How educators collectively made sense of instructional leadership during situated professional development




Collyer, Vivian

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Public education is in the ongoing process of developing student-focused and personalized learning approaches. This transformation effort requires school staffs to shift cultures toward collaboration and continuous professional development in pursuit of meaningful and equitable learning success for all students. In order to address this need, close examination of social interactions during recurring professional discussions is required. The purpose of this sociocultural study was to investigate how a group of educators collectively made sense of pedagogical practices and beliefs over time, and to identify practices conducive to their professional learning in a situated series focused on instructional leadership within a British Columbia school district. Participants were 10 newly appointed vice-principals and vice-principal candidates, one assistant superintendent, and myself as the researcher and series facilitator. Data collection included audiotaping of five 3-hour sessions across a three-month period, participant reflections written during sessions and in blog posts between sessions, and associated artefact and macro-Discourse data. Transcriptions provided the primary data source for the critical discourse analysis (Gee, 2011a) and sociocultural discourse analysis (Mercer, 2008, 2010) methods. Findings indicated shifts in the nature of participation for the group of educators across sessions, including the development of sense of community, collective familiarization with and application of productive discursive interactions, and the co-construction of common pedagogical knowledge. The findings extend the literature on educational leadership and professional development, as I elaborate how these shifts emerged as a collective endeavour over time and discuss noteworthy supportive conditions.



professional development, educational leadership, instructional leadership, discourse analysis, sociocultural study, educational reform