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An English Case of Participation in School Processes and Practices to inform School Senior Leadership/Management Teams' change strategies to improve learning, and student outcomes
journal contributionposted on 15.12.2016, 09:54 by Alison Taysum
The research focuses on improving teacher and student participation in institutional processes and practices to improve learning, and learning outcomes. The findings are thought provoking for school and college leaders to help them think through the implications of community participation in their institutions. The pilot is for a larger research project for which the team is seeking funding. This paper focuses on a mixed methods action research case of a large English coastal secondary school with approximately 2500 students. The action research is in three stages. The first stage is an inquiry into patterns of participation. The second is reporting the findings back to the School Senior Management Team and documenting how they make meaning of the impact of the findings including any change strategies they develop to improve patterns of participation. The third stage is to repeat the first stage of the research to investigate the impact of the change strategies. This paper documents the first stage of the research. Interviews with two teachers and two students revealed committed pedagogical relationships may improve learning and learning outcomes. However, the teachers and students need leaders and managers to advocate for leadership and management systems that enable them to make time to build pedagogical relationships and processes and practices for participation at classroom and school level. The evidence reveals that characteristics in the English case of such pedagogical relationships include trust, an ethic of care, ideal speech, friendliness, respecting the self and the other, resolving conflict peacefully (agreeing to disagree with temperance), and recognising diversity through inclusive practices with a sense of fun, and a spirit of inquiry. A questionnaire was developed where the items were informed by findings from the interviews. The findings from the questionnaire affirmed the findings from the interviews, and made clearer the gaps within the school between those who considered their participation was at optimum levels, and those who would like to participate more. This paper focuses on the findings from the questionnaires because it is difficult to anonymise the findings from the interviews. This is because school staff made arrangements to enable the participants to be free to be interviewed. Thus those interviewed and what they said could be identified which would compromise the ethical framework . Readers are invited to connect with this research, and think through how useful such research might be for Senior Leadership/Management Teams of schools and colleges. The second and third stages of the pilot action research that engage with leaders’ and managers’ advocacy for participative processes and practices are currently being implemented.