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Teacher Researchers: Creating the Outstanding School

Authors:
  • Australian College of Researchers
  • Australian College of Researchers

Abstract

To create the outstanding school you need to have outstanding teachers. Research tells us that to strengthen the teaching proficiency of staff, schools need to take a collective and collaborative approach to growing the professional capacity within their teaching force. This book is full of vignettes illustrating how professional learning can be integrated into the day-to-day work of schools and, in doing so, focus on continuous improvement, enhancing teaching quality and raising student achievement. In presenting best practice exemplars to illustrate how professional learning can positively impact teaching quality and school improvement, this book will inspire each classroom teacher and school leader. It will support them in creating and sustaining a strong performance culture. In an era of evidence based practice the spotlight is shining brightly on teacher performance. Consequently, professional learning opportunities where teachers engage in close collaboration with colleagues is essential for improving teacher’s knowledge about content, students, and pedagogy. Teachers become more skilful in planning for teaching and learning when they work with colleagues to put research into practice through supportive, sustained and continuous professional learning. When teachers lead from the middle to action school improvement strategies, the impact upon school life is significant. Teachers who analyse and reflect on how students learn best and make changes to improve their own teaching practice is a sign of instructional leadership. Teachers as Researchers: Creating Outstanding Schools is evidence of instructional leadership in action. Each chapter explores an action research project that engaged Expert Teams in meaningful professional learning in a personalized and context-specific approach
This book comprises vignettes illustrating how professional
learning can be integrated into the day-to-day work of schools and,
in doing so, focus on continuous improvement, enhancing teaching
quality and raising student achievement. In presenting best
practice exemplars to illustrate how professional learning can
positively impact teaching quality and school improvement, this
book will inspire each classroom teacher and school leader. It will
support them in creating and sustaining a strong performance
culture
Teacher Researchers:
Creating the
Outstanding School
Jake Madden
David Lynch
Tina Doe
(Book Editors)
Teacher Researchers: Creating the Outstanding School
Copyright © 2015 Jake Madden, David Lynch & Tina Doe
All rights reserved under conditions described in the Copyright Act 1968 of Australia. No part of this book may be reproduced,
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of this work is illegal and is punishable by law. Under the Copyright Act of 1968 It is a fair dealing to make a reproduction for the
purposes of research or study, of one or more articles on the same subject in a periodical publication, or, in the case of any other
work, of a reasonable portion of a work. In the case of a published work in hardcopy form that is not less than 10 pages and is not an
artistic work, 10% of the number of pages, or one chapter, is a reasonable portion.
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry
Title: Teacher researchers : creating the outstanding school
editors: Jake Madden, David E. Lynch, Tina Doe
ISBN: 9781329450011 (paperback)
Subjects: Education--Research.; Teaching--Methodology.; Effective
teaching.
Educational innovations; Teachers--Training of.
Other Creators/Contributors:
Robinson, Bruce, Quinn, Cathy ;Hammond, Dan, Davies, Elizabeth
;Metwalli, Hesham; Sell, Ken, Bhanot, Mamta ;Garrigan, Maree ;Hamdy,
Naira; O'Neill, Karen ;Khan, Rizwan; Bhargav ;George, Stephanie,
author.
Dewey Number: 370.7
First Published in 2015
by the Primrose Hall Publishing Group
London, United Kingdom.
www.primrosehall.com
Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge copyright. However should any infringement have
occurred, the publisher and the author tenders their apology and invite the copyright owner to contact them
so the infringement may be remedied.
CONTENTS
ABOUT THE EDITORS ........................................................................................................................................................ 7
DR JAKE MADDEN .................................................................................................................................................................... 7
PROFESSOR DAVID LYNCH .......................................................................................................................................................... 7
DR TINA DOE ........................................................................................................................................................................... 7
ABOUT THE AUTHORS ...................................................................................................................................................... 8
DR BRUCE ROBINSON ................................................................................................................................................................ 8
CATHY QUINN .......................................................................................................................................................................... 8
DAN HAMMOND ...................................................................................................................................................................... 8
ELISABETH DAVIES .................................................................................................................................................................... 8
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR HESHAM METWALLI ................................................................................................................................. 8
KEN SELL ................................................................................................................................................................................. 9
MAMTA BHANOT ..................................................................................................................................................................... 9
MAREE GARRIGAN .................................................................................................................................................................... 9
NAIRA HAMDY ......................................................................................................................................................................... 9
KAREN O’NEILL ...................................................................................................................................................................... 10
RIZWAN KHAN ....................................................................................................................................................................... 10
ROMA BHARGAVA .................................................................................................................................................................. 10
STEPHANIE GEORGE ................................................................................................................................................................ 10
FOREWORD .................................................................................................................................................................... 12
CHAPTER 1: TEACHERS INVESTIGATING THEIR TEACHING ................................................................................................ 14
THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHERS ................................................................................................................................................ 14
TEACHING, RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ............................................................................................................ 14
THE TEACHER AS RESEARCHER AGENDA ...................................................................................................................................... 17
BOOK OUTLINE ...................................................................................................................................................................... 18
CHAPTER 2: THE ROLE OF EDUCATIONAL LEADERS IN CREATING THE OUTSTANDING SCHOOL:ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
1. DEVELOPING A COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL CULTURE ....................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
2. CREATING LEARNING COMMUNITIES .......................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
