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1 INQUIRING INTO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A NEWLY DESIGNED 21 ST CENTURY SCHOOL By RACHEL WOLKENHAUER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Rachel Wolkenhauer
3 To my family
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to begin by thanking my mentor, friend, and the chair of my dissertation committee, Nancy Dana. Nancy began mentoring me long before we practitioner inquiry and w as inspired and motivated through her words to think creatively, critically, and joyfully about education so that my students could fall in love with learning. She taught me to be the kind of teacher my students deserved. When the opportunity arose to be deep connection through our love for inquiry, teachers, and learning. I am eternally grateful to Nancy for ushering me into a profession I love through exhilarating, challenging experiences, ho urs of intellectually stimulating conversations, her constant compassionate, wise, listening ear, and her friendship that is one I know I will always cherish. I would next like to express my appreciation for my doctoral committee. Kara Dawson, Mirka Koro Ljungberg, and Dorene Ross have been vital role models throughout my doctoral studies. Kara Dawson has always encouraged me to be innovative and daring with my work. She has taught me the immeasurable value of collaboration, trust, and hope and has give n me permission to be a teacher and scholar who is unafraid to think outside the box for teachers and students. Mirka Koro Ljungberg has encouraged my research to reflect my ambitions, beliefs, and passions. She taught me to make research a part of my pr actice as a teacher educator and to learn to confidently and intelligently stand behind my decisions to use research as a tool for teacher empowerment and school improvement. Dorene Ross has always encouraged my ambition by teaching me the importance of p erseverance. She has
5 taught me the significance of hard work, courage, dedication, and attention to detail; and by working side by side together for several years, she has also taught me the import ance laughter and joy in work. I am forever grateful to t he members of my doctoral committee, Nancy, Kara, Mirka and Dorene They are, without a doubt, the reason I am a passionate and dedicated teacher educator and scholar. The two participants in this study have inspired my practice as a teacher educator mor e than I will ever be able to express. They invited me into their lives as educators and have forever instilled in me the values of school family, advocacy, and reflectively. I would like to thank them for the many hours we spent together this year and f or so motivating my work in teacher education. I look forward to remaining colleagues and friends for many years to come. As I have pursued graduate education, the Lastinger Center for Learning has been a vital support system. I would like to thank Don P emberton, Alyson Adams, Sylvia Boynton Jamey Burns, Boaz Dvir, and all of my Lastinger Center colleagues, for being outstanding cheerleaders and supporters of my education and work as a teacher and scholar. I would like to thank them, too, for reminding me of the importance of school reform efforts through their tireless innovation efforts into making life and learning conditions better for educators and children in high needs schools There are many teachers who daily inspire my work. I would like to th ank all of the teachers I have had the honor to work with and learn from. I would especially like to thank Kathy Brickley, Mary Jean Brooker, Nadine Ferranti, and Suzanne Mechler for touching the lives of so many children and ushering them into a lifelong love for learning. Janet Acerra has been my mentor, role model, and dear friend for as long as I
6 have known I wanted to be a teacher. She taught me, and continues to teach me, the true meaning of being a teacher. She is my teaching superhero. Perhaps the teacher who I am most proud to know is my younger brother, Nathan Wolkenhauer. I would like to thank Nathan for reminding me, in our almost daily conversations, how much fun teaching is because it is such a uniquely creative and intellectual endeavor. I have said from the moment I decided to pursue a Ph.D. that I would be doing this for my students. At the time of making the decision, I knew I would be dedicating every moment of work to my third and fourth graders. Their work, drawings, and photogra phs are continuous mementos of motivation. As I have been in the Ph.D. with teaching. I would like to thank each of my students, whether you are eight or twenty two, fo r being my beacons of hope and lights of inspiration. I would also like to thank the many friends who have patiently supported and loved me through th is journey of doctoral studies: Carol and Mel Bernstein, Shaunt and Randell Duggins, Megan Gascon, Angela Hooser, Elena Kapetaneas, Desi Krell, Jessica Leeman, Jeanne and Jerry Plaskett, Andrea Thoermer, and Becky W olkenhauer for celebrating every step of the dissertation process with me, and for always providing me with perspective, balance, and breaks. Finally, my family has been extraordinary throughout this dissertation process. A paragraph will never do justice to the support, comfort, and love they have tirelessly given to me. As I have embarked on this dissertation journey, my parents, Ala n and Phyllis Wolkenhauer have read my work, patiently listened to me talk out theories that perplexed me, and have heard endless stories about my dissertation experiences.
7 There have even been times when they have tried out inquiry, the focus of my diss ertation, in their own practices, to ensure they truly understood my work in order to have done this without them by my side. My brother, Nathan, who I thanked ear lier in these acknowledgements as a teacher who inspires me, has also been my constant companion in the times of stress, delight, uncertainty, and epiphany that this dissertation experience has brought. My nephews Carter and Eli, and my niece Leah remind me that the world is filled with wonder worthy of being carefully and enthusiastically explored. At ages 5, 1, and 3, they are perhaps my closest research companions as they investigate the world around them each day with curiosity, passion, and deep ins ight. Their father, my big brother Adam, and their mother, my sister in law Kathryn, are incredible role models of the immense significance of family connection. I would like to thank them for filling each day with mementos and reminders that above all e lse, taking joy in one another and encouraging most. It is to my precious family that I dedicate this dissertation.
