School Leaders’ Perceptions of Participating in the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement

Authors

  • Tracy Durheim New South Wales Department of Education
  • Marilyn Joan Chaseling Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2507-1505
  • Wendy Boyd Southern Cross University, Australia
  • Alan Foster Southern Cross University, Australia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v67i3.69976

Abstract

This investigation concerns school leaders’ perceptions regarding the efficacy of a leadership development initiative implemented across schools in the North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. Based on an Alberta school improvement process, the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement sought to achieve leadership development and improved learning outcomes through use of the processes of collaborative inquiry and generative dialogue. Five schools were selected for an exploration of experiences within the Initiative. Accounts provided by the interviewees pointed strongly to the achievement of positive outcomes. The participants referred particularly to benefits in the form of increased leadership confidence and capability. Success factors underpinning the Initiative include: the twinning of collaborative inquiry as a process for improving professional practice with the process of generative dialogue to achieve more effective conversations, and; the nature of the Initiative, itself, where, facilitated by a visiting leadership team, professional colleagues meet monthly for deep discussion about professional issues they share.

Key words: school improvement, school leadership, collaborative inquiry, generative dialogue, education innovation, change in educational practice.

Cette enquête porte sur les perceptions des leaders scolaires concernant l'efficacité d'une initiative de développement du leadership mise en œuvre dans les écoles de la région de la côte nord de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, en Australie. Basée sur un processus d'amélioration des écoles de l'Alberta, la North Coast Initiative for School Improvement visait à développer le leadership et à améliorer les résultats d'apprentissage en utilisant les processus d'enquête collaborative et de dialogue génératif. Cinq écoles ont été sélectionnées pour une exploration des expériences au sein de l'initiative. Les comptes rendus fournis par les personnes interrogées ont mis en évidence l'obtention de résultats positifs. Les participants ont notamment fait référence à des avantages sous la forme d'une confiance et d'une capacité de leadership accrues. Les facteurs de réussite qui sous-tendent l'initiative sont les suivants : le jumelage de l'enquête collaborative en tant que processus d'amélioration de la pratique professionnelle avec le processus de dialogue génératif afin de parvenir à des conversations plus efficaces, et la nature de l'initiative elle-même, où, sous la direction d'une équipe de direction invitée, des collègues professionnels se rencontrent tous les mois pour discuter en profondeur de questions professionnelles communes.

Mots clés : amélioration des écoles, leadership scolaire, enquête collaborative, dialogue génératif, innovation éducative, changement des pratiques éducatives

Author Biographies

Tracy Durheim, New South Wales Department of Education

Tracy Durheim is an Instructional Leader with the New South Wales Department of Education. She has particular interest in, and commitment to, teacher development and sees collaboration and reflective practice as key to building professional learning communities and achieving excellence in teaching and learning. Her involvement with the North Coast Initiative for School improvement was as a Masters student attached to the project.

Marilyn Joan Chaseling, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

Marilyn Chaseling is Associate Professor in the School of Education at Southern Cross University. She is a founding member and the Academic Leader for the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement. She regularly spends time in schools and works closely with many of the participating schools in the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement.

Wendy Boyd, Southern Cross University, Australia

Wendy Boyd is a Senior Lecturer in education at Southern Cross University. She was a founding member of the North Coast Initiative for School improvement and works closely with several of the participating schools. Wendy’s research focuses on provision of quality educational programs to support students’ optimal learning and development. This has cut across educational effectiveness of leadership, parents’ views of education and sustainable practices.

Alan Foster, Southern Cross University, Australia

Alan Foster is retired from full-time work at Southern Cross University, Australia, but lectures and tutors in several courses on a casual basis. He was a founding member of the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement. Previously he was a teacher and primary school principal in New South Wales, and brings that professional experience to his regular meetings with leadership teams in schools within the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement.

Published

2021-09-10