3. LEADING THE TRANSFORMATION ............................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUDING COMMENTS ............................................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 3: INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP: AN EFFECTIVE MEANS TO BUILDING PROFESSIONAL CAPITALERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT IS INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP? .......................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
KNOWLEDGE AND THE INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER ................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SCHOOL CONTEXT ....................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
DMS FUTURE DIRECTIONS ........................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
FOCUSING ON MIDDLE MANAGERS ................................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
IMPLEMENTATION ....................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
DAR AL MAREFA CYCLE OF IMPROVEMENT FRAMEWORK .................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SUPPORTING THE CYCLE OF IMPROVEMENT ..................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE: PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM .................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 4: RAISING STUDENT ATTAINMENT THROUGH THE USE OF GRAPHIC ORGANIZERSERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
IMPLEMENTING THE HEADS VISION ............................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
BUILDING TEACHER UNDERSTANDING ............................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS DEFINED .................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SCHOOL IMPLEMENTATION ........................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INITIAL FINDINGS ........................................................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 5: IMPROVING WRITING: THE STEPPED MODEL TO TEACH WRITING .............. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION: ......................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT WE KNOW: ...................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
OUTLINE OF THE ACTION: ............................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE IMPLEMENTATION: ............................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE STEPPED MODEL TO IMPROVE WRITING ................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
EXPLORING WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED: ......................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
FURTHER REFLECTION: ................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION:............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 6: THE PREMISE OF TEACHING USING STUDENT’S REFLECTIVE PRACTICES? .... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT THE TOPIC? ............................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
REFLECTIVE PRACTICES ................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SO WHAT DOES THIS COME TO MEAN FOR TEACHERS? .................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 7: WHOLE SCHOOL BENCHMARKING OF WRITING IN A PRIMARY SCHOOL: OUTCOMES FOR
TEACHERS ............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT WE KNOW ....................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
OUTLINING RESEARCH ................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
EXPLORING WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED .......................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 8: A PHILOSOPHY OF INCLUSION AT DAR AL MAREFA PRIVATE SCHOOL ......... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SO, WHAT IS INCLUSION? ............................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE DAR AL MAREFA IDENTIFICATION PROCESS .............................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
HOW IS SEN OPERATING AT DAR AL MAREFA? ............................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION .............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 9: THE PARENT FACTOR: THE SECRET LINK FOR THE OUTSTANDING SCHOOL .. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
PARENTS MATTER IN GROWING OUTSTANDING SCHOOLS ................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
EFFECTIVE PARENTAL ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES.............................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
AUTHENTIC PARTNERSHIPS ........................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CAPACITY BUILDING .................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 10: ARABIC FOR PROSPERITY: AN INNOVATIVE CURRICULUM FOR ARABIC IN INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOLS ............................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT IS ARABIC FOR PROSPERITY? ............................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
REDEFINING THE FUNCTIONS OF THE LANGUAGE: ............................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE PROSPERITY CURRICULUM AND THE LEARNERS NEEDS: ............................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR ARABIC FOR PROSPERITY CURRICULUM: ....................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
NEXT STEPS: .............................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 11: DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP: SHAPING CULTURE, TEACHER PRACTICE AND PARTNERSHIPSERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SCHOOL CONTEXT ....................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
FOCUSING ON PRESCHOOL ........................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SUCCESSFUL PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP QUALITIES................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 12: EXPLORING MATHEMATICS IN THE CLASSROOM ...................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION: ......................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHAT WE KNOW: ....................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
SIGNS OF MATH DIFFICULTIES. ...................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
RESEARCH OUTLINE: ................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
WHATS NEXT FOR THE MATHS DEPARTMENT? ................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CHAPTER 13: WHAT A DIFFERENCE MONEY MAKES: L. .................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
PILLARS OF EFFECTIVE SCHOOL TRANSFORMATION ........................................................................... ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
RESEARCH COMPONENTS ............................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
THE NEW SALARY SCALE .............................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
FINDINGS .................................................................................................................................. ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................ ERROR! BOOKMARK NOT DEFINED.3
About the Editors
Dr Jake Madden
Jake Madden has served as principal of five schools and is currently the principal of Dar Al
Marefa Private School, Dubai, UAE. He is passionate about leadership and the positive
difference that it can make to teacher and student learning outcomes. Over many years, Jake has
led and facilitated the professional learning of principals and staff at school and national and
international level in the area of leadership, school improvement and curriculum development.
His educational interests lie in building teacher capacity. He is widely published in this area of
teachers as researchers, authoring two books and a number of journal articles showcasing his
experiences and research into leading educational change. He is currently an Adjunct with
Southern Cross University and is on the editorial board for the International Journal of
Innovation, Creativity and Change.
Professor David Lynch
David Lynch is Professor of Education in the School of Education at Southern Cross
University. He is the author of numerous articles and texts on teacher education and related
matters and one of Australia’s foremost teacher education innovators. His research and
development interests form the basis of a radical rethink on teaching and teacher education and
these are reflected in his seminal works. He has had a distinguished academic career at several
universities in Australia, having held a number of senior academic leadership positions, and
consults in education jurisdictions across the globe.