8 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ 14 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 14 Problem Statement ................................ ................................ ................................ 14 Research Purpose ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 19 Statement of Pur pose and Research Question ................................ ....................... 21 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 22 Study Significance ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 22 Overview of Dissertation ................................ ................................ ......................... 23 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ............ 26 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 26 Practitioner Inquiry ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 26 The Origins and Development of Practitioner Inquiry ................................ .............. 28 The Foundation of Practitioner Inquiry ................................ ................................ .... 31 Values of Practitioner Inquiry ................................ ................................ ............ 33 Powerful Tool for Professional Development ................................ .................... 34 Mechanism for Expanding the Knowledge Base of Teaching ........................... 35 Vehicle for Raising the Voices of Teachers i n Educational Reform .................. 35 Inquiry Stance ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 36 Research on Practitioner Inquiry ................................ ................................ ............. 37 Types of Inquiry ................................ ................................ ................................ 39 Key Features ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 40 Benefits ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 44 Tensions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 50 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 53 3 THEORETICAL ORIENTATION ................................ ................................ ............. 55 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 Hermeneutics ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 55 The Origins and Deve lopment of Hermeneutics ................................ ............... 56 Principles of Hermeneutics ................................ ................................ ............... 57 The Hermeneutical Circle ................................ ................................ ................. 60 Aligning the Hermeneutical Circle and the Inquiry Cycle ................................ ........ 63
9 4 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 67 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 67 Practitioner Inquiry and Hermeneutics ................................ ................................ .... 68 Research Participants ................................ ................................ ............................. 73 Researcher Roles: Inquirer and Hermeneutic Researcher ................................ ..... 74 Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 76 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 78 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 80 Establishing Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ .................. 84 Conc lusions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 86 5 CREATING THE SPACE FOR 21 ST CENTURY LEARNING (PRE UNDERSTANDING) ................................ ................................ ............................... 92 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 92 A Newly Designed 21 s t Century Community Learning Center ................................ 92 The Vision for Teaching and Learning in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 96 Preparing for Teaching and Learning in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 99 Assessment for Learning ................................ ................................ ................ 104 Responsi ve Classroom Approach ................................ ................................ .. 105 Making Professional Development Plans for the 21 st Century Community Learning Center ................................ ................................ ................................ 106 6 INQUIRING INTO THE WORK OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A 21 ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER (UNDERSTANDING) ........ 117 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 117 The Inquiry Story ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 118 Inquiry Background ................................ ................................ ........................ 118 Establishing Our Inquiry Relationship ................................ ............................. 12 0 Finding a Wondering and Developing an Inquiry Plan ................................ .... 123 The Start of Our Inquiry into The Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center: Survival ................................ .... 128 The Continuation of Our Inquiry into The Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center: New Configurations and Focus for Professi onal Development Time ................................ .................. 136 Bringing Closure to Our Inquiry into The Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Lear ning Center: Sharing Our Story .............. 142 The Inquiry Story: An Analysis ................................ ................................ ............. 143 Intentionality ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 144 Flexibility in Professional Development ................................ .......................... 145 Communicating Professional Development Needs with Inquiry Data ............. 145 Using Inquiry as Professional Development ................................ ................... 146 Conclusions ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 147
10 7 IMPLICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER (NEW UNDERSTANDING) ......................... 151 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 151 Dissertation Summary ................................ ................................ ........................... 151 New Understandings ................................ ................................ ............................. 156 Practitioner Inquiry for Professional Developers ................................ ............. 156 Professional Development During Times of High Stress ................................ 158 Professional Development and the Importance of Time ................................ 160 The Value of Implicit Inquiry ................................ ................................ ........... 162 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 173 APPENDIX A INQUIRY WRITE UP ................................ ................................ ............................ 179 B INQUIRY PRESENTATION ................................ ................................ .................. 198 C INQUIRY PRESENTATION HANDOUT ................................ ............................... 202 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 204 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 214
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 P.K. Yonge Development Research School elementary campus, 4 5 community learning space, second level floor plan ................................ ............ 25 3 1 The hermeneutical circle ................................ ................................ .................... 65 3 2 The inquiry cycle ................................ ................................ ................................ 66 4 1 Aligning the hermeneutical circle and the practitioner inquiry cycle .................... 89 4 2 Reflective email ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 90 4 3 Analysis process ................................ ................................ ................................ 91 5 1 First floor blueprint ................................ ................................ ............................ 109 5 2 Second floor blueprint ................................ ................................ ....................... 110 5 3 K/1 learning studio ................................ ................................ ............................ 111 5 4 Small group learning studio ................................ ................................ .............. 111 5 5 4/5 learning studio ................................ ................................ ............................ 112 5 6 K/1 learning community ................................ ................................ .................... 112 5 7 2/3 learning community ................................ ................................ .................... 113 5 8 4/5 learning community ................................ ................................ .................... 113 5 9 Small group choice seating ................................ ................................ ............... 114 5 10 Varied seating options in one space ................................ ................................ 114 5 11 Flexible movement for peer coaching ................................ ............................... 115 5 12 Teacher w orkspace ................................ ................................ .......................... 115 5 13 View of teacher workspace from learning studio ................................ .............. 116 6 1 Field notes from early kindergarten professional develo pment meeting ........... 149 6 2 Professional development time flow chart ................................ ........................ 150 7 1 Professional development inquiry structures ................................ .................... 178
