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Researching Networks in Education

Researching Networks in Education

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Researching Networks in Education

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  1. Researching Networks in Education Symposium for Annual Conference of British Educational Research Association University of Glamorgan 16 September 2005

  2. Practitioner learning, enquiry and research Colleen McLaughlin, Kristine Black Hawkins and Andrew Townsend University of Cambridge Faculty of Education BERA Glamorgan September 16th, 2005

  3. Research questions from Networked Learning Communities research strands 25. How are practitioner research and enquiry developed and sustained in networked learning communities? 27 How do networked learning communities support schools to learn from research and evidence? 28 Are there particular kinds of learning process that are more likely to occur through school-school connections? Research undertaken

  4. 1. What is understood by research and enquiry? by different people who engage in this activity What do people chose to do as research and enquiry? And why do they do it [purposes]? 2. What is the impact or effect of research and enquiry on a school? How does it benefit a school or schools? And, how is it understood by those engaging in and promoting research and enquiry? 3. What sustains the effective use of research and enquiry in schools? What are the implications for sustainability and organisational redesign at the following levels:- The organisational level The leadership level The level of external support [e.g. relationships between schools and other organisations such as LEAs, universities, national government bodies and other professionally related organisations]? Our specific questions were:

  5. Review of the literature on teachers, schools and networks and research and enquiry - 2004 Case studies of 6 Networked Learning Communities - 2005 Special schools Primary schools Secondary schools Rural and urban schools A geographical spread in the country A spread in terms of school characteristics A range of experience and stage of development in terms of working in this field of practitioner research and enquiry Questionnaires to all staff in those schools - approx. 651 returned Research strategy

  6. What R and E occurred and what influenced it? How was it conceived and the emergent issues? The impact of undertaking research and enquiry Sustaining and developing research and enquiry and the emergent issues Implications for organisations and networks Overview of this presentation

  7. Did occur in every context we examined Mirrored the purposes and context EAZ, Subject area, challenging circumstances Conceptions often mirrored external pressures and external models of R and E Room for manoeuvre dependent on external and particular contexts of networks - limits to risk taking and networking? Different emphases at different levels within the network or system What Research and Enquiry occurred and what influenced it?

  8. Wide ranging definitions that encompassed and included classroom, school improvement and professional learning. Conceptions emphasised Professional learning through collaborative problem solving and knowledge sharing Reflection on practice and sharing of that reflection A process of improvement focused on teaching and learning A process of refining developing and changing practice - action research A process of professional development and refreshment - professional dialogue A process of enquiry that relies on the use of and collection of evidence in a systematic way How was it conceived and the emergent issues?

  9. This blurring of boundaries had assets and drawbacks Encouraged experimentation and involvement Lack of clarity about outcomes or the basis for judging the claims made Hargreaves [1999] noted that 2 most challenging aspects of knowledge creating schools were the issues of validation and dissemination - our research supports that Pressure to adhere to conventional ways of conducting and disseminating R and E Need to refine, develop and articulate the distinctions and implications of the differences. Issues of definition or conception

  10. Concept widely used in the networks What is known- knowledge from theory, research and best practice What we know- practitioner knowledge New knowledge - created through collaborative work Very limited evidence of the use of current knowledge Practitioners -serious issues re the availability, accessibility, use and form of wider educational research - how to take up this challenge without ‘dumbing down’. Has implications for support of networks and teachers. Engaging in research enhances the use of others research and deepens involvement and motivation. Polarities and mediation between the different fields of knowledge. The three fields of knowledge

  11. Reported considerable and powerful impact on practitioners Sense of professionalism, professional learning and professional development. ‘Most effective form of staff development’ Refreshment and retention Lessening isolation Collaboration seemed to be the most important factor in many cases. Range of forms of collaboration. Impact on school policy where focus is clear and routes to implementation planned and clear e.g. subject areas in secondary schools and shared agendas in primary e.g. KS1 or 2 Takes longer than expected The impact on practitioners, schools and networks

  12. Alignment a key concept. Need to develop mechanisms and thinking re sustainability Mediator or external agent crucial - image of bridge Need for technical, professional and personal support - group dynamics key Manageability - a key concept Dissemination - a key challenge Capacity and conditional change connected Sustaining and developing research and enquiry and the emergent issues

  13. A professional realm is healthiest when the values of the culture are in line with those of the domain, when the expectations of stakeholders match those of the field and when domain and field are themselves in sync. When these conditions exist, individual practitioners are free to operate at their best, morale is high and the professional realm flourishes. We term this a situation of authentic alignment. [Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi and Damon, 2001: 27] Alignment

  14. The notion of the self-facilitating network free of external support and resources is a myth The development of research, enquiry and collaboration is powerful lever and will involve re-examining structures and organisation in order to facilitate the work if it is to endure Building on commonality Implications for organisations and networks