Dr Tina Doe
Tina Doe is an Education Consultant who leads the design of ‘purpose- fit’ Teacher Professional
Learning Initiatives (TPLI) that focus community networks to pedagogical practice. Her
Instructional Leadership Model (the TPLI) underpins her signature Professional Learning Clinic:
High Impact Instructional Leadership (HIIL). One of the HILL networks of schools Tina facilitates,
won the inaugural 2015 Jack Pizzey Leadership Team Prize for QLD State Education. The
expertise she brings to the demonstration of high yield practices through common pedagogical
language is significant in its enhancement/generation of professional learning communities
through feedback, coaching and reflection. Tina has been a senior executive in both schools and
universities and while maintaining her leadership profile as an Australian Education consultant
added to her portfolio in 2015: Editorship of the International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and
Change and Managing Editor, Australian Division, Primrose Hall Publishing Group.
About the Authors
(In Alphabetical Order by first name)
Dr Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson is currently the Principal of Jumeira Baccalaureate School, Dubai, UAE. An
Australian national, Dr Robinson holds a doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in
Educational Leadership and a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the
University of New England. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational
Leaders. During the last 13 years, Bruce has led a number of prestigious international schools in
India, the United States and in Vietnam. Dr Robinson has extensive experience in teaching and
leadership at all levels including the development, implementation and monitoring of strategic
and operational plans.
Cathy Quinn
Cathy Quinn is currently the Principal Consultant at Accorn Management. She has been involved
in schools all her life as a teacher, principal, consultant and most importantly as a parent. She
discovered life from the other side of the principal’s desk when interacting in her own children’s
education realizing that parents only want the best for their child and are pivotal in the
educational process.
She has conducted wide research and study in the topic “Parental Engagement in Schools” and
as a result has developed specialized strategies based on the latest world research. Cathy has
refined these strategies into a simple “how to” format specifically focused on providing parents,
teachers and principals a clear path resulting in a unified learning environment. She is passionate
about parental engagement and her strategies debunk a lot of old theories on how to engage
parents in the learning process.
Dan Hammond
Daniel Hammond is a teacher at St Augustine's Primary School in Coffs Harbour, Australia. He
has over fifteen years teaching in a variety of Primary school settings in Coffs Harbour, Sydney
and London. He is a member of the schools leadership team and a master of education by
research student at Southern Cross University. Daniel recently presented at the ThIS education
symposium in Norway.
Elisabeth Davies
Elisabeth Davies is currently working as the Head of Science at Dar Al Marefa Private School in
Dubai, UAE. In this role Elisabeth is teaching and guiding staff to implement the International
Baccalaureate program for the middle school and diploma section. Prior to this appointment
Elisabeth was Head of Science and a Head of Year in inner city schools in the UK, under the
British curriculum. She has 12 years teaching experience. Elisabeth has a Post Graduate
Certificate in Education (PGCE) from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Bachelor of
Science Honors degree (BSc) in Biochemistry from Manchester University.
Associate Professor Hesham Metwalli
Hesham Metwalli is the CEO of Prosperity International and Senior Fellow of the Australian
Graduate School of Leadership. Recently he was involved in managing a national project for the
Ministry of Education in the UAE to train and prepare 700 education reform leaders in
collaboration with Pearson Education, the UK National College for Leadership and Nottingham
University. He was a founding member of the Dubai School Inspections Bureau where he
worked as Senior Inspector and led the community partnership projects. He then moved to Abu
Dhabi to become the Director of Inspections and Education Quality with Tribal Group. He has
inspected, led and managed the inspections of more than 250 schools across the UAE. He
developed the inspection framework for Abu Dhabi government schools.
Hesham has studied a DBA in Business Administration (Global Business and Leadership). His
research focused on measuring organisational performance through prosperity outcomes. He
also holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Sydney. Hesham has
presented at several conferences in Japan, Australia and the Middle East on education,
improving community outcomes through prosperity, human development and improving
government performance. He also held several education leadership roles in Australia. He is a
board member with a number of international schools in MENA and Australia. He has
developed a number of education programs including the Prosperity Curriculum, Visible Skills
for teacher development and iLead for international schools leaders.
Ken Sell
Ken Sell is currently Head of Aoba-Japan International School in Tokyo, Japan. He is an
experienced school leader having held positions in China, Norway and Australia over a thirty
year period. He has worked as a senior lecturer in education at Central Queensland University,
where he pioneered a new approach to post graduate education for teachers and school leaders
and is well published in the areas of teacher professional learning. His latest book with Professor
David Lynch is entitled Teachers as Researchers: Case studies in education.
Mamta Bhanot
Mamta Bhanot is currently the Head of Maths at Dar Al Marefa Private School, Dubai. She has
over experience 20 years. Having taught several curricula including ICSE (Indian Certificate of
Secondary Education, Delhi) to International Baccalaureate she is a firm believer in IB
philosophy and IB learner profile. Mamta has not only attended but also conducted “In-house
workshops on inquiry based learning, use of various graphic organizers, conceptual learning and
differentiation. As a hobby, Mamta plays chess.
Maree Garrigan
Maree Garrigan has lived and worked in Northern Territory for over 30 years. She has been a
teacher, curriculum consultant in a Territory wide role, Principal, Director of Middle Years
Implementation and Director of School Performance with oversight of 34 schools in urban,
rural and remote settings. Her qualifications include a Masters in Education and a Masters in
International Management. Maree is currently Director of the Teacher Registration Board of the
NT. Her work in education has always had a focus on quality teachers and teaching, and
supporting the development of leaders within the education community. She has a strong
interest in initial teacher education programs as they seek to prepare teachers for 21st century
classrooms.