12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy I NQUIRING INTO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A NEWLY DESIGNED 21 ST CENTURY SCHOOL By Rachel Wolkenhauer August 2013 Chair: Nancy Fichtman Dana Major: Curriculum and Instruction Prevalent new paradigms are emphasizing the need for more powerful learning opportunities that meet the needs of 21 st century learners. One way to chang e education to better meet the needs of the 21 st century is to reimagine school architecture The purpose of this research was to study the ways practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher professional development in a new ly built school that uses space differently. The elementary school that is the context of this study built a 21 st century community learning center with innovators in arch itectura l design that encourage a new way of teaching. A strong focus on professional development as teachers prepared for the new building was essential. Recognizing that professional development would be challenging in the transition to the new space, those responsible for professional development used practitioner inquiry to systematically and intentionally study their practices. To investigate ways these professional developers use d practitioner inquiry to understand their experiences in mediating t eacher professional learning this research was theoretic ally oriented by hermeneutics. During the first year in the new school
13 building, the participants and researcher simultaneously engaged in the inquiry cycle and hermeneutical circle. Using literatu re, historical artifacts, field notes, professional development documents, and interviews as data, this work is organized through pre understandings, understandings, and new understandings of the experiences the participants encountered as they led profess ional development efforts during the first year in the new building space. he value of inquiry for professional developers, and demonstrate the value of implicit inquiry as professional development. It provides insight into the need for professional development to be supportive of chaotic transitions during reform efforts, and discusses the importance of inquiry data for renegotiating existing school structures This study demonstrates that 21 st century school reform is not easy, but possible.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Introduction This study explored the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new ly designed 21 st century community learning center that uses school space differently. K nowledge gained from this study br ings new insights into the ways practitioner inquiry might be utilized by those responsible for teacher professional development in school reform efforts, and, ultimately, how it might serve as a method for encouragement and influence as educators make sen se of, and use, a new school environment that encourages dramatic shifts in teaching for the 21 st century. This research employed qualitative hermeneutic methodology to illustrate the phenomenon examined. Participants in this study included the two peopl e responsible for professional development in the particular 21 st century community learning center that is the context of this research. This chapter begins with an overview of the need for school reform in the 21 st century. Following this problem statem ent, the purpose and accompanying research questions are shared. Also included in this chapter is a discussion of the research design and significance of the study. Problem Statement Prevalent new paradigms are emphasizing the need for more powerful learning opportunities that meet the needs of 21 st century learners; nonetheless these paradigms are not yet clearly re flected in our education system 21 st century schools continue following early factory models and do not meet the diverse and demanding needs of life,
15 work, and citizenship in the 21 st century (Darling Hammond, 2010; Darling Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Hutchison, 2004). While predominant debates in the field of education continue to be those surrounding the purposes of schooling, two curren t and competing educational reform agendas are emphasizing an urgent need for changes in education that will nurture society with an abundance of information, advanced te chnologies, and rapid c hange (Darling Hammond, 2010). The first of these reform initiatives is tied to the standards based accountabi lity movement and focuses on collecting evidentiary outcomes. Believing that all students are the same and expecting them to succeed within statistical norms, this movement insists that the most valuable educational reform efforts, based on empirical data, can be replicated across all schools to result in widespread improved student achievement. The second reform effort has a teacher professionalization agenda and works to better support and prepare teachers, asserting that giving all students opportunities to learn from highly qualified, intelligent, and ambitious teachers, will result in widespread improvements in student a chievement (Cochran Smith & Fries, 2001; Hardy & Ronnerman, 2011). Rather than believing that schools should provide the same educati on for all students, this effort works to ensure that each student receives individualized education attention to best mee t diverse and dynamic learning needs. While these reform efforts offer very different perspectives on the purposes of students and ensure that they are provided with quali ty educational opportunities that will lead to successful futures.
16 One way of changing schools to better meet the needs of 21 st century learners is to reimagine the space in which schooling, teaching, and learning occur. While the practices that foster hi ghly effective teaching and learning are well known, current educational systems and structures make them difficult to carry out (Hutchison, 2004). In order to cultivate life long learning, schools need to become community learning centers where teachers and students learn together in environments that respect the learners present and the knowledge being generated; spaces that are conducive to authentic community oriented, inquiry based learning that is complex, engaging, and relevant (Nair, Fielding, & La ckney, 2009). When the spaces of schools are reimagined, it is easier to reimagine school systems that develop highly effective practices that can be carried out to ensure student achievement and engaging, professionalized teaching. When spaces are desig ned to transform schooling, teaching, and learning through authentic, community oriented, inquiry based teaching, students and teachers can be further empowered to take control of their learning and lead active, passionate, and influential learning lives. Randall Fielding and Prakash Nair design educational spaces with exactly this intent. Inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander (1976), they hope to close the gap between known best practices in teaching and learning and school facilities (Nair, et a l ., 2009). Grounded in philosophies of space and place, these architects look at the history of education and the realities of the 21 st century to better understand the connection between the environment and the psyche. The interconnectedness of people and space is a widely discussed topic among human geographers and space philosophers (i.e., Lefebvre, Heidegger, Hutchison,