  15. Gardner, H., Csikszentmihalyi, M. and Damon, W. [2001] Good Work: when excellence and ethics meet. New York: Basic Books. Hargreaves, D. [1999] 'The Knowledge Creating School'. British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 47, no 2, pp.122-144 National College of School Leadership [2005] Networked Learning Communities: learning about learning networks. Cranfield, NCSL. References

  16. New Spaces for Dialogue? What are adults learning about pupil involvement and participation in Networked Learning Communities? Dr. Jane McGregor

  17. Networked Learning Communities Networked Learning Communities (NLCs) programme - largest research & development project of the National College of School Leadership (NCSL) in England Aims to bring together clusters of schools with partners to develop good network forums, learn about networked learning and influence the wider education system

  18. 135 networks collaborating across England, possibly the largest such initiative in the world Approximately 1,500 schools,25,000 staff and over 500,000 pupils. Represents 5% of schools in the country Based around principles of collaborative enquiry & joint practice development to support networked learning NLCs

  19. 41% (cohort 1) NLCs identified pupil voice as a strong feature of networked learning development, eg through Pupil perception questionnaires Pupil voice conferences & direct feedback on teaching & learning Pupil intervisitations and Learning Walks Students as Researchers and co-researchers Pupil involvementin NLCs

  20. NCSL cross-phase PupilInvolvement Conference,Nottingham 2005

  21. Classroom Department / Team School/Network Students as Data Source Past performance data Samples of pupil / student work Pupil attitude surveys Students as Active Respondent Shared lesson objectives Dept / team agenda based on pupil perceptions School and network councils Students as Co-Researcher Feedback to teacher Joint research on independent learning Joint review of rewards system Intervisitations Students as Pupil / Student Researcher What Makes a Good Lesson? Research + suggestions for new units of work Pupil led reviews of learning styles provision Fielding’s typology ofpupil involvement

  22. NLC National Conference,Birmingham, June 2005

  23. Gap Year consultants

  24. Pupil involvement in Think First – questions, processes and outcomes What makes us Think First Schools? Video shown within their school 8 videos shown at Pupil Conference and debated What is the same and what is different? What is good learning in a TF School? Diamond nine developed by staff Council chamber debate SC developed a 3 minute video of their school SC lead diamond nine in their own schools Protocols for Pupil Learning Walks developed Pupil’s Question – How do we use VAK in our teaching and learning? School Councils visit as VAK detectives and then meet at second Pupil Conference School Council feedback to their schools good practice in VAK teaching and learning

  25. Think First Networked LearningCommunity – Pupil Involvementin Teaching and Learning

  26. Involving students innetwork development

  27. Shotgun Weddings, Arranged Marriages or Love Matches? :An Investigation of Networked Learning Communities and Higher Education Partnerships in England Anne Campbell Liverpool Hope University Iris Keating MMU

  28. Funded by the National College for School Leadership( NCSL) Networked Learning Group (NLG) 2004-05 Aims were 3 –fold: To identify the range of NLC/HEI partnerships To explore how best practice in partnerships could be shared more widely To work in tandem with the NLG Networked Learning (NLCs) Communities and Higher Education (HEIs) Links Project

  29. Eclectic, flexible approaches drawing on qualitative and quantitative methods An interrogation of the NCSL database to discover existing and planned relationships Classification of links Questionnaire to explore the nature of identified relationships Interviews with a small sample of different relationships Methodology

  30. Each NLC/HEI link is unique- no rigid conceptual framework possible 2 dimensional graph –degree of involvement (continuum) and model of collaboration Control, Trust and Power issues Geographical perspectives Thinking About Linking: Modes of Collaboration

  31. The action research model The customised CPD model The special purposes model Issues of overlap 3 Models

  32. Only a minority of NLCs have engaged in collaborative work with HEIs ITT and NQT links play a small part in links CPD and research are at the interface of links Personal contact or personal initiative are frequent A perceived requirement to link alienated some, prompted others into ‘shotgun marriages’ with some ‘quickie divorces’- or longer ‘arranged marriages’ and some lucky ‘love matches’ General Factors influencing Collaboration

  33. 70% of NLCs linked on paper only The theme of personality remained dominant Geography had a role to play Structures, money, and funding issues Mutual perceptions and the advent of the ‘new’ CPD Action Research General Factors continued

  34. HEIs should consider- structures, flexibility, research agendas, clarity re benefits, financial issues, bartering re ITT and exchange of teacher-tutor expertise NLCs should consider what they want from external expertise re action research, evaluation, critical friendship NLG should consider- avoiding prescription, publicising good practice, national conferences, DVDs and videos, journal and a code of practice for collaboration HE needs to be part of the learning community What should Key Players do to bring about more effective collaboration?

  35. Full report will be available from NLG Planned ‘tool’ for dissemination Case studies, major, mini and micro available Campbea@hope.ac.uk Further information