Naira Hamdy
Naira is currently the Head of Primary at Dar Al Marefa Private School Dubai. She is an IB
workshop leader, online facilitator, consultant, team leader and school visitor for the
International Baccalaureate Organisation. She graduated from the faculty of Economics and
Political Sciences in 1990 from Cairo University. She started her career in education as a
mathematics teacher in 1990 and obtained her first diploma in the didactic (pedogogy) of
mathematics in 1994 from Lille University in France.
She followed her diploma by completing her Masters in Education majoring in children
psychology. Naira was promoted as Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator and then
Head of Primary at Oasis International School for 2002. During 2002, Oasis was authorised for
PYP and MYP. Continuing in the dual role of Head of Primary and PYP coordinator Naira
successfully completed both the 1st evaluation visit in 2005 and the 2nd evaluation visit in 2010.
During this period, Naira was facilitating school workshops, regional workshops and visiting
schools in Africa, Europe & Middle East for the IB organisation. In September 2011, looking for
a new challenge in her professional life, she started to facilitate online workshops and moved to
the UAE where she worked in Ras Al Khaimah English Speaking School as PYP coordinator. In
2012, she was appointed to Dar Al Marefa Private School as Head of Primary.
Naira is the author of "Paki and Rami"; a series of educational books to learn French language.
Naira is married and is the mother of two daughters.
Karen O’Neill
Karen O’Neill is an educator with over 30 years experience as an early and middle phase teacher
and school leader in Australia and Japan. Currently, Karen is the Primary Principal of Aoba-
Japan International School and has played a significant role in the transformation process of the
school. Karen is passionate about working with teachers and school communities, to enable
them to support children to develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in a global community.
She is an instructional leader who has worked extensively to enhance the capability of teachers to
develop skills in curriculum, assessment and instruction.
Rizwan Khan
Rizwan Khan is currently the Head of English at Dar Al Marefa Private School, Dubai. A
position he has held since 2012. Rizwan has led a process of positive change with a fairly young
department to improve student outcomes. A key part of the next phase of improvement and
change involves raising standards in reading and writing skills, focusing on best practice, guided
and shaped by active educational research and inquiry. Rizwan’s focus on collaboration has
enabled him to develop expert roles within the department to build professional capital which
will help drive the department towards becoming an even better team who are passionate about
education, teaching and learning.
Roma Bhargava
Roma is currently the Middle Years Co-ordinator at Dar Al Marefa Private School, Dubai. She
has held positions as a secondary teacher, IB Coordinator, Acting Head and teacher trainer since
2005. She is an authorized IB Workshop Leader and has conducted workshops in different
countries and learning environments. In this journey of life, she wants to grow as an educator
imparting knowledge to pupils through new means and help students explore the new horizons
of knowledge. Roma views her role as that of a leader who inspires both her team, as well as the
students to compete (and) yet co-operate and to achieve their potential both individually and as a
team. She enjoys working as a key player in a challenging, dynamic and creative environment.
Stephanie George
Stephanie has held leadership positions in curriculum and administration and is currently Leader
of Administration at St Augustine’s Primary School, Coffs Harbour, Australia. A passion for
gifted and talented education also resulted in a leadership role as Gifted and Talented
Coordinator at St Mary’s Central School Wellington for several years prior to moving to Coffs
Harbour.
Stephanie has taught extensively in all stages of primary education. She has completed a Bachelor
of Education and is currently completing a Masters of Education by research. She has a
commitment to continuous professional education through short courses, seminars, conferences,
collaboration with colleagues and professional reading. Her greatest passion in her professional
life is continually developing evidence-informed practice to best meet the educational, social,
emotional and spiritual needs of each student in her care.
Foreword
Dr. Abdurahem Mohammed Al Ameen, President, Al Ghurair University
There is no greater time to be in education than today. A global economy built on knowledge
and which is being fuelled by innovation and creativity, is redefining work and home life at an
unprecedented rate. In fact change seems to be the only constant today. This circumstance
stands as both, an opportunity and a challenge for all, no more so than for those who are
engaged in education.
As Aristotle and Plato pointed out, “education is central to the fulfilment of individuals and the
wellbeing of the society in which they live”
1
. Current research indicates that people who have
undergone a quality education are less likely to be imprisoned, more likely to live longer and
more likely to indicate that they are happy and fulfilled citizens. While everyone in modern
society has a role to play in enabling people to gain this quality education, the real task of
delivering this quality education falls to those who teach. Today’s teacher is witnessing a
significant change in their work place and increasingly their role is becoming a complex affair.
This is basically due to fast and continuous changes occurring in society as a result of
technological innovation and connectivity. Society changes and so the pressure on schools to
further change and accommodate ‘the new’, creates yet more complexity. This circumstance is
further heightened due to the diversity of needs and expectations of students and their families:
each of which requires careful planning and expert teaching for effect. The knowledge base that
informs the school curriculum is also constantly changing as is the knowledge base around what
is best practice teaching. For the Schools and the individual teachers that rise to meet such
challenges, the potential is for work and life in a better society and a country that is recognised as
being a desirable place to live.