17 human consciousness and spatial structures. Mar tin Heidegger and Yi Fu Tuan discuss the search for Being in the physical and emotional world (Heidegger, 1962; Hubbard & Kitchin, 2011) The of and feeling toward that bout a place crucial for how he within the spaces he or she occupies (Hubbard & Kitchin, 2011). When considering the importance of the interconnectedness of people and space in education, the space in which schooling takes place must align with aims of education so that the design of s chool buildings elicit the feelings and actions conducive to goals of teaching and learning (Hutchison, 2004). In the school designs of Fielding plans for schools bas ed on four realms of human experience: spatial, psychological, physiological, and behavioral. These realms, while interconnected, are honored for their complexity and recognized as non linear and deeply contextual. Fielding and Nair carefully consider th e work of key thinkers of space and place by nurturing the relationship between people and space. Universal human nature is recognized while specific attention to the wide range of history, culture, interest, and behavior tendencies is provided (Hubbard & Kitchin, 2011). In this way, the architects respect the complexity of time, context, and individual people within community. The spatial patterns they have assertion that the need for roots and space is a fundamental human need that is
18 ; Nair, et al., 2009 ). Space is defined by both shared and private meanings that are simultaneously adapti ng for, an d changing because of the continual renewal of social dynamics. Christian Norberg demonstrate the dynamics of space philosophy. Places are dependent upon ideas, practice, and cultural norms. Societal expectations pressure schools to secure futures while connecting generations, to be places where moral and social skills are honed and practiced, and where citizens are prepared to take active and successful roles in a 21 st century globalized soci ety (Hutchison, 2004). Taking this into consideration, Fielding and Nair believe school spaces should education, teaching, and learning ( Nair, et al., 2009). The classroom is t he most visible symbol of this philosophy and, as demonstrated in the urban geography work of David s and from those feelings emerge cultural identity that is grounded within global forces and the specifics of loca tion (Hubbard & Kitchin, 2011). The use of space has the potential to ensure schools are pleasant, spiritually uplifting, and attractive places to teach and learn (Alexander, 1976). When environments are dynamically built to change in order to best meet the needs of particular situations, social, holistic, and multifaceted learning has more opportunity to be facilitated. In these environments teachers and students can take passionate ownership of unique work through the ontology of difference. Structure s are not simply aesthetically pleasing for show, but support humane, moral, and public values shared
19 by a community of leaners with common geography and history while encouraging an openness for new ideas and insights to emerge within those contexts (Hub bard & Kitchin, 2011). Physical environments, social structures, and symbolic meanings determine experiences and what is learned about the world (Nair, et al ., 2009). The design of school spaces, therefore have the potential to support or limit teaching and learning. Supportive, high quality schools bring about calmer, more sensitive, and friendly teachers who encourage more self directed learning and teach respect. They help students feel well cared for and respected. Students are better behaved and engage in more collegial peer relationships in well designed 21 st century schools (Nair, et al 2009). More traditional, institutionalized schools, on the other hand, attribute school with disrespect and negative social dynamics between peers and between students and teachers, while damaging views of what learning can be and what learning can yield. These traditional schools are no longer responsive to the increasingly diverse needs of 21 st century learners (Nair, et al 2009). Fielding and Nair point out that in these schools differentiated instruction is being planned in settings that fundamentally oppose them ( Nair, et al. 2009). Space considerations must be taken seriously if schools hope to meet the needs of the 21 st century. Research Purpose P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School emphasizes learning within a P.K. Yonge promotes t eaching that emulates exactly the kind of learning they hope to provide for their students. For nearly seven years, P.K. Yonge has developed,
20 designed, and built a new school building to their exact specifications. Teams of students, teachers, administra tors, architects, and interior designers have worked together to create a space that nurtures 21 st century learners. The new school building is a community learning center designed by Randall Fielding and Prakash Nair that utilizes open space, technology, and nature to foster playfulness, warmth, and sense of community to ensure students and teachers are provided with every opportunity to engage in authentic, inquiry oriented learning that is complex, relevant, and stimulating (Nair, et al., 200 9). The 201 2 2013 school year was the first year teachers and students in the P.K. Yonge elementary division used the new space. Rather than typical grade level and classroom structures, the school is organized in learning communities based on Fielding gument for 4:100 classroom ratios. P.K. Yonge students and teachers in kindergarten and first grade; second and third grade s ; and fourth and fifth grade s each have their own wing of the school in which all students and teachers from the ade levels aim to collaborat e in all teaching and learning. Figure 1 1 shows a n early fourth and fifth grade learning community designed to suppor t collaborative learning among students and teachers where et al 2009, p. 27) so that their spatial, psychological, phys iological, and behavioral needs are always met. There is not another school with which to compare this exact organization or architectural structure. Therefore, the teachers and students at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School
21 are embarking on a new p henomenon in the field of education. As elementary school teachers at P.K. Yonge bega n working in new ways in this newly designed architectural space, traditional ways of teaching were called into question and professional development play ed a lar ge role in the ways teachers mad e sense of and use d this new space and approach to teaching in the first year T he t wo elementary curriculum and instruction coordinators at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School are responsible for supporting teachers in this transition to teaching in the newly designed space, and for mediating teacher professional growth and development. These curriculum and instruction coordinators who are the participants in this study, wish ed to engage in practitioner inquiry to study their facilitation of teacher learning in the new space. By systematically studying their own practices, they work ed to better understand professional development opportunities in the new space by considering p reconceptions and critical new directions for professional learning (Laverty, 2003; Rich, 1990 in Crotty, 1998). The purpose of this research, therefore, was to study the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and suppor ting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently. Statement of Purpose and Research Question The purpose of this research was to study the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and sup porting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses spa ce differently. This study asked : In what ways do those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community leaning center use pract itioner inquiry to understand their experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning?
22 Research Design In order to gain insight into this question, the research is theoretically oriented by hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is a method for ho listically interpreting phenomena by continuously circling between global perspectives and personal reflection (Crotty, 1998; Koro Ljungberg, Yendol Hoppey, Smith, & Hayes, 2009). By cycling through wholes and parts of understanding, researchers and resea rch participants are better able to interpret events by considering preconceptions with new, critical direction (Rich, 1990). This both separates them from and unites them more closely with what they know by decontextualizing thought from practice while c ontinuously returning that thought to praxis (van Manen, 1990). Focusing on the social construction of knowledge, the researcher and research participants are often co researchers in hermeneutical studies, together working to interpret the social meanings of phenomena. Drawing on the tradition of hermeneutics, this study was designed to better understand the ways in which those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community leaning center use practitio ner inquiry to understand their experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning. For the purposes of this study, the hermeneutical circle has been aligned with the practitioner inquiry cycle. In this way, the hermeneutical circle be came a part of the practitioner inquiry process through which participants in this study took part. Study Significance This study will contribute to the professional conversation in literature about inquiry as a mechanism for facilitating and supporting pr ofessional development.
