01 SES 06 B, Networks and Collaborative Approaches to Professional Learning
This paper will present the analysis of an ongoing research and comparative survey between France and the United Kingdom regarding professional learning communities
Context and theoretical approach
In education, the idea of evidence-informed practice (EIP) presupposes that teaching practice and student outcomes can be improved if teachers appropriate and use research findings. As education systems move away from the top-down prescriptive model, it is felt that schools can only "improve themselves" if they are helped to develop EIP, i. e. to circulate this practice among teachers, within and between schools (Brown, 2017).
The growing interest of teachers in EIP is widely visible in England through membership of the researchED organisation, which recently held its third annual conference, attracting nearly 1,000 participants. In France, many research studies on the training establishment (Ria, 2015) and change in education (Dupriez, 2015) come to close conclusions. In the spring of 2017, the report to the Minister "Towards a learning society" (Taddei, Becchetti-Bizot & Houzel, 2017) promoted the idea of familiarizing teaching teams with research to ensure professional development and pedagogical innovation. Stoll et al. (2014) argue that in order to narrow the gap between research evidence and practice, it is necessary to act on teacher representations and change behaviour. In the school context, professional learning communities refer to "processes of social learning when people with common interests work together" and engage collectively "to continuously improve students' learning outcomes" (Isabelle et al., 2013).
Social interactions within and between schools therefore play a key role in improving practices (Daly, 2010). Indeed, these interactions act as channels for circulating resources from "social capital", or professional expertise that can be used by teachers to improve their practices and student learning. Learning organisations are based on each other's skills, pooled in order to have more effective anticipation and adaptability than isolated actions. For Dutercq et al. (2015), leading teachers in schools have the ability to influence the attitudes and behaviours of other teachers, both formally and informally. Analysis of the informal organisation requires an approach to identify and map informal structures and to understand the role of social actors within these structures. In most cases, informal organization is seen as a "professional social network".
Problems and objectives
So far, few studies have examined how networked structures within schools can be used to facilitate EIP. In response to the lack of knowledge in this area and in order to develop interdisciplinary and innovative research, this project aims to identify links in the knowledge flow network and explore the extent to which working with schools to better understand their professional networks would maximize the effectiveness of these networks. Social network analysis (SNA) is essential because access to forms of PBSCs (practitioner-based social capital) will tend to be unevenly distributed across networks. As a result, teachers with the highest levels of PBSCs will be those who their colleagues consult most often for advice (Baker-Doyle & Yoon, 2010). Using the ANS to identify central actors - those who have the most links with other actors in an organization - allows us to identify those with the highest levels of PBSCs.
Once the quantitative analysis has been completed, we will select a few schools (from 2 to 5) to meet with identified pedagogical leaders and active members of the network. The interviews will be held in the form of focus groups to allow individuals to express themselves on what this professional social network means to them. The interviews will be guided by a series of specific questions (used as a checklist of topics to be covered) but will allow for free exchanges on the topics covered. The sessions will be filmed to allow further work from the transcripts. Third, we plan to be able to answer a number of questions, such as how networks are being set up and how they are helping to bring about lasting change within the school (in terms of practice, support and collaboration). Finally, we will seek to identify factors that promote the implementation of research recommendations. Survey and Focus Group Objectives 1. Describe networks: what do they look like? How does information flow through these networks? What management supports? 2. Identify the individuals who are the driving forces: who do teachers turn to to change their practices, seek advice or support? 3. Defining the type of leadership that structures networks: what are the informal organizations that drive change? What factors promoted change?
The project will build on the results of observations made in five colleges during 2018, during the construction of interdisciplinary projects within the framework of the European project on interdisciplinarity, CROSSCUT. The data collected during this project (interviews, focus groups and filmed teaching sessions) allowed the construction of first categories of analysis of the dynamics of collective work between educational staff, teachers and supervisors. The project will deepen the initial hypotheses for modeling instructional leadership modalities within an educational institution.
- Baker-Doyle K. and Yoon S. A. (2010). Making expertise transparent: Using technology to strengthen social networks in Teacher Professional Development. In Daly A. (dir.) Social Network Theory and Educational Change. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. - Brown, C. (2017) Research Learning Communities: How The RLC Approach Enables Teachers To Use Research To Improve Their Practice And The Benefits For Students That Occur As A Result, Research for All, 1, 2, p. 387-405. - Chapman C., Muijs, D., Sammons P. and Teddlie D. (dir.) Routledge International Handbook of Educational Effectiveness. London: Routledge −Daly A. (2010). Social Network Theory and Educational Change. Harvard Education Press. −Dutercq Y. et al. (2015). Le leadership éducatif. Louvain-la-Neuve : De Boeck. - Isabelle C. et al. (2013). CAP : un leadership partagé entre le conseil scolaire, la direction et les enseignants. Education et francophonie, vol. 41, n° 2. - Taddei F., Becchetti-Bizot C. et Houzel G. (2017). Vers une société apprenante, Rapport à la Ministre de l’Éducation, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. Paris : Ministère de l’Éducation nationale. - Ria, L. (dir.) (2015). Former les enseignants au XXIe siècle. Établissement formateur et vidéoformation. Louvain-la-Neuve : De Boeck Stoll S., Earl L., Anderson S. and Schildkamp K (2014). Changing teachers and teaching: the relationship between educational effectiveness research and practice, In Daly A. (dir.), Social Network Theory and Educational Change. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. - Livrable du projet CROSCUT : http://ife.ens-lyon.fr/ife/partenariat/international/programmes-et-projets/crosscut/crosscut_rapport-traduit-output1_enque302te-de-terrain-avec-annexes
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