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EDUX 441 Presentation Megan Gallagher

Enhancing programme development initiatives through use of PLCs

Meg Gallagher

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of EDUX 441 Presentation Megan Gallagher

Reasons to investigate this question:
How can I enhance the adoption of programme development initiatives in Life Education Trust NZ through the use of Professional Learning Communities

Key questions:
1. How can we improve these
structures to support programme
development implementation?
2. Are PLC's worth
pursuing as a learning
Action Research Model:

I have selected this model as
it will allow me to investigate
one element in depth as I
develop a new professional
learning framework

Ethical Considerations:
Modification and Moving on:

Key questions:
1. How can this be more effective?
2. If the model works, how can we use it in other initiatives?
3. Can PLCs be used in any others ways?
4. If the model doesn't work, what other solutions can we generate to solve the variability in implementing programme development?
Impact on participants is complex due to the nature of the exercise. Participation in implementing changes to delivery are not optional. Withdrawal during the project could be a potential risk to the fidelity of the findings.
Permission from Life Education NZ required to conduct the research.
Clarity around purpose, benefit and risk and distribution of findings required to obtain this

Key questions:
1. What is and is not
working with our
current PLCs?
2. What are the
A definition of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

"social groupings of new and experienced educators who come together over time for the purpose of gaining new information, reconsidering previous knowledge and beliefs, and building on their own and others' ideas and experiences in order to work on a specific agenda intended to improve practice and enhance students' learning.” (Microsoft Partners in Learning, 2010, p. 2)
1. We are a nationwide organisation where our educators (trained, experienced classroom teachers) work in isolation for much of the year.
2. Implementation of programme development initiatives can be variable (40% of educators are not using a resource updated 9 months ago)
3. Life Education NZ is shifting it's practice with new tools, resources and technology- there is a lot of change currently and this will grow in the next two years
Effective mode of professional learning?:

PLCs need to be
on improving student outcomes.
Literature supports collaborative and collegial approaches to professional learning to enhance student learning outcomes BUT when the status quo is maintained and the only outcome is increased collegiality then the PLC has been ineffective.
(Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, & Fung, 2007)
To ensure effectiveness:

DuFour (2004) suggests the follows three principles underpin effective PLCs
1. ensuring the students learn through asking the hard questions of what do we want our students to learn, how will we know when they have learned it and what will we do if they don’t?
2. having a culture of collaboration is vital, it is about having rich conversations that challenge our practice and prompt change.
3. focus on results, and in education it is about student achievement. Using data to set goals and measure our effectiveness

The role of the educational leader is pivotal to the success of PLCs. They have the ability to set the tone, clarify the purpose and provide administrative support. Working alongside staff rather than from above empowers staff to be part of the decision making process. (Angelle & Teague, 2011)
Virtual PLCs- pros and cons:

technology barriers- limited access to tools or skills to engage online
disconnect through lack of non-verbal communication
potential interpersonal conflict may escalate unless carefully managed

anywhere, anytime learning
greater potential for critical reflection and immediate feedback
We already have network groups
and a variety of computer mediated
communication technologies
operating in Life Education NZ and
this research will enable us to
understand what works, what doesn't
and see if we can find a better way
through focussing on PLCs
Research Design Features:

Reciprocity- educators input will drive the
direction of the research, I will provide feedback.
Development of direction is through dialogue
Reflection- time will need to be allowed within
the process for educators to reflect on the
structures used and their contribution to
professional development and it's impact on
Reflexivity- assumptions are challenged,
critical reflection on how the research
process has changed our thinking
(Robertson, 2000).

Key questions:
1. Will the planned
intervention work?
2. What adaptations or
changes might occur
as we put this into

Key questions:
1. Was the intervention effective?
2. What were the outcomes?
Intended and unintended?
3. What lessons have we learned?
An informed consent process could help mitigate some of the
issues that arise through the nature of this research.
Educators are key participants in the research and their
empowerment is important to the process so the research
design needs to be transparent.
Collaboration is part of the project, it is inherent in PLCs as well as within the social constructionist theoretical perspective. Collaboration can be an asset in addressing some potential social injustice through power dynamics between participants.
This research will actively
engage educators in the reflection,
design and evaluation of interventions.

They are working in an environment
of rapid change and an opportunity
to be agents of change within the
action research process has the
potential to be empowering.
Theoretical Perspective:

Social constructionism focusses on meaning making as a social phenomenon rather than a purely individual pursuit. (Loftus & Higgs, 2010)
It is a post modern perspective that underpins communities of practice theory which is closely linked to PLCs.
Educators working together to develop new understandings through a social construct fits neatly within social constructionism.
Ethical Considerations:
What are the risks involved in undertaking this research from a management position?
How would this research look differently through another theoretical lens?
What role do learners play in this research? Should they have a voice? Are there any other voices that are not heard that should be?
How is the educator voice able to remain authentic when the research is conducted by someone in a leadership position?
What questions are remaining? What has not been considered that should have been?

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