The role of the teacher is also changing as a major paradigm shift in learning moves from
Teacher-Centred to Learner-Centred approaches. The availability of Massive Open Online
Courses {MOOCs} to K-12 is also posing yet another challenge to teachers. All these factors
tend to suggest that the teacher has to shift from a traditional teaching methodology to one
based on coaching, enabling and guiding.
In the United Arab Emirates ‘education’ is a priority. An example of this comes from UAE
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who established the Abu Dhabi
Education Council in 2005 to develop education throughout the UAE. ADEC takes an
entrepreneurial approach to involve the private sector, improve and modernize facilities, reduce
bureaucracy, update curricula and take advantage of information technology. In Dubai, the
Dubai Education Council seeks to meet global standards, focusing on international accreditation
and comprehensive quality assurance programs. A recent initiative is designed to attract world-
class international primary and secondary schools to Dubai.
2
The theme of this book, formed out
of the inaugural Dubai International Education Conference held at the Al Ghurair University,
“Creating Outstanding Schools’ is thus timely and well informed on its agenda.
The United Arab Emirates is undergoing significant growth and development and of course, this
new frontier requires a highly skilled and competent workforce to be fully achieved. The UAE
1
http://www.oecd.org/education/skills-beyond-school/EDIF%202013--N%C2%B010%20(eng)--
v9%20FINAL%20bis.pdf
2
http://uaecd.org/k-12-education
like other progressive countries therefore requires people are able to solve problems, invent and
create new things and to constantly innovate. This type of work-life profile does not just come
naturally it requires work from our schools for success. But what does this specifically all mean
for our schools and teachers?
First, we must come to appreciate that the outstanding schools benefits all students. The
emphasis I place here is on all’ students. The outstanding school will have the latest buildings
and facilities and committed staff and enthusiastic parents, but all sections of the school and its
community will work relentlessly on ensuring no child gets left behind. It will ensure that
programs remain current and reflect the aspirations of the country, its people and its leaders.
However, I am reminded here that current education research indicates that “the quality of an
education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers”. In simple terms, without outstanding
teachers you will not have outstanding students
3
. So, the outstanding school values its teachers
and works to ensure they are the best they can be.
Second, a further review of the education literature reveals four key things that contribute to the
creation of the outstanding school: (1) A Focus on Teacher Professional Learning
4
, (2) Teachers
working together on improving their teaching
5
(3) A Focus on Instruction
6
and (4) Ongoing
Feedback to teachers on their Teaching Performance
7
. In all cases you come to appreciate how
important the teacher is. A point not lost on Professor John Hattie and his ground breaking
research into teaching effect sizes.
8
The implication of these four elements is that school leaders
must first know how well each teacher is performing and on the strength of such findings then
devise a robust and aligned strategy to positively impact the teaching performance of each
teacher.
A conference such as the Dubai International Education Conference and the papers, which are
developed from it and crafted for this book, provide a unique opportunity for teachers,
academics and educational leaders to focus on what works in teaching: an opportunity to share;
to compare and interrogate and so create yet more knowledge informing the outstanding school.
This outstanding school agenda is not easy, but I leave you with this quote from His Highness
Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, who says:
“We, in the UAE, have no such word as “impossible”; it does not exist in our lexicon.
Such a word is used by the lazy and the weak, who fear challenges and progress. When
one doubts his potential and capabilities as well as his confidence, he will lose the
compass that leads him to success and excellence, thus failing to achieve his goal. I
require you, youth, to insist on number one.”
9
I commend this book and the associated chapters to you.
3
Barber, M. and Mourshed, M. 2007, How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top, New York:
McKinsey and Company.
4
Cole, P. 2012, ‘Aligning professional learning, performance management and effective teaching’, Centre for
Strategic Education Seminar Series, Paper no. 217.
5
Hargreaves A. and Fullan, M. 2012, Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School, New York:
Teachers College Press.
6
Dufour, R. and Marzano, R. J. 2011, Leaders of Learning: How District, School and Classroom Leaders Improve Student
Achievement, Bloomington: Solution Tree.
7
Wiggins, G. (2012). Seven keys to effective feedback. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 1116.
8
See: Hattie, J. 2012, ‘Know Thy Impact’, in Educational Leadership, vol. 70, no. 1.; Hattie, J. 2003, ‘Teachers
make a difference: What is the research evidence?’ Paper presented to Australian Council for Educational Research
Annual Conference, Melbourne, 1921 October. And Hattie, J. 2009, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of over 800 Meta-
Analyses Relating to Achievement, Abingdon: Routledge.
9
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/photos/ten-best-quotes-hh-sheikh-mohammed-503777.html
Chapter 1: Teachers Investigating
Their Teaching
Jake Madden, David Lynch and Tina Doe
Abstract
This chapter focuses on the important role that teachers play in raising student
achievement. As chapters in this book will illustrate, improvements in teaching
performance can be sustainably supported by the implementation of a job
embedded approach to professional learning. The thesis of this chapter is that
the ‘Teacher as Researcher’ construct is a tangible way of engaging teachers in
professional learnings that have direct impact on their own learning need and that
of their students.
