19 SES 07, Digitalisation and Other Transformations in Schools
The Core Competencies Network (CCN) (Xarxa de Competències Bàsiques -XBC)) is a modality of teaching professional development based on peer-to-peer learning, promoted by the Catalan Department of Education, where more than 550 primary and secondary schools, and 6000 teachers are participating. The purpose of this initiative is promoting teachers’ professional development among equals, maintaining or consolidating reflection-action processes in teams to transform schools into spaces that promote real learning (Atkinson, 2012). The main objective of this network is to generate a bottom-up collaborative process of in-service teacher education where teachers can be the agents of school change. It also aims to generate integrative learning experiences and challenge the notion and the practice of assessment. All this with the finality of improving students’ quality of learning and teachers’ collegiality. It also fosters the creation of pedagogical spaces for teachers and the exchange of experiences (McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006; Popp & Goldman, 2016).
Teachers are integrated in work teams, with external agents who accompany and advise them, either by acting as facilitators, either by encouraging participation in the network and providing their vision as experienced people. The CCN is, in short, an educational professional development approach between peers to build collective knowledge, from the conviction that the willingness to share and learn is greater in contexts of cooperation between peers than in other types of compulsory teachers’ development programs.
The formation process is not based only on the exchange of experiences and pedagogical debates between peers, but is structured around an organized work structure that has as a goal, on the one hand, to make the schools aware of where they are and where they want to go. And, on the other, to promote the guided construction of a pedagogical knowledge based on the decision-making process of teacher teams to advance the objectives previously fixed. Through the combination of face-to-face and virtual formats, progress and difficulties are shared with other teachers and schools, being always aware of the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of students’ learning progress.
The CCN was created in the academic year 2001-2002, based on the demand of a group of teachers from different schools, came together to reflect on the results of the first official tests to evaluate core competences promoted by the Department of Education. Here's the reason of the name of the network. The initial goal of teachers was to share processes of diagnosis and internal evaluation of schools based on the results of the tests, which led to actions to introduce the necessary improvements. Therefore, the evaluation, used as a teacher development tool, has been present since the beginning of the history of the network. Also, from the beginning, has been based on the idea that the engine of change of the education system is the school.
In the course of the years, the CNN has been growing and diversifying its objectives, incorporating also organizational elements that have reinforced the approach of professional development between peers. It is within this context, when the Esbrina research group receives the demand to evaluate how the CCN formation process is contributing to improve the life of schools, the collaboration between the teaching staff and the students' learning. It is from this demand that we propose to carry out 6 case studies, with the purpose of constructing learning contextual stories of the CCN schools. The initial question we are asking is how the CCN's formative and educational proposal moves through and transform the life of the schools.
The methodological approach to this research is configured from a participatory ethnography perspective. Participatory ethnography means to involve the people and the community of study to be part of the research process. It means to invite members of a community to provide, collect and give meaning to data and help to formulate contextualized experiences (Tan, Calabrese, Shin, & Turner, 2016). A perspective that connects, on the one hand, with the notion of inclusive research (Nind, 2014), that seeks that social actors (teachers, students and other members of the school community) become active researchers, as they participate, in this case, in the identification of conceptions, transitions, tensions and contributions implied in teaching and learning through inquiry projects and in sharing the processes and results of the research. And, on the other, with our idea of making research ‘with’ and not ‘about’ people (Hernández, 2011). A concept that allow us to decolonized ‘the subjects’ that participate in our research and are part, as we are, of the studied phenomena and to focusing and taking into account the issues and questions that really affect them and not only the ones we think should affect them. This approach allows to increase empathy between researchers and studied people and communities. Decolonize researchers’ relationship between people and communities encouraging them to take ownership of problems and solutions that ensures sustainability and accountability. Democratize and demystify research. The implementation of six case studies, in as many schools that are part of the network, is entailing: 1. A careful negotiation making explicit the terms of our research relationship and mutual compromises and responsibilities. 2. An intensive staying of a minimum of three months in every school. 3. The taking of systematic multimodal fieldnotes (Hernández-Hernández & Sancho-Gil, 2018). 4. Classroom observations and visual documentation. 5. School life observations and visual documentation (corridors, playground, school facilities….). 6. Interviews with key informants (headteacher, responsible of the initiative, students, family members…) 7. Focus groups, using image elicitation strategies (Harper, 2002; Hatten, Forin, & Adams; Rose, 2012) with students, teaches, families and other school community members). The analysis of all the collected information in dialogue with all the participants in the research is providing a rich and nuance-filled vision of the meaning of the transformations promoted by the belonging of each schools to the network.
The focus of attention during ethnography goes around evidence that make possible to give account of meanings given to key educational notions such as knowledge, learning, evaluation, collaboration and inclusion that guide the actions of teachers and students. In addition, we give account of the school climate, the vision of families, students and other agents involved in the school life. In this task, the role of the group of teachers who promotes and favours the participation and involvement of all (teachers, families, students and community members) is fundamental. We also try to make explicit the conditions of the school for a stimulating a climate to foster real learning, in which aspects such as self-esteem, active involvement, recognition of progress and the accompaniment of students with difficulties is fundamental. We also give account of the conditions of the learning environment, in which the discoveries of students and teachers are documented and published, and families and the community are involved. Finally, we pay attention to those spaces and moments in which teachers see themselves as creators of the knowledge and on how they experience and share with others innovative experiences that can promote substantial changes.
Atkinson, D. (2012), Contemporary art in education: The new, emancipation and truth. The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 31:1, pp. 5-18. Harper, D. (2002). Talking about pictures: A case for photo elicitation. Visual Studies, 17(1), 13-26, DOI: 10.1080/14725860220137345 Hatten, K., Forin, T. R., & Adams, R. (2013). A picture elicits a thousand meanings: Photo elicitation as a method for investigating cross-disciplinary identity development. In Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings: 23 – 26 June 2013. (pp. 1-21). Atlanta, GA.: American Society for Engineering Education. Hernández, F. (ed.) (2011). Investigar con los jóvenes: cuestiones temáticas, metodológicas, éticas y educativas. Barcelona. Universitat de Barcelona. Dipòsit Digital. http://hdl.handle.net/2445/17362 Hernández-Hernández, F., & Sancho-Gil, J. (2018-06-25). Writing and Managing Multimodal. Field Notes. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.319 McLaughlin, M. W., & Talbert, J. (2006). Building school-based teacher learning communities: professional strategies to improve student achievement. New York: Teachers College Press. Nind, M. (2014). What in inclusive research? London/New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. Popp, J. S., & Goldman, S. R. (2016). Knowledge building in teacher professional learning communities: Focus of meeting matters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 59, 347-359. Rose, G. (2012). Visual methodologies. Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications. Tan, E., Calabrese, A., Shin . M., & Turner, C. (2016). Probing participatory partnerships: Equitably consequential making by, for and with marginalized youth. Retrieved from http://www.informalscience.org/sites/default/files/17Oct.Participatory%20Ethnography.FabLearn.pdf.
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