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Title: Facilitating in-school collaborative learning for teachers' professional practice in an Irish primary school
Author: O'Sullivan-Dwyer, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 9828
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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The focus of this self-study action research is the facilitation of teachers' engagement in collaborative inquiry to improve practice. The purpose of the inquiry was two-fold: primarily to improve the quality of teaching and learning of writing, within the English curriculum, in a primary school in Ireland; secondly, it was to improve my understanding of the issues and practices involved in leading school-based professional learning. In year one of the research, I worked with the school's staff to develop structures and processes supporting participants' action learning about collaborative inquiry. Following a multi-level model of intervention, teacher learning teams became the foundation stone of the intervention. While pedagogical content knowledge was the focus of much of the inquiry at base team level, critical examination of cultural norms of practice through collective reflection typified the professional dialogue at whole school level. The moral dimension of teacher professionalism anchored the intervention and was mediated through an unwavering commitment to dialogic action and inquiry. Data gathering and analysis served to assess the impact of the strategies on improving professional as well as student learning. Findings highlighted the significance of teacher-to-teacher discourse in shaping teacher learning; and teachers' commitment to adopting an incremental approach to learning illustrated in a co-created model of staged development. In year two the teachers pushed out the boundaries of current norms, by observing peer practice. The findings from data gathering in phase two, informed by discourse analysis of videoed post-observation conferences, led to the creation of conceptual models of practice for peer professional dialogue. The findings emphasise the need to create system-wide structures in Ireland to support embedded professional learning and suggest that teacher collaboration, rooted in professional values and supported by purposeful capacity building has the potential to replace autonomy as valued practice in Irish schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available