The Importance of Teachers
This book comes off a belief that we as education researchers, leaders and practitioners have,
that school improvement should be the goal of every school leader and every teacher. This goal
requires a relentless commitment to asking more how come and why’ type questions, to engage
with problem solving, innovation, critical reflection and continuous professional learning, at all
levels and across all sectors of the School (Doe, 2015, Madden, 2015; 2014, 2013; Lynch, 2012).
Achieving such a goal is a complex affair and thus relies on a number of conditions, no less so
than effective and focused school leadership (Doe, 2015; Madden et al., 2015; Hargreaves and
Fullan, 2012; Lynch, 2012). This is particularly so because those who have been involved in
change processes in schools come to appreciate that effective leadership is fundamental to an
orchestration and focusing of the many stakeholders and the various affiliate interest groups that
operate within and without the school (Madden, 2013).
This book does not seek to investigate school leadership as such but seeks to provide an account
of what can be achieved when leaders create school-based environments based on a ‘culture of
inquiry’. In more simple terms this book is an exemplar of what can be achieved when school
leaders, teachers and their school communities focus their endeavours upon investigating and
thus learning new things and therefore informing school-based change through a culture of
inquiry (Bell, et. al, 2012; Hargreaves, 1996). Let us locate this idea in the teaching milieu.
Teaching, Research and Professional Development
Current education research is crystalizing around understandings that ‘teacher quality’ is the
critical factor in the ‘improving student achievement’ agenda (Hattie, 2008; Dinham, Ingvarson
& Kleinhenz, 2008). Furthermore, this research indicates that within the school, the differences
in teacher effectiveness are the single largest factor affecting academic growth of students and
thus is a variance that needs to be extinguished for overall school effect (Darling-Hammond,
2000). In practical terms, John Hattie’s (2008) meta-analysis indicates that students who have a
confluence of effective teachers make significant achievement gains, while those who have
ineffective teachers two in consecutive years is all it takes--- lose significant achievement
ground.
While much has been written on teacher quality and what constitutes its effectiveness in recent
years, education systems have begun strategies to focus their school leaders to take active roles in
improving the teaching of each teacher (see for example Madden, 2013b).
This is a direct move from the predominately corporate managerial role that principals had been
forced into through site-based management reforms and the like during the 1990’s onwards
(Bloxham et. al., 2015; Yeatman, 1993). For a school leader wishing to improve the quality of
learning in their school, research indicates that collective early endeavours need to focus on
professional learning. Two key questions predominate in such a strategy:
1. What does the teacher know and what can they do?
2. How does the teacher teach?
Returning to research into teaching improvement, studies indicate that it is not the school
curriculum, the size of the school or classroom, or the demographics of students that determines
the quality of student learning. Educational achievement is dependent upon the success of the
teaching (Dinham, 2012; Hattie, 2008). With quality teaching being the most critical means by
which to improve student learning and to close achievement gaps, the challenge is how to
address the two key questions above to offer professional learning solutions? Our point is that it
is all about teacher learning.
As Fullan states:
“It turns out that blatant accountability focusing on tests, standards and the like is not
the best way to get results. Rather, successful systems combine strategies of capacity
building and transparency of results and practice. In these ways they get deeper de facto
accountability. The public is assured by the vertical accountability of transparency, and
the system generates greater lateral accountability because peers working with peers in a
focused deliberate way provide both support and pressure to improve in measurable
ways” (Fullan, 2011, p.8).
Fullan (2011) is firm in his belief that teachers must be learners themselves if they are to be
effective in teaching their others. He asserts that what happens ‘between’ the traditional
professional development workshop and the translation of those skills into practice is where the
real teacher learning takes place. By this he means a series of parallel discussions and
engagements that teachers have with their peers in such workshop contexts that gets them
thinking about their own practice. In effect what happens in such contexts is that teachers
become embedded in ‘relevant knowledge’ and thus begin to reflect and locate it within their
own circumstance as a teacher. Interaction with peers effectively creates the required trigger for
engaging with what has been taught (or is to be learnt). However, as research into teacher
professional development indicates, this ‘learning effect’ wanes if such ‘workshops’ and ‘learning
sessions’ don’t connect directly with (and then get consolidated into) the ‘work’ of the teacher
when back in their classroom (Cordingley, et. al., 2005, 2003; Doe, 2014, 2013). The challenge is
to create embedded learning, which is enmeshed in a culture of inquiry (Bell, et. al., 2012;
Desforges, 2003). The premise of ‘action research’ captures such a strategy (Doe, 2015, 2014,
2013).
The primary purpose of action research is to produce knowledge that is useful to people in the
everyday nature of their lives. Three particular characteristics of action research are that it:
1. arises from practical questions;
2. is participatory in nature; and
3. its validity is strengthened through peer examination and discussion. (Bartlett
& Burton, 2006, p.401)
It is thought that Kurt Lewin conceived the concept of action research as a cyclic phenomenon
(Dickens & Watkins, 1999) built on the traditional scientific paradigm with the results being
expressed in ‘if/so’ propositions.
Stringer (1996) offers an ecological lens to view action research. In short it refers to a three step
method as explained:
Look: Gather information related to what is most valued to the goals or the work of the
school.
Think: After identifying relevant assumptions and expectations, analyze/interpret this
information to evaluate possible antecedents, cultural and theoretical assumptions,
ideologies, influences, consequences and potential actions.
