to learn. School development and improvement are directly dependent upon teacher development and improvement. Without this critical link, little will change toward bringing quality learning experiences to the classroom. School administrators themselves and into staffs learning that successfully transform the organizations promote These
professionalization of teachers and offer improved educational opportunities for students as well”. Hord, S. M. (1997) This notion about the school leader’s role in staff development intrigued me to delve deeper into this issue. The school leader is fundamental to create the necessary conditions which enable staff to develop and therefore help the school achieve its goals more effectively.
Analysis of the Research Report
The article chosen is about the importance of the school leader’s role in facilitating meaningful change for school improvement by creating the optimum conditions to ensure continuous staff development. “The development of the human resource must be at the very heart of any improvement effort”. In fact, “it is only when enough of the people within the organization change that the organization can be transformed”. Fullan (1993) The article lists 10 suggestions that school leaders should adopt to promote organization development by focusing on the professional development of the staff. 1. Creating a shared vision. 2. Identifying, promoting and protecting shared values. 3. Monitoring the critical elements of the school improvement effort. 4. Ensuring systematic collaboration throughout the school. 5. Encouraging experimentation. 6. Modelling a commitment to professional growth. 7. Providing one-on-one staff development. 8. Providing staff development programmes that are purposeful and research based. 9. Promoting individual and organizational self efficacy. 10.Staying the course. The main challenges for schools are to become learning organizations capable of ongoing renewal. In this sense, staff must begin to focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and hold themselves accountable for the kind of results that kindle continual improvement. School Improvement depends on the commitment and “As Carmichael L. (1982) has said,
persistence of the educators within it.
‘Teachers are the first learners.’ Through their participation in a professional learning community, teachers become more effective, and student outcome increase – a goal which we can all agree.” (SEDL – On-line 1997) A major challenge of the school leader may be that of uniting all stakeholders to support a realistic, credible and attractive vision. Furthermore, the commitment of all 4
the staff in adhering to common values might hinder the school in becoming a learning organization. Also, the school leader must find the time and effort to continuously monitor and assess whether the desired change is taking place effectively. Another challenge is for the school leader to strive to create a In encouraging culture where teachers discuss pedagogical practices. prove successful.
experimentation, setbacks are bound to occur as not every experiment will Thus the attitude of the leader is crucial for if the school leader regards staff efforts as failures, teachers would consequently reduce the likelihood of further experimentation. The school leader must always remember that as a role model, he/she is to be the first to grow professionally. Any school leader needs to foster staff development programmes as not being fragmented and unfocused. Clearly, the main learning outcomes from this paper focus on: ● the leadership role in developing continuous staff development ● the creation of the right conditions to sustain professional growth ● the vision of the school is influential if it is shared by the staff and the wider community ● shared values represent the means that are necessary to move the school towards the necessary targets ● continuous assessment – collective inquiry: constantly questioning, taking action to improve, and then reflecting on the results ● building collaborative teams that share a common purpose – focusing on teaching and learning ● trying out new techniques and strategies and regard setbacks as opportunities for learning – representing an opportunity to begin again more intelligently ● the leader as a role model in professional development – setting the example ● “Clinical supervision model” – teacher-principal once a term meetings, discussing effective teaching practices, promoting oneon-one staff development leading to dialogue and reflection ● effective staff development not only helps the school to move towards a specific, articulated end but also staff members are made aware of the relationship between programme objectives and the 5
overall improvement goals of the school ● the leader is crucial in helping others believe in themselves to bring about effective change that benefits students ● innovations are to be supported and sustained until they are institutionalized
Carmichael, L. (1982), Leaders as learners: A possible dream, Educational [On-line]
