School Leadership and Pedagogical Reform: Building Student Capacity

School Leadership and Pedagogical Reform: Building Student Capacity

Shirley O'Neill (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6591-0.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter explores the journey of one Australian primary school that participated in an internationally renowned school revitalization project, where the nature and quality of leadership and results of change are able to achieve and sustain pedagogical reform and improve and enhance student achievement. It illuminates the nature of school change and examines its impact on pedagogy and learning. Through mapping a school's journey and a focus on research, changes in practices such as use of frameworks and protocols, teacher professional learning, and the compilation and use of assessment data are explored, as are the vital roles of both teachers and students in achieving change. The inclusion of students in the process, combined with leadership in school-wide pedagogy, is shown to have contributed to building students' capacity for learning besides that of teachers to implement a school-wide approach to pedagogy.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

Through a focus on research the chapter moves beyond the typical description of a social constructivist approach to learning to one that is in keeping with that of Mayer (2012) who exemplifies a more in depth portrayal of the democratic classroom. The notion of third space is utilized to help illuminate the resultant construction of ‘GAMMA pedagogy’. The objectives of the chapter are to describe the school’s change process, show how it impacts on leadership and pedagogical reform, investigate the nature of students’ learning and engagement, and synthesize emergent messages for reconceptualising pedagogy as a capacity building phenomenon. The chapter provides the essential background context of the research in terms of understanding the need for and kind of school reform in the context of Australia, and the nature of and role of the education system applicable to the school under study and the kind of leadership involved. It will conclude with a discussion of how the notion of GAMMA pedagogy is reflective of the kind of change in school practices that will more effectively equip students to embark on a lifelong learning journey. By elevating the discussion to hypothesise the notion of ‘a third space’ (Moje, Ciechanowski, Kramer, Ellis, Carrillo, & Collazo, 2004; Oldenburg, 1999; 2000) in which to reconceptualise pedagogy and learning for the 21st century, the nature of the change needed becomes clearer.

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