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Developing a Profiling Tool Using a Values Approach to School Renewal


by Raymond Brown, Deborah Heck, Donna Pendergast, Harry Kanasa & Ann Morgan — 2018

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to outline the evidence-based development of a learning approach to school renewal that employs information from key members of a school community (teachers, parents, students) to promote school-based discussions about school renewal.

Setting: The study took place in an independent system of Catholic schools. Schools in this tradition have an enduring history in the development of Catholic education and have partner schools in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, India, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Research Design: The study employed a qualitative sociocultural design focused on generating narratives that could be used to describe the school as a community of practice and the development of a valid and reliable School Renewal Profiling Tool (SRPT) that provides an empirical picture of a school’s culture and practice.

Data Collection and Analysis: Data collection included school visitations, classroom observations, in-depth interviews, and publicly available school documentation and data gathered from a case study site, a coeducational secondary college located in the center of a metropolitan city. Data collected were subjected to thematic analysis and principal components analysis (PCA). Data gathered from the SRPT items were then presented to the school community in the form of a collated report for feedback and school renewal purposes.

Findings: Findings suggest that the SRPT has the potential to capture local ways of knowing and doing as resources to promote organizational school renewal through reflecting individual perceptions of participation in collective practice.

Conclusions: The research surrounding the development of the SRPT contributes to the field of school renewal in two distinct ways. First, the development of the SRPT offers an approach to school renewal that focuses on the values upon which a school community is based. Second, the SRPT avoids the difficulty of what Fielding (2004) refers to as “speaking about and for others,” where the original thoughts of respondents are couched in the language and values of the researcher.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 1, 2018, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21977, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 5:14:01 AM

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About the Author
  • Raymond Brown
    Griffith University
    E-mail Author
    RAYMOND BROWN is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Australia. Over the last 16 years, his research has been concerned with providing insights into: (1) how communal practices emerge and are sustained within learning communities (see for example, Brown, R.A.J., & Renshaw, P.D. (2000). Collective argumentation: A sociocultural approach to reframing classroom teaching and learning. In H. Cowie and G. van der Aalsvoort (Eds.), Social interaction in learning and instruction: The meaning of discourse for the construction of knowledge (pp. 52–66). Amsterdam: Pergamon Press), (2) how teachers and students construct and display certain identity positions within learning environments, (see for example, Brown, R., (2009). Teaching for social justice: exploring the development of student agency through participation in the literacy practices of a mathematics classroom. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 12(3), 171–185), and (3) how social processes interact with value principles at the individual and collective levels to motivate and guide people to ‘speak’ and ‘act’ as members of learning communities.
  • Deborah Heck
    University of the Sunshine Coast
    E-mail Author
    DEBORAH HECK is Associate Professor and the Portfolio Leader of the Postgraduate and Research Higher Degree programs in the School of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). She researches in the field of participation and change in the context of education. Current research projects include an exploration of the value of communities of practice in teacher education professional experience contexts as examples of situated practice developed through school-university partnerships. This project explores learning as mediated social practice. A further example is the exploration of Papuan Teacher Educators practice, policy and change. This study explores the identity of teacher educator and the role and power of curriculum knowledge in specific contexts with a group of teacher educators from Papua, Indonesia. Recent publications are further examples of the explorations of education as change in the context of higher education and initial teacher education specifically.
  • Donna Pendergast
    Griffith University
    DONNA PENDERGAST is Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. She has an international profile in the field of middle years education. Her work focuses on school leadership for reform, along with developing capabilities to enhance teacher efficacy. Her journey in middle years education has included: leading and developing the first dedicated teacher education program in Australia; influencing state and national policy directions; conducting state and national evaluations; developing a tailored reform model; leadership of competitive research tenders commissioned by state and federal authorities valued at more than $3.7 million; more than 100 publications in the field.
  • Harry Kanasa
    Griffith University
    E-mail Author
    HARRY KANASA is a lecturer in science education at Griffith University, Gold Coast campus. His research interests are inquiry in STEM and effective pedagogy in the STEM fields. A recent publication is Kanasa, H. (2016). Establishing and maintaining rapport in an online, higher education setting. In L. Rowan, & P. Grootenboer (Eds), Student Engagement and Educational Rapport, pp (72-92). Melbourne, VIC: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Ann Morgan
    Marlene Moore Flexi Schools Network
    E-mail Author
    ANN MORGAN is Coordinator of Staff Formation and Professional Learning at the Marlene Moore Flexi Schools Network. Ann explored educator identity and development in alternative education contexts in her doctoral thesis, using a sociocultural qualitative research paradigm. She has had extensive work experience in the fields of mainstream and alternative education. Dr. Morgan works with education practitioners in flexi schools to support them in professional learning with a particular emphasis on educator identity, relational dynamics and critical reflective practice.
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