Leadership, 40 (1), 58-59: in SEDL, 6 (1) (1997) Professional Learning Communities: What Are They And Why Are They Important? Available: http://www.sadl.org/change/issues/issues61.html DuFour, R. & Berkley, T. (1995), The Principal as Staff Developer – Journal of Staff Development, Fall 1995 (Vol. 16. No. 4) [On-line] Available: http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/dufour164.cfm Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces: Probing the depths of educational reform. London: The Falmer Press in DuFour, R. & Berkley, T. (1995), The Principal as Staff Developer – Journal of Staff Development, Fall 1995 (Vol. 16. No. 4) [Online] Available: http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/dufour164.cfm Hord, S. M. (1997), Professional learning communities: What are they and why are they important? [Online]. Available: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/profdev/resources/proflearn/ SEDL, 6 (1) (1997) Professional Learning Communities: What Are They And Why Are They Important? [On-line] Available: http://www.sadl.org/change/issues/issues61.html
The Principal as Staff Developer
Richard DuFour and Timothy Berkey Journal of Staff Development, Fall 1995 (Vol. 16. No. 4)
The Principal as Staff Developer
The success of school improvement efforts will depend on the professionals within those schools. Principals can create conditions which ensure that professional growth is part of school culture. The important role of the principal in facilitating meaningful change in a school is well established (Boyer, 1983; Lieberman & Miller, 1981; Levine & Lezotte, 1990; Smith & Andrews, 1990). The best way for principals to fulfil that role is by creating conditions which promote the growth and development of the professionals within their schools. All too often, school improvement efforts focus on a search for the magic bullet —the new programs and procedures that will transform a school. New curriculum materials, alternative scheduling, new methods of reporting student achievement, for example, are heralded as examples of significant school improvement. It is time to recognize that there is no magic bullet. Programs and materials do not bring about change, people do. School districts devote the greatest portion of their expenditures to personnel, and it only makes sense that the development of this human resource must be at the very heart of any improvement effort. As Ernest Boyer (in Sparks, 1984) observed: “When you talk about school improvement, you are talking about people improvement. That's the only way to improve schools unless you mean painting the buildings and fixing the floors. But that's not the school, that's the shell. The school is people, so when we talk about excellence or improvement or progress, we're really talking about the people who make up the building." (p. 9) Focusing on people is the most effective way to change any organization. In fact, it can be argued that organizations do not change, only individuals change. It is only when enough of the people within an organization change that the organization can be transformed (Fullan, 1993). If this premise that people are the key to school improvement is correct, then it follows that the fundamental role of the principal is to help create the conditions which enable a staff to develop so that the school can achieve its goals more effectively. In short, a key to school improvement is the willingness and ability of principals to assume the role of staff developers who make it their mission to "alter the professional practices, beliefs, and understandings of school personnel toward an articulated end" (Fielding & Schalock, 1985, p. 14). Principals who hope to promote organization development by focusing on the professional growth of staff should consider the following 10 suggestions. 1. Create consensus on the school you are trying to become. If the concept of principal as staff developer is associated with altering the professional practices, beliefs, and understandings of school persons toward an articulated end, it should be evident that principals must be able to describe that "end" in clear and compelling terms. Without a vision of the school they are trying to
create, principals will be unable to identify the initiatives that are necessary to move the school in a purposeful direction. Furthermore, this vision of the school's future will be influential only to the extent that it is widely shared by the staff and community. Rallying support for a realistic, credible, attractive vision of what the school might become is part of the daily work of principals. 2. Identify, promote, and protect shared values. If vision articulates the end, shared values represent the means that are necessary to move the school toward that target. Shared values articulate the specific behaviours and attitudes that must be in evidence if the intended school improvement is to take place. They carry the message of common purpose and agreed upon standards. Whereas vision describes what the school might become at some point in the future, values represent a commitment on the part of the staff as to how its members will conduct themselves today. For example, a vision statement may make reference to a goal of a school in which all students are successful. The values statement will specify what teachers must do to advance that goal, such as "We will provide evidence that each student has been successful in achieving the agreed-upon essential outcomes of our course." When a staff commits to support specific values, the concept of school improvement moves from the future to the present and from the abstract to the concrete. The importance of shared values in school improvement is well established in research (Deal & Peterson, 1990; Sergiovanni, 1984), and principals should be attentive to identifying, promoting, and protecting those values. 