I LOVE reading about stuff. I am NOT good at pulling it all together in a way that synthesizes all that I've read clearly and coherently and in a way that frames my research. Part of this is my incredibly linear brain, which may be great for processing linearly organised articles and books, but is terrible for creating new patterns and cross-connections, which gets really messy (see images below). It actually physically hurts going through this!
So, I've been avidly reading (at times fascinating, at times like being lost in a fog and not knowing which way to go) around the themes of building school/ teacher capacity; effective professional development; forms of professional learning; impacts on student learning in terms of effect-sizes; teacher effectiveness; social capital and collaboration; conceptual understandings and mindframes and the role of leadership styles and practices in all of the above.
My head is buzzing with ideas and I have a list of at least one hundred more papers and books I want to read. But time is ticking on and I must start to refine my research ideas. In my previous post, I came up with an overarching question that was driving me and that has driven my reading (How can school communities (teachers and leaders) build a shared commitment to and capacity for improved student learning through school-wide professional development). While reading, I've of course wandered in several different directions (and often round in circles) wondering how exactly to focus and structure the research. But this is what I've come up with today:
Building teacher capacity through professional development: a case study.
I intend to look at professional development in relation to the following themes:
I am keen to gain a picture of how teachers perceive the programme and its impact on them as professionals (which I will do through questionnaires and interviews) as well as to see how it is actually affecting their practice (which I will do through observations - of classrooms, professional learning groups, and staff development activities).
While I will begin by looking at these questions in relation to the professional learning at the school as a whole, I will then focus specifically on one initiative in order to triangulate the data in an attempt to improve validity.
My Literature review will be organised around the following themes:
1. Teacher capacity
I'm excited! Which will last until I next get myself into a muddle - I'm not good at keeping things simple!
I'm an educator driven by the desire to see people realise their potential by gaining the tools they need to be successful. I love being part of a community of learners for whom there is always more to be known and understood. For me, learning and teaching is cognitive, social and emotional and takes the whole self.