Act: This part of the cycle often involves posing new questions that lead to further
inquiry. (Stringer, 1999)
This is explored in greater depth by Freebody (2003) who views action research as a ‘deliberate’
rather than a purely exploratory entry into a naturally occurring educational setting. That is, it is a
planned and self-consciously focused examination of changing practice and has a number of
components. For Freebody, a key characteristic of action research is that it is a solution-oriented
investigation aimed explicitly at understanding and solving particular problems rather than
simply documenting their instances, character or consequences.
Freebody (2003) has presented a seven step action research process:
Selecting a focus
Collection of data
Analyse, document and review data
Develop analytical categories
Organise data and its interpretations
Take action and repeat cycle.
(Freebody, 2003)
This action research can be either be conducted by a group or personally owned by the
classroom teacher. However, the emphasis here is on the importance of the researcher’s role in
defining the problem, what counts as solutions, and what form the reporting of the project will
take. The central component of this action research is the ‘loop’ factor. This takes the form of a
series of iterations on and around the problem, its documentation and theorization, and the
analyses that are used to display how it has been redefined and solved. For some, these iterations
are referred to as spirals (Stringer, 1999) but are more commonly known as the Action Research
cycle. This cyclic feature of Action Research and its enabling through collaborations with other
teachers is taken to be central to its core emphasis on the documented improvement of practice.
As teachers share their practice and involve themselves in small-scale inquiry, they in effect
become the centre of knowledge production in the professional context of the classroom and the
larger school improvement agenda. It’s not just about following “others” learning from research,
but moreover, using their own site-based research to enhance their decision-making as it applies
directly to the context of the classroom. It is in effect the profile of what all professionals do as
they engage with the complexity and dynamics of their clients and their work profile more
generally (Madden et al., 2015; Desforges, 2003; Doe, 2014, 2013).
Consequently, there is much consensus in education between researchers and practitioners that
teacher leadership is a powerful vehicle for school improvement (Madden et al., 2015; Doe,
2014, 2013; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001). In acknowledging the crucial role teachers play, we
provide an opportunity to recognize and value the teacher research occurring in schools to bring
about improvement of not only student learning but also our understanding of educational
processes and practices. The question for this book is what does this type of teacher inquiry
yield?
The Teacher as Researcher Agenda
This book will be of great support to leaders and teachers around the globe as they enact a
culture of teacher inquiry. This book integrates various insights from experienced educators
where the professional dialogue mandates that teachers go beyond simply sharing practice but
rather investigate their practice (and even whole of school practice) in order to bring about
positive changes to bother their teaching and student learning. As you peruse each chapter,
(although not necessarily in the order presented) we hope that the reader will not only learn from
the experience of fellow practitioners but also find inspiration to be a “teacher as researcher” and
trial a small scale research project of your own.
As you will have now gleaned, the teacher-as-researcher construct comes to mean a vehicle for
enacting school and, to be more specific, ‘teaching’ improvement. Through its inquiry approach
into ‘what’s happening in each classroom’, the associated processes encourage teachers to
become investigators and to ask questions and thus seek answers. Furthermore, as researchers
teachers are encouraged to not just accept what occurs, but to strive to improve upon it; to set
benchmarks from which to engage in further action research. Whether it’s about revising
curriculum, improving the work environment, deprivatising teaching and learning or by a simply
yet focused asking of why students are not achieving as expected, such research is, in effect, concerned
with the everyday practical problems experienced by and thus important to, the individual
teacher.
As the push for evidence-based practice and increased teacher/school accountability intensifies,
the facilitating of the teacher as researcherbecomes an effective and sustainable way for school
leaders and their teachers to effect change in classroom practices, increase student achievement,
and collect appropriate measurement data to validate it.
Book Outline
The chapters within this book showcase a richness of education practice implemented through a
range of evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning and Instructional Leadership in
schools. Our central point is that improving student learning and moving from a good to
great to outstanding school position relies upon an orchestration of a number of key things,
and most importantly for this book, the effective use of student performance data to guide
whole of school decision making and the associated teaching strategies. How one goes about
deciding what program or what teaching strategy gets used has historically been at the whim---
by this we mean without an evidence base to support it--- of the individual class teachers or
based on education department bureaucrats who “toldthe teacher what and how they should
teach. Further, with commercial publishers filling voids in the teaching world by presenting all
manner of books with endless activities to keep students ‘occupied’ under the guise of the ‘latest’
education fad: most with questionable or nonexistent evidence, the selection of appropriate
programs has been questionable.
The chapters that we have included in this book showcase a growing phenomenon of research-
based teaching practice. In effect, the book acts an as exemplar of what can be achieved when
teachers research their own practice.
Chapter Two introduces the reader to leading the outstanding school with Dr Bruce Robinson’s
critique on the required leadership. Incorporating the need for leaders to be innovative and
creative and to develop an improved capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, Bruce explores
what one needs to be a leading learner. Based on his experience in schools within Australia and
in five international schools, his chapter argues the need for the Head of School (lead learner) to
engender a collaborative school culture and offers some tried and proven strategies to achieve
the goal.
As signaled in Chapter Two, the need for a new educational leadership paradigm has arisen.
Roma Bhargav, an experienced teacher leader explores in Chapter Three, an instructional
leadership model introduced to build teacher capacity. She outlines a process to strengthen and
build the capacity of subject heads and co-ordinators. Using an instructional leadership model
Roma identifies what will help improve teacher learning practices across a K-12 learning
environment.
