She also suggests trying to complete this sentence The purpose of this study is.... and to ask yourself critical questions about your purpose that help you ascertain exactly what you mean. Check what certain words might mean in your context and how they could be interpreted. Do they need defining and clarifying?
One way to start is to ask yourself what you want to study and why. I went back to the beginning. So this is where I am coming from:
Research (and my practical experience) were telling me that effective learning requires effective teaching. A common view of leadership is to facilitate effective teaching - through school structures, school culture and staff development. While in my previous post, as Head of Teaching and Learning at an international primary school in Cambodia, part of my job was overseeing staff development. While I did my best to implement a professional development program that was informed by research on what made the best professional learning, my experience was that the theory was often hard to translate into practice. I wanted to know more about that.
- How does context affect the way in which professional learning happens?
- Why do some teachers appear indifferent to learning about and improving practice? (appear being the important word - I believe that most teachers care about helping students learn, but that there are barriers which prevent them from being able to connect students' learning with their learning and barriers that prevent them from being able to learn).
- What barriers were there to teachers being learners?
- How can you get teachers to engage more with schoolwide learning goals?
- How do you get teachers to buy into the vision of the school?
- How can you facilitate understanding of the big picture and long term goals and get teachers to connect their classroom practice with whole school goals?
- How can you develop skills of collaboration, reflection and openness with regards to improving practice?
- How can you move from congeniality in relationships to collegiality?
Talking to other professionals in other schools I realised I was not alone in experiencing some of these frustrations, especially with regard to connecting individual practice with long term schoolwide learning goals.
So this is what led to my interest in the connectivity and interaction between learning, teaching, professional development and leadership. The question is - where do I want to take it from here?
Next step - to complete that sentence. The purpose of this study is to....