Engaging in sustainable collaborative professional learning : the case of a West Auckland school cluster initiative
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2213
This research set out to examine experiences of teachers and leaders in a West Auckland collaborative school-wide cluster initiative in order to identify what motivated their engagement, and to explore issues of sustaining improvement. A qualitative methodology was utilised for the study. Ten different West Auckland schools from the Waitakere Area Principals’ Association 2020 Learning Plan took part in the research. Data were gathered from 66 teachers who responded via an online questionnaire, and from four principals in a focus group interview. The research findings confirmed three challenges that teachers and leaders face : motivating engagement, managing change and sustaining improvement. Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, leadership actions and collaboration were identified as having influence on these challenges. Two conclusions are drawn. Firstly, sustainability begins with effective initiation and on-going management of the change to secure long-term improvement. Secondly, key leadership actions: shared decision making, shared learning together, and shared leadership create collaborative conditions in schools that influence teacher attitudes and beliefs. One recommendation is for leaders to develop an understanding of factors that contribute to sustainable improvement, including the dilemma of moving forward versus consolidating change. Another is for leaders to create collaborative conditions through their actions so that teachers are motivated to engage and sustain improvement.