From this leadership focus we centre on two key exemplars in Chapter Four and Chapter Five.
An illuminating chapter from Elisabeth Davies (Chapter Four) showcases how graphic
organizers can be used for closing the gap between students reading and writing skills, not only
in her science department but across all subject disciplines. This chapter demonstrates the impact
of collaborative decision-making practices needed to embed and sustain school improvement
strategies and how an action research approach can add value to the professional learning of all
staff.
Likewise, following the action research processes adopted at Dar Al Marefa Private School,
Chapter Five, written by the Head of English Rizwan Khan, outlines the process of developing
and introducing a school improvement strategy. Riz provides an outline of how using an action
research approach, coined the Stepped Writing Model, can lead to the development of a
specialized process to meet the targeted needs of the students.
Dan Hammond’s and David Lynch’s Chapter Six about exploring the premise of teacher’s use of
student reflective practices offers insight for educators wishing to be more student centred in
their teaching. In introducing the need for teachers to undertake reflective practices, Hammond
and Lynch offer guidance to improving teacher performance through aligning teaching practices
to individual student nuances as guided by the analysis of student reflections.
Chapter Seven describes the way that a Whole-School Benchmarking of Writing (WSBoW)
approach implemented at a school has impacted upon teachers and improved their practice.
Stephanie George’s study was focused on school plans to improve the teaching of its teachers in
the area of student writing and demonstrates how action research can produce significant gains
in both teacher and student learning.
Outstanding schools meet the needs of all students. As Chapter Eight unfolds, you will follow
the process of building an inclusive school as shared by Dar Al Marefa’s Head of Primary, Naira
Hamdy.
The role parents play in creating the outstanding school cannot be underestimated. Cathy Quinn
(Chapter Nine), in capturing the research from the literature, has provided a succinct framework
for school leaders to use to involve parents in the learning process. Her insight will help the
reader unpack the key ingredients to engaging parents and offer some parent engagement
strategies that will benefit all school leaders.
Hesham Metwalli, in Chapter Ten, sheds light on the current regional and global challenges
facing Arabic language education. He proposes a practical solution to the challenges facing the
Arabic language education by introducing an internationally benchmarked curriculum based on
globally recognised best practice in language acquisition and learning. Hesham provides insight
into international best practice in language learning and curriculum design that can guide leaders
in the bilingual international school setting.
Instructional leadership is the heart of success in Maree Garrigan’s work presented in Chapter
Eleven. Tracing the journey of a successful primary school principal in Australia’s Northern
Territory, Maree draws on what the literature purports as successful qualities of principal
leadership to explain the events of her case study. These leadership qualities include: external
awareness and engagement; bias towards innovation; personal qualities as well as their vision and
expectations and the climate of success that results from this; their emphasis on teacher learning;
their trust of staff and their focus on student support, common purpose and collaboration and
the fact they are all geared to the facilitation of student achievement.
In Chapter Twelve Mamta Bhanot, Head of Maths at Dar Al Marefa Private School,
demonstrates how her department implemented practical activities to engage and motivate
students. With the goal of using targeted strategies to get the students interested to learn
Mathematics, this chapter gives insight into producing meaningful and effective student centered
lessons.
The final chapter focuses on building a professional staff culture using the discussion of a new
salary scale framework for teachers. Aimed at focusing teachers attention on key professional
skills and qualities considered necessary to transform the school to achieve its goals and vision,
the authors, Ken Sell and Karen O’Neill explore how the process concentrated the minds and
conversations of teachers on what is expected of them in the school.
A final word
Not often do teacher practitioners stand tall to give voice to school improvement. Educators,
across all sectors, will find this book a gold mine of school-based strategies to develop the
outstanding school. This book is more than just a summary of good practice; it is a roadmap for
school leaders and educators who are looking for support to create their outstanding school.
It is within a need for a job embedded approach to professional learning that the genesis for the
2015 Dubai International Education Conference was formed and the creation of this book
heralded. Knowing that teachers learn best from engaging with other teachers working (learning)
in the same environment, the opportunity to allow teachers to share their practice and learn from
each other arose. Teachers teaching teachers underpins the professional dialogue needed to
propel schools into high performing learning institutions. The process of teacher improvement
and therefore, improvement in student learning, is not about implementing standardization and
accountability measures but rather enabling teacher collaboration and creativity.
References
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Quality Professional Learning: A report on the research evidence. London: Pearson School
Improvement [online]. Available at: http://www. pearsonschoolmodel.co.uk/wp-
content/uploads/2011/09/CUREE-Report.pdf.
Bloxham ,R., Ehrich ,L.C., Iyer ,R., (2015) "Leading or managing? Assistant Regional Directors,
School Performance, in Queensland", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 53 Iss: 3,
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... In this case, prior knowledge is translated into action in the process of addressing a particular aspect of practice. The knowledge is then embedded in their performances as they undertake and develop their practice and this takes place during or after an action (Madden, Lynch & Doe, 2015). ...
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This book is based on selected papers presented at the 2012 International Teacher Education Dialogue Conference, the theme of which was “Innovation and New Ideas in Teaching and Teacher Education”. How children learn in today’s context and how tertiary institutions prepare future teachers were subjected to an intense international conversation by the participants.