3. Monitor the critical elements of the school improvement effort. One of the most powerful means by which principals can convey the importance of something to those within the school is simply by paying attention to it. A principal who devotes considerable time and effort to the continual assessment of a particular condition within a school sends the message that the condition is important. Therefore, if the school has undertaken an initiative to "alter the professional practice, beliefs, and understandings" of the faculty, the principal must monitor whether or not the desired change is taking place. This means that staff development initiatives must be assessed at multiple levels. Teacher satisfaction with professional growth programs will be assessed to identify factors that could be impacting implementation. Guided practice and self assessment will be used to help teachers determine whether they have acquired the new skill. Classroom observations will be used to monitor whether teachers are using the new skills. Finally, tangible, verifiable data will be collected to assess the impact of this initiative on student achievement or attitudes. Since significant school reform affects the teaching and learning process, principals must assess staff
development efforts by developing strategies to monitor both the instructional process and student outcomes. 4. Ensure systematic collaboration throughout the school. Teacher isolation is such an inherent part of traditional school practices that merely encouraging teachers to collaborate is not enough. A collaborative culture is so strongly linked to improving schools that principals can not afford to simply hope this culture emerges: They must take steps to ensure that collaboration becomes the norm within their schools. The use of small teams provides an excellent vehicle for this collaboration. For example, a faculty could be organized into small teams by grade level or subject. The teams could then assume responsibility for carrying out activities such as developing curricular outcomes, assessing student achievement, selecting instructional materials, planning special projects, participating in peer observation and coaching, pursuing professional growth topics, and developing schedules. Principals can demonstrate their support for collaboration by providing staff with time to meet, modeling collaboration in their dealings with others, and asking teams to provide periodic updates on the results of their work. Most importantly, principals must not mistake congeniality with collegiality. They must strive to create a culture in which teachers talk about teaching and learning; observe each other teach; plan, design, research, and evaluate the curriculum, and teach each other what they have learned about their craft (Barth, 1991). In short, principals who function as staff developers not only ensure that collaboration takes place, they also ensure that the focus of that collaboration is teaching and learning. 5. Encourage experimentation. A key to school improvement is persuading people to approach their jobs from a different perspective and try out new techniques and strategies; in short, to experiment. Thus, a willingness to experiment is an important precondition for successful school improvement. Experimentation is unlikely to take place, however, unless principals demonstrate that initiatives that fall short of the intended results are acceptable. Setbacks are bound to occur and not every experiment will prove successful. If principals regard these efforts as failures, they will reduce the likelihood of further experimentation. If, on the other hand, principals regard setbacks as an opportunity for learning that improves the probability of success in subsequent efforts, they can help to sustain the improvement initiative. Principals who hope to promote experimentation will make a point of recognizing teachers whose initiatives have fallen short of the intended results. After all, their efforts represent an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. 6. Model a commitment to professional growth. Principals who hope to convince others to grow professionally must model their own commitment to continual development. If they are quick to identify the need for other individuals and 10
