26 SES 11 A, Professional Learning Networks: Perspectives on achieving sustainability
Professional learning networks (PLN) of teachers and others (such as university researchers) collaborating outside of their everyday community of practice, are considered to be an effective way to foster school improvement (cf. Stoll 2015, Brown & Poortman 2018). At the same time, to generate change, PLNs require effective support from school leaders (cf. Louis & Murphy 2017). Such support should be directed at ensuring PLN participants can engage in network learning activity; also, that this activity can be meaningfully mobilised within participant's schools. What is less well understood however are the actions school leaders might engage in to provide this support. To address this knowledge gap, this paper presents a case study of how senior leaders (cf. LaPointe-McEwan et al. 2017) attempted to maximise the effectiveness of par-ticipating in PLNs for two learning networks. The first: The New Forest Research Learning Network (RLN) is a specific type of PLN designed to facilitate research-informed change at scale. The second: The Modellregion Bildung Zillertal Professional Learning Networks (MoBiZi-PLNs) are bottom-up initiatives to foster professional learning within certain topics related to questions of assessment, differentiation and backward-design. Pro In-depth semi structured in-terviews with RLN/PLN participants, as well as impact data and policy documents, were used to ascertain the types of leadership practices employed and their nature (i.e. transformative or instructional). Also presented is an assessment of the perceived efficacy of these practices and suggestions for the type of leadership activity that appear to maximise the effectiveness of schools engaging in professional learning networks more generally.
Brown, C., & Poortman, C. L. (Eds.). (2018). Networks for learning: Effective collaboration for teacher, school and system improvement. New York: Routledge. Louis, K. S., & Murphy, J. (2017). Trust, caring and organizational learning: the leader's role. Journal of Educational Administration, 55(1), 103-126. LaPointe-McEwan, D., DeLuca, C., & Klinger, D. A. (2017). Supporting evidence use in networked professional learning: the role of the middle leader. Educational Re-search, 59(2), 136-153. Stoll, L. (2015) Using evidence, learning and the role of professional learning communities. In Brown, C.(ed.). Leading the use of research and evidence in schools, (London, IOE Press).
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