23 Additionally, it will contribute to conversations about teacher professional development in environments that use space differently for 21 st century school reform This study will add to current literature about practitioner inquir y by studying the ways in which those responsible for the professional development in a school use inquiry to study their own approaches in order to inform the professional development of the teachers they work with. This study will investigate the impact that inquiry has on the goal setting, decision making, and actions of those responsible for teacher professional development, and the influence s to the professional learning and reform efforts of the teachers they work with. This study will also add to c urrent conversations about the need for more powerful learning opportunities for teachers within our education systems that better meet the needs of 21 st century teachers and learners. P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School is renegotiating the use of s chool space as a community learning center where teachers and students learn together in order to better meet the learning needs of every member of the community. It is essential that the ways in which professional learning and teaching are stimulated and disrupted within this new space are studied and broadly shared to inform the future planning and design of school spaces for 21 st century school reform Overview of Dissertation This chapter p rovided a brief overview of this study. It began with a summar y of statement, research question and discussion of the research approach further contributed to the chapter by indicating the importance of the study within its structure.
24 F inally, this chapter examined the significance of the study within current professional conversations. The remaining chapters of this dissertation will review relevant literature pertaining to this study, discuss the methodology used provide a description of the context, and present the findings and implications of the work In Chapter 2, a review of the literature on practitioner inquiry is presented. Chapter 3 will provide a detailed background of the theoretical orientation of this study, hermeneutics. In Chapter 4, the research methodology will be discussed. Chapters 5 and 6 present the findings that emerged from my data analysis Finally, in Chapter 7, a summary of the study is presented as well as reco mmendations for future res earch on school reform efforts and the implications of professional development for those ef forts.
25 Figure 1 1 P.K. Yonge Development Research School elementary campus, 4 5 community learning space, second level floor plan (Fielding Nair International 2012 b )
26 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction T his study was designed to better understand the ways in which those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community leaning center use practitioner inquiry to understand their experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning. In this chapter, therefore, a review of the literature surrounding practitioner inquiry is presented Fi rst, the process will be define d the origins and development of the practitioner inquiry movement will be discussed foundational principles will be introduced Finally, research that has been conducted on practitioner inquiry and how this study will be shared Practitioner Inquiry The current educational climate in the United States is reemphasizing the need to improve classroom teaching in order to increase student learning and achievement. S chools are increasingly pressured to make efficient use of scarce resources while being held accountable to high stakes measures for success in order to remain globally competitive. Traditionally, the professional learning of educators has been shallow an d uninspiring. Practitioner inquiry offers a useful practical and theoretical alternative that honors the complexity of teaching. It responds to the need for outcomes while acknowledging and respecting the professionalism of teachers (Cochran Smith, Bar natt, Friedman, & Pine, 2009; Hardy & Ronnerman, 2011; Heibert, Gallimore, & Stigler, 2002).
27 Practitioner inquiry is a form of professional learning that Cochran Smith and Lytle (1993; 2009) define as the systematic, intentional study by educators of their own of treat their classrooms and schools as contexts for interrogation while concurrently treating the knowledge and research generated by others as worthy of critique an d considerat ion (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993 ). Inquirers seek out change and reflect on their wonderings, analyzing the data, making changes in practice based on new understandings, and sharing findings with others (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Through inquiry, practitioners can gain a better understanding of their everyday beliefs, assumptions, and practices; consequently making more informed professional decisions (Oberg, 1990) while informing the practice of other educators. While the field of education continuously sees innovations come and go, the enduring practitioner inquiry movement has proven its strength. The systematic and intentional study by teachers of their own practice has roots in the work of John Dewey (1933), was popularized by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s (Adelman, 1993), and was applied to the field of education by Stephen Corey shortly thereafter (1953). As the movement gained traction, Lawrence Sten house emphasized the need for practitioner research to contribute to the knowledge base of teaching and inform practice and policy (Goswami & Stillman, 1987) and Wilf Carr and Stephen Kemmis (1986) emphasized the importance of inquiry as an enterprise for social improvement. More recently, John Elliott, Susan Noffke, Marylin Cochran Smith, and Susan G. Lytle have stressed three dimensions of the practitioner inquirer: the professional, the personal, and the political
28 (Noffke, 1997), by explicitly focusing on students (Elliot, 1991) and defining an inquiry stance as a career long professional position (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993; 2009). Today practitioner inquiry, which is also referred to as action research, classroom research, teacher research, and teac her inquiry, continues to thrive in teacher education and as a continued professional development model (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). Valued for its ability to change personal teaching practice while raising the professional reputation to one that is sch olarly, practitioner inquiry is a steadfast movement. Inquiry the generation and construction of new knowledge while remaining critical consumers of the knowledge gene rated by others (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993; Torres, 1996). It profession of education while at the same time valuing what teachers already do as a part of their daily Gerono, 2005, p. 94). The Origins and Development of Practitioner Inquiry John Dewey (1929; 1938) is often credited with inspiring the practitioner inquiry movement. He built the foundation for inquiry by challenging the stat us quo and designating teachers as experts, and classrooms as centers for research. He believed in inquiry as a process for problem solving, therefore encouraging the natural questioning and reflection evident in effective teachers. Dewey believed the le arning process was intrinsically problematic and that inquiry held the potential to structure In the 1940s, psychologist Kurt Lewin (1938; 1945; 1946; 1947) coined the term action resea rch, which is often used to refer to practitioner inquiry. Influenced by Lev Vygotsky and John Dewey while immersed in studies of group dynamics, intercultural
