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ABS023 - Intervention study to enhance school leaders' competence in engaging in learning conversations

2.6 Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
Paper in a Working Group Roundtable (WGRT)
3:50 PM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (1 hour)
Convention Center - 2000 A - Table B
The purpose of the study which this article is based on was to examine whether school leaders improved skills in learning conversation enhanced teachers' ability to inquire into their teaching practice. Vygotsky (1978) argues that the source of individual thinking begins on an interpsychological plane, in social interaction between people. Higher mental processes are constructed through joint activities. The intervention study started with the school leader. He was trained in skills about how to engage “open to learning conversations”. Data consist of transcripts of conversations between a teacher having a class struggling in math, and the leader during 2014- 2016. Learning is a social process where people interact and negotiate to create understanding or solve a problem and where all participants form the final product (Vygotsky, 1978). The school leader was a skilled math teacher, a "competent other", but the main focus of the research was on the school leaders' skills in participating in a learning conversation and scaffolding inquiry. The study proved successful in the case of teacher’s development in teaching, but the school leaders still lack the ability to be open minded, which results in confirmation biases that hinder genuine inquiry. Findings indicate that the conversation is affecting collegial collaboration in school. I argue that, as the teachers, school leaders’ daily experiences in their practice shape their understandings, and their understandings shape their experiences and that learning is influenced by and also influence the school culture and the community and society in which the school is situated.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
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