groups to update or acquire skills, but slow to recognize that need in themselves, principals send mixed messages. With the restructuring movement's emphasis on site-based management and teacher participation in decision making, principals would benefit from training in team building and achieving consensus. The potential impact of technology upon the classroom represents another important area for professional growth. The specific area of growth that principals choose is less important than the fact that they serve as role models who demonstrate a commitment to acquiring the knowledge and skills required to enhance their job performance. Principals who pursue training opportunities, participate in study groups, forward articles to staff members and solicit their comments, make presentations at conferences, write articles for professional journals, and engage in action research at the school site are using their own behaviour to communicate the importance of professional growth. They are mindful of Ralph Waldo Emerson's admonition that what we do thunders above us so loudly that others cannot hear what we say. 7. Provide one-on-one staff development. Although staff development is usually associated with group activities, principals must also take advantage of opportunities to promote professional growth one teacher at a time. For example, in many districts teacher supervision procedures represent an ineffective and unproductive attempt to rate teachers. When done well, however, teacher supervision can provide a fertile ground for systematic individualized staff development. The clinical supervision model developed by Morris Cogan (1961) and refined by Jerry Bellon (1982) and others is an example of a supervision process that promotes professional growth. In this model, the teacher meets with the principal immediately prior to teaching the class to discuss the teacher's plans for the lesson. During the classroom observation the principal is responsible for collecting objective data that will be useful in the assessment of the lesson. During the post-observation conference the principal and teacher review the data, identify patterns or tendencies that occurred, assess the effectiveness of those tendencies, and plan for future instruction. The entire cycle is replicated at least three or four times during the year to provide the teacher with feedback on the instructional strategies being practiced. Good staff development procedures result in teachers talking about and thinking about effective teaching. The clinical supervision promotes that dialogue and reflection. It represents a potentially powerful form of staff development for principals who become skilled in its use. It can also serve as the cornerstone of a peer observation model. Principals who serve as staff developers will utilize supervision models that enable them to provide one-onone staff development. 8. Provide staff development programs that are purposeful and research based. Because effective staff development is a purposeful, conscious effort to change practices and beliefs in order to move the school toward a specific, articulated end, principals must insist that staff development is firmly rooted in the goals 11
and vision of a district. Furthermore, they must make certain that staff members are aware of the relationship between the objectives of the program and the overall improvement goals of the school. However, even programs that are appropriately linked to the goals of the school will be ineffective if the training—assuming, of course, that training is the most appropriate approach— is not sound. Nearly all teachers are able to gain mastery of new skills and incorporate those skills in their teaching repertoire if their training provides (Showers, Joyce, & Bennett, 1987): • Presentation of the theory supporting the innovation; • Demonstration; • Initial practice in the training session; • Prompt feedback regarding their efforts; and • Coaching (i. e., sustained practice with ongoing feedback and support) until the skill is mastered. Research emphasizes that coaching is a prerequisite for the implementation of new skills or strategy (Showers, Joyce, & Bennett, 1987). Principals must recognize that providing teachers with ongoing support after the initial training is critical to the success of any innovation. Therefore, an effective peer coaching program should be one of the first staff development initiatives that principals should provide for their schools. 9. Promote individual and organizational self efficacy. The willingness of teachers to put forth the effort and energy required to learn and implement a new skill or strategy depends to a great extent upon their sense of self confidence and belief in their ability to affect their classrooms. Teachers who believe that their efforts are not likely to bring about meaningful change, who have lost hope that anything will make a difference in their effectiveness or job satisfaction, are unlikely to be affected by even the best staff development program (Sparks, 1983). This sense of efficacy is also critical to school wide improvement efforts. If those within the school believe that the causes of student learning lie outside their spheres of influence—in the genes or social background of their students— school improvement efforts will be viewed as futile, if not ridiculous. Therefore, it is important that principals help teachers recognize and believe in their individual and collective capacity to bring about change that benefits students. Principals must encourage teachers to acquire new skills, support them during the inevitable frustrations, and recognize their efforts. Procedures must be in place to gather data on the impact of staff development initiatives, and principals must publicly celebrate indicators of improvement in order to help sustain those initiatives.
