Learning rounds: a study of a migrated practice in Scottish schools

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An international focus on the link between teacher quality and student outcomes (Programme for International Student Assessment; McKinsey; Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study etc.) has directed a spotlight on methods and practice in teacher education and development. Teachers’ individual and collective capacities are seen as key to
promoting school improvement (Harris and Jones 2010). Teacher professional learning communities (PLCs)could be understood as a dimension of this which is seen universally positive development, and significant research evidence has been generated to support this view (Cordingley et al. 2005; Stoll et al. 2006, 2 007; Edwards 2012). Observational practices such as Learning Walks, Learning Triads or Power of 3 are increasingly advocated in education and other professions as a means of supporting home-grown professional learning
situated in the workplace. However, Watson (2012) and Fullan (2007) warn that the growing tendency to see the PLC as almost de rigeur is problematic in its own right. Servage (2009) goes further to add that they serve as neo-liberal sites of micro-management of teacher learning and performance, and Fendler (2006) warns against the dangerous assumptions of assimilation and heterogeneity within the notion of community in professional learning. The PLC debate is clearly polarised by conflicting arguments and further empirical knowledge is vital to inform practice in this area. There is a need for further knowledge to fill this gap by generating deeper understanding of the processes involved in professional learning communities, and their emergent effects.

Learning Rounds as an instance of PLCs is now being developed in Scotland and is gaining currency having enjoyed a healthy endorsement from educational policy making bodies in spite of a serious lack of empirical research into the process, either in its Scottish version or in the Harvard-based original one (Oates and Philpott, forthcoming).Using a case-study methodology and borrowing some key concepts from Archer’s social theory (analytical dualism) this study will examine the processes at work in Learning Rounds in action. The study will take place over a period of approximately six months across two sites. Questions will focus on what teachers do and what events occur as part of this process.Methods including interviews, observations and narrative enquiry will generate data for this study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2014 - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Nov 201421 Nov 2014


ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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