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Leading change from within: action research to strengthen curriculum leadership in a primary school

by Carol Cardno
School Leadership & Management ()

Abstract

Practitioner research lends itself to situations in which a school wishes to examine and improve practice. This is an account of one middle-sized primary school's attempt to understand the nature of and need for a variety of forms of curriculum leadership by engaging in a facilitated action research project. Both theory and current school practice in New Zealand related to school structure and distribution of curriculum leadership were investigated. The senior management team, acting as an action research group, set out to analyse an ill-defined problem and then designed and implemented change strategies that incrementally involved all staff. The outcomes of the project for the school were context specific and immediate and are made public with the intention of offering insights into the research process and results to a wider audience who can consider the transferability of ideas in this account to their own settings. Leading change from within by embarking on action research is a challenge and a commitment for practitioners. Whilst the demands of this project are acknowledged by the practitioners themselves, they also confirm the benefits of a systematic, considered process and the opportunities for team learning implicit in this critical, constructive and collaborative approach to improving management practice.\nPractitioner research lends itself to situations in which a school wishes to examine and improve practice. This is an account of one middle-sized primary school's attempt to understand the nature of and need for a variety of forms of curriculum leadership by engaging in a facilitated action research project. Both theory and current school practice in New Zealand related to school structure and distribution of curriculum leadership were investigated. The senior management team, acting as an action research group, set out to analyse an ill-defined problem and then designed and implemented change strategies that incrementally involved all staff. The outcomes of the project for the school were context specific and immediate and are made public with the intention of offering insights into the research process and results to a wider audience who can consider the transferability of ideas in this account to their own settings. Leading change from within by embarking on action research is a challenge and a commitment for practitioners. Whilst the demands of this project are acknowledged by the practitioners themselves, they also confirm the benefits of a systematic, considered process and the opportunities for team learning implicit in this critical, constructive and collaborative approach to improving management practice.

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