Formalise, Prioritise and Mobilise: How School Leaders Secure the Benefits of Professional Learning Networks
Professional learning networks (PLN) of teachers and others (such as university researchers) collaborating outside of their everyday community of practice are considered to be an effective way to foster school improvement. At the same time, to generate change, PLNs require effective support from school leaders. Such support should be directed at ensuring those participating in PLNs can engage in network learning activities; also that this activity can be meaningfully mobilised within participant's schools. What is less well understood however are the actions school leaders might engage in to provide this support.
To address this knowledge gap, this book presents a case study of how senior leaders attempted to maximise the effectiveness of participating in PLNs for one learning network: the New Forest Research Learning Network (RLN) - a specific type of PLN designed to facilitate research-informed change at scale. In-depth semi-structured interviews with RLN participants, as well as impact data and policy documents, have been used to ascertain the types of leadership practices employed and their nature (i.e. whether geared towards prioritising, formalising or mobilising the work of the PLN). Also presented is an assessment of the perceived effectiveness of these practices and suggestions for the type of leadership activity that appear to maximise the effectiveness of schools engaging in professional learning networks more generally.
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achieve Brown Chapter CHRIS BROWN collaborative community of practice Day and Sammons engaging in PLN ensure facilitate focus Forest RLN Greany Hubers & Poortman impact data included intentionally left blank interview data involved keeping participating staff knowledge brokerage Leader and Opinion learning conversations lesson study maximise the impact Netley Marsh non-RLN staff noted Opinion Former performance management targets PLN participants potential practice development PRIORITISE AND MOBILISE professional development Professional Learning Communities Professional Learning Networks providing relation Renfrew County Research Learning Networks research-informed practices RITP RLN activity RLN participants RLN process RLN workshop school governors School Improvement Plan school leaders school Q schools of engaging second set Senior Leader sessions set of interviews shared specific staff on track starting small Stoll student outcomes suggested teaching and learning theories of action Timperley understanding undertaken by school University of Portsmouth What’s whole school whole staff engagement