29 group relations, social change, and resistance efforts, Lewin was interested in people support intended to directly help the practitioner and improve social formations. He and his colleagues came to describe a cyclical process of action research that involves fact finding, t he articulation of a specific idea, development of flexible, general plans for action, a search for facts to help determine the goals of that plan, and the evaluation of the results based on social change. In addition to establishing this framework for ac tion research, Lewin spoke of the importance in aligning research with the immediate needs of those impacted by it and insisted on high standards of reliability, validity and rigor in social action work. He believed that it was through social research tha t the development of democratic social management systems would flourish (Somekh & Zeichner, 2009). Stephen Corey was the leading voice in applying practitioner inquiry to the field of educa tion. In the 1950s, Corey ( 1952; 1953 ; 1954) articulated the diff erences between traditional university based research and practitioner inquiry. Expanding on paradigms. Practitioner inquiry, on the other hand, is continuous, applicable to immediate practices, and not generalizable, but transferable. Corey called practitioner educational research (Somekh & Zeichner, 2009). Lawrence Stenhouse was influent ial in the 1960s and 1970s (Goswami & Stillman, 1987). A historian, he focused on pedagogy and believed successful education depended on teachers as researchers exploring teacher student interactions
30 and learning. He argued for an active role from studen ts, with students as developers of education and teachers as facilitators. Stenhouse was well regarded, and in the 1970s teachers began to be seen as creators of knowledge. Additionally, practitioner inquiry began to be seen as a potential solution to t he theory practice gap, as it brought a natural, professionalizing method of research to schools (Somekh & Zeichner, 2009). Wilf Carr and Stephen Kemmis (1986) made an important contribution to the practitioner inquiry movement in the 1980s. Building on t he work of Kurt Lewin, they positioned practitioner inquiry within the framework of critical theory. Lewin emphasized the importance of inquiry as an enterprise for social improvement, promoting social justice and working against oppression. Carr and Kem mis envisioned the power of inquiry to bring practitioners together in open and honest ways, eliminating hierarchical structures so that democratized education systems could work diligently and explicitly for social justice. Although much of this vision h as yet to be realized (Carr & Kemmis, movement as an impetus to educational change for equity and social justice (Somekh & Zeichner, 2009). John Elliott, a colleague of Lawrenc e Stenhouse, extended and reformed practitioner inquiry. He focused on transforming teaching within the high stakes, hegemonized education climate. Elliott developed multi level practitioner inquiry for professional development that more explicitly focus ed on student learning (Elliott, 1991). Through processes of cyclical reflection for praxis, he concentrated on improving education through practitioner inquiry that developed deep contextual understanding and moral agency (Elliott, 1991 ; Somekh & Zeichne r, 2009).
31 Susan Noffke (1997) characterized practitioner inquiry in three dimensions: the professional, the personal, and the political. She recognized the range and variety of practitioner inquiry without placing value judgments on different methods and models. Noffke illustrated that practitioner inquiry had not only flourished and diversified, but throughout the practitioner inquiry movement, it had become better theorized within wider fields of thought and knowledge. Marilyn Cochran Smith and Susan Lytle published the pivotal text, Inside/Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge in 1993. The book made the argument that the knowledge needed by teachers to truly improve teaching and learning could not come from researchers who were primarily placed ou tside of school settings. Interrupting common practice, they called for a renegotiation of research boundaries so that practitioners were in primary positions as knowledge generators. Coining the me a way of work and professional position for teachers that translate across contexts and points in time. In the last two decades, Cochran the practitioner inquiry movement. They have inspired and led the continued growth and evolution of inquiry in American schools by asking teacher researchers to grapple with, reframe, and work to clearly communicate to increasingly larger audiences the expanding conceptual, theoretical, practical, and political fram eworks of practitioner inquiry. The Foundation of Practitioner Inquiry The history of the practitioner inquiry movement is helpful in understanding the ways in which teacher knowledge has been studied and understood. While practitioner inquiry offers a powerful professional view of teachers as educators, researchers, and
32 cha nge agents, there has been a continuous struggle in the history of the practitioner inquiry movement to sustain inquiry in meaningful ways. Although John Dewey advocated for a teaching force that was highly intelligent, curious, and action oriented, his v iews were overshadowed by social efficiency models that continue to be pervasive in schools today. These views of schooling have also been translated to the field of educational research in two dominant paradigms: process product oriented research and qu alitative, interpretive research. Teachers have traditionally been subjects of this research. University researchers, who typically work outside of the classrooms and schools they study, research the practices and classrooms of teachers without taking in to Smith & Lytle, 1993). It is then expected that teachers will receive the knowledge gained in these studies and will not only accept the research as valid, but will also inco rporate the traditional models of professional development and teacher education where the knowledge of outside experts is merely disseminated to teachers. These exp ectations assume that teachers learn about their profession not through their own practices, contexts, and experiences, but by studying the findings of those outside of schools. Since neither dominant research paradigm in education considers the role of t eachers in the generation of educational knowledge, the practitioner inquiry movement provides a new way to think about teacher knowledge. By honoring both research conducted in classrooms and research conducted on classrooms, this third paradigm consider s teachers as both contributors and recipients of stu dy (Cochran Smith & Lytle,