Principals must model an unwavering faith in the ability of the staff to improve conditions for teaching and learning. Principals who are staff developers will leave fatalism and pessimism to others. They will remember the admonition of John Gardner (1988, p. 23): "To help others believe in themselves is one of a leader's highest duties." 10. Stay the course. An extensive study of schooling practices across the nation found that staff development programs are generally fragmented and unfocused with no clear priorities or in-depth attack on school problems (Goodlad, 1984). Programs are often based on "this year's new thing" rather than on a clear, compelling vision of the school's future (Sparks, 1994). When teachers are introduced to cooperative learning one year, multiple intelligences in the next, and portfolio assessment in the next, it is inevitable that they will respond to pronouncements of new programs with an attitude that suggests, "this too shall pass." One of the most common mistakes made in attempting to implement an innovation in any organization is the failure to support it and sustain the effort until it is institutionalized (Kanter, 1983). If professional growth initiatives are to be effective, principals must abandon the potpourri approach to staff development and support ongoing, purposeful learning until there is evidence that the learning is having the desired impact upon the school. It is also important that principals be committed to continuous improvement. Schools can become learning organizations capable of significant change only if those within them recognize that school improvement is a complex, ongoing process rather than a task to be completed. While it is important that principals celebrate the attainment of improvement goals, it is even more important that such celebrations serve as motivators for staying the course rather than signal that the improvement process has ended. Leading a Learning Organization The successful organizations of the 21st century will be learning organizations that build continuous learning into jobs at all levels (Drucker, 1992). Schools have traditionally looked to external sources in attempting to promote learning for staff. Consultants are hired or teachers and administrators are sent to workshops in the hope that someone outside of the organization can serve as a catalyst for the improvement of the school. This tendency must be abandoned if schools are to become learning organizations capable of ongoing renewal. School personnel must begin to think of professional growth, not in terms of workshops, but in terms of their workplace. Imagine a school in which: • Teachers have a shared vision of what they hope their school will become and a commitment to upholding the organizational values that will move it in that direction; • Teachers work together in teams to design curriculum, instruction, and assessment; 13
• Teaching teams systematically analyze indicators of student achievement and collectively search for ways to be more effective; • Personnel routinely conduct action research and share their findings; • Personnel form study groups to read, reflect upon, and discuss ideas presented in the professional literature; • Clinical supervision is used as a form of one-on-one staff development; • Peer coaching is a valued component of the culture; • Personnel collaborate in small teams to identify and address school problems; • The staff shares their ideas with colleagues and the profession at-large through writing and presentations. When these conditions exist, sustained professional growth can become the organizational norm. Principals who hope to promote such an environment in their schools will embrace their role as staff developers.
References Barth, R. (1990). Improving schools from within. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. Bellon, J. (1982). Classroom supervision and instructional improvement: A synergistic process (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt. Boyer, E. (1983). High School: A report on secondary education in America. New York: Harper and Row. Cogan, M. (1961). Supervision at the Harvard-Newton summer school. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Deal, T., & Peterson, K. (1990). The principal's role in shaping school culture. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education. Drucker, P. (1992). Managing the future. New York: Dutton. Fielding, G., & Schalock, H. (1985). Promoting the professional development of teachers and administrators. Eugene, OR: Center for Educational Policy and Management. Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces: Probing the depths of educational reform. London: The Falmer Press. Fullan, M. (1994). As interviewed by Dennis Sparks, National Staff Development Council Audiotape. Oxford, Ohio. Gardner, J. (1988). Leadership: An overview. Washington, DC: The Independent Sector. Goodlad, J. (1984). A place called school. New York: McGraw-Hill. Kanter, R. (1983). The change masters: Innovation and entrepreneurship in the American corporation. New York: Simon and Schuster. Levine, D., & Lezotte, L. (1990). Unusually effective schools: A review and analysis of research and practice. Madison, WI: The National Center for Research and Development. Lieberman, A., & Miller, L. (1981). Synthesis of research on effective schools. Educational Leadership, 38(7), 583-86. Sergiovanni, T. (1984). Leadership and excellence in schooling. Educational Leadership, 41(5), 4-13. Showers, B., Joyce, B., & Bennett, B. (1987). Synthesis of research on staff development: A framework for future study and state-of-the-art analysis. Educational Leadership, 45(3) 77-87.
Smith, W., & Andrews, R. (1990). Instructional leadership: How principals make a difference. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Sparks, D. (1984). Staff development and school improvement: An interview with Ernest Boyer. Journal of Staff Development, 5(2), 32-39. Sparks, D. (1994). A paradigm shift in staff development. Journal of Staff Development, 15(4), 26-29. Sparks, G. M. (1983). Synthesis of research on staff development for effective teaching. Educational Leadership, 41(3), 65-72.