33 1993; 2009; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Focusing on the immediate concerns of teachers, practitioner inquiry believes teachers can and should contribute to the knowledge base about teaching and learning and encourages continuous cycles of reflection and action that engage teachers in design, data collection, and analysis of data around personal questions (Carr & Kemmis, 1986; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009; Elliot, 1988). With t he professional practice of teachers viewed as an intellectual activity of posing and exploring problems (Schn, 1983), practitioner inquiry takes the questions asked by teachers and makes them central to the research process, resulting in research finding s that are directly relevant and grounded in practice. Practitioner inquiry serves a different purpose for teachers than the transmissive process product and qualitative, interpretive paradigms (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Practitioner inquiry has the potential to contribute to the knowledge base for teaching in which teachers conduct their own research and in turn inform their own practice and the practice of others. Through practitioner inquiry teachers are liberated to become contributors and colla borators in educational research, ensuring theoretical knowledge is also professional knowledge (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993; Sanders & McCutcheon, 1986). Values of Practitioner Inquiry Practitioner inquiry is grounded in an underlying set of values that d rive the beliefs, goals, and decisions of the practitioner inquiry movement. The process of practitioner inquiry honors the complexity of teaching and makes it worthy of being questioned and studied (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). It offers a powerful prof essional view of teachers as educators, researchers, and change agents. When it is actualized, teachers are given a powerful tool for professional learning ( Zeichner,
34 2003 ), a mechanism for expanding the knowledge base for teaching (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993; 2009), and a vehicle for raising their voices in educational reform (Meyers & Rust, 2003). Additionally, practitioner inquiry provides educators with a powerful stance that becomes a professional position owned by the teacher, where questioning one practice becomes the natural, normal, and necessary way of being as an educator (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009; Snow Gerono, 2005). Powerful Tool for Professional Development When used as a tool for professional development, practitioner inquiry becomes the core decision making mechanism 2000; Zeichner, 2003 ). Valuing teaching as an intellectual endeavor (Schn, 1983), educator (Caro Bruce, Flessner, Kleher, & Zeichner, 2007). Through practitioner research, teachers take the questions that continuously arise as they teach and learn and systematically ex amine them to construct their work and connect it to larger social, and cultural systems (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2001). These meaningful questions become the starting point for professional development, ensuring that learning is directly relevant to teach Bruce, et al ., 2009 ). Since the problems of education are often complicated, teachers need space to analyze the day to day situations that arise in their own contexts, they need time t o collaborate (Valli & Price, 2000), and they need time to speculate, reflect, and innovate (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Inquiry oriented professional development provides this time and space by making intentional links between theory and practice. Teac hers become students of teaching and learning through formal and informal types of knowledge while actively taking part in communities that hold one another
35 accountable for making impactful change in practice based on new learning (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2 009; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009; Darling Hammond, 2007; Weinbaum, Allen, Blythe, Simon, Seidel & Rubin, 2004). Mechanism for Expanding the Knowledge Base of Teaching Heibert, Gallimore & Stigler (2002) describe teacher research as the most useful researc h in the field of education. When practitioner inquiry is used as a mechanism for essential to the advancement of the fie ld (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993; 2009). The contribute to the knowledge base of teaching and learning. Through inquiry, teachers become rich resources of em pirical and conceptual research that help to br idge the gap that exists between theory and practice and universities and schools (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993) By making their practices problematic and visible, teacher researchers contribute to a knowledge base that grows over time as work is analyzed shared with collea gues, and made public (Weinbaum Allen, Blythe, Simon, Seidel, & Rubin, 2004). As scholars of their own practice, teachers generate a new paradigm of teaching and learning that can lead to continuous educational renewal. In this way, the professionalism of teaching is strengthened as complexities are recognized through teacher research that illustrates the multifaceted roles of an educator (Clark & Peterson, 1984; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Vehicle for Raising the Voices of Teachers in Educational Reform As teachers are looked to as originators of educational knowledge through practitioner inquiry, they are given an important vehicle for raising the voices of teachers in educational reform (Meyers & Rust, 2003). Inquiry more evenly d istributes decision
36 making power, breaking down traditional hierarchies and providing space for the power of inquiry to change teaching and learning from within teaching and learning. As informed decision makers, teachers can claim roles that shape the pr actice of teaching as both educators and activists (Caro Bruce, et al ., 2009; Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). When teacher voice is present in issues of reform, knowledge and difference are made problematic so that the current st ructures and outcomes of schools can be challenged (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993, 2009). With critical will and hope, teacher inquirers who are reformers view teaching as praxis, continuously theorizing the ways in which their daily work connects to larger movements of equity and social change (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2001; Freire, 1970; Weinbaum, et al. 2004) As social and educational critics, they use inquiry to speak out in order to dismantle harmful and hegemonic practices so that every child and teac her has opportunities to work in rich, challenging, and supportive environments (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). Practitioner inquirers use inquiry as a tool to support, battle, and question their work contexts and relationships. They speak out to break do wn and share power in order to professionalize teaching, legitimize multiple forms of knowledge, and advocate for change. Inquiry Stance Practitioner inquiry provides educators with a powerful stance. According to Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001), teachers w and beyond the classroom, identify with and contribute to a community of learners and these teachers develop strong active voices. By fighting for what they know is best for every student, teachers recognize that they must cultivate the skills necessary to meet
37 the unique challenges of schools and become researchers, scholars, problem solvers, and advocates. With an inquiry stance they are willing to take risks and try new things, becoming resources to their schools and communities (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). Through continual processes of making practice problematic and questioning the accepted ways that knowledge and p ractice are constructed, evaluated, and used, practitioner inquirers are empowered to work individually and collectively for educational and social change ( Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). An inquiry stance is a critical habit of mind that informs profession al work and become s a way of living as an educator. Teachers with inquiry stance bring their students and colleagues into inquiry as well ( Caro Bruce, et al ., 2007; Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993, 2009; Dana, Thomas, & Boynton, 2011; Weinbaum, et al ., 2004) For students of teachers with inquiry stance this often results in atmosphere s that encourage creativity, problem solving, reflection, empowerment, and advocacy. For c olleagues of teachers with inquiry stance this often results in atmospheres that encourage more collaboration more collegial ity more open ness and more willing ness to take risks that matter. Teachers with inquiry stance know that they have the power to change teaching and learning. These educators are motivated by their careers, en livened by their work, and feel a responsibility for students, equity, and the teaching profession (Wolkenhauer, Boynton & Dana, 2011). Research on Practitioner Inquiry Research conducted on practitioner inquiry informs the work of the practitioner inquiry movement by exploring the ways in which it is typically actualized, the key features, tensions, and benefits that emerge as a result of practitioner inquiry, and its implications for teacher professional development. The following section of this chapter consists of an analysis of the research on practitioner inquiry. The research literature
38 considered for this review encompassed publications available in American educational research databases that identified practitioner inquiry, acti on research, or tea cher inquiry as key terms. To identify relevant studies, these terms were used to search the College of Education library. In addition, the references of scholarly works we re examined to identify publications that may have been overlooked. Although this review is not exhaustive, of the forty six publications identified, nineteen are cited within this review. Four criteria were used to select these publications. First, the work was publishe d in the last twenty five years. S econd, the work relates to practitioner inquiry in either preservice teacher education programs or inservice teacher professional d evelopment in the United States. T hird, the work has been evaluated as a relevant contribution to the field through publication in a peer reviewed j ournal. F inally, the work directly reports or draws on empirical evidence related to practitioner inquiry. An article was deemed empirical if the method, theoretical framework, and findings were articulated. Thus, only reviews of research, original qualitative and quantitative studies, and empirical descriptions of practitioner inquiry are included in this review. In contrast to the rich, historical underpinnings of the practi tioner inquiry movement, the empirical research on practitioner inquiry is less plentiful. Focusing on research on practitioner inquiry in the United States in the last twenty five years, however, there are several lessons to be learned. The following sec tions describe four important qualities of the practitioner inquiry movement: the types of practitioner inquiry, key features, benefits, and tensions.
39 Types of Inquiry The review of research presented a variety of practitioner inquiry methods. First, a s noted earlier in this chapter, practitioner inquiry goes by many names. While often used synonymously, the terms that describe practitioner inquiry are used to emphasize particular histories or highlight specific features of the process (Dana & Yendol H oppey, 2009). Studies indicate that by re moving the heft of academic research language, the term inq uiry remind s educators that the systematic and intentional study of their own practice is a natural, normal, and necessary part of teaching ( Dana, Dawson, Wolkenhauer & Krell, 2013 ). In the field of teacher education, inquiry is therefore paired with several descriptors: practitioner, teacher, or classroom. Studies that use the term p ractitioner inquiry typically use it as an all encompassing term that in cludes educators at all levels, from teacher educators and administrators, to classrooms teachers and teacher candidates, w ithin their various contexts. When studies use the terms t eacher inquiry (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Poekert, 2010) or classroom i nquiry they are usually des cribing the role and context of the inquirer more specifically. Action research (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Meriono & Holmes, 2006; Somekh & Zeichner, 2009) is a term used in research studies about inquiry to emphasize the discursive power in the practitioner inquiry process. When researchers use the term action research they are stressing the duality in the purposes of the process, both to generate knowledge and work toward the improvement of socia l and educational structu res. In the studies that use the term action research, a ction researchers take on three distinct roles as teacher, scholar, and activist.
40 While spoken about less in the research on practitioner inquiry, participatory research is a tradition that Noffke ideological commitment which holds that every human being has the capacity of knowing, or analyzing and reflecting about reality so that she becomes a true agent of and is a p hilosophy that often undergirds the practitioner inquiry carried out by educators (Cochran Smith, 1991; Merino & Holmes, 2006). Aside from the terminology used in the process, research indicates that there are also different forms that practitioner inquire rs use as they implement inquiry into their practices and professional positions. Research that illustrates s ystematic inquiry for example, often demonstrates inquiry studies taking place individually (Allen & Calhoun, 1998; Merion & Holmes, 2006) and fo llow ing cycles similar to that described by Dana & Y endol Hoppey (2009). Alternatively, we see forms of self study (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009), lesson study (Poekert, 2010), and narrative inquiry (Cochran Smith & Lytle 2009) in the research on the prac titioner inquiry movement S tudies also show that s ystematic inquiry can take place as collaborative inquiry (Allen & Calhoun, 1998; Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Zeichner & Klehr, 1999), where educators work together to study their own practices or the practi ces of their schools in collegi al study groups (Poekert, 2010) or seminars (Zeichner & Klehr, 1999). W e see that w hile these groups also typically follow cycles like Dana and Yendol Hoppey describe (2009), they do so with the intention of studying communi ty problems that may impact school teams, school faculties, or entire districts. Key Features No matter the model of inquiry utilized by the practitioner, research demonstrates that the systematic and intentional study by educators of their own practice sh are key
41 features that make the process a powerful form of teacher learning and professional development. One key feature that was apparent in this review of the literature was that practitioner inquiry centers on problem solving 998 study of schoolwide action research study, problem solving process themselves and model it for their students. They focus on the collection of data to diagnose problems, they conduct a disciplined s earch for alternative solutions, they take collective action, and they conscientiously monitor whether and how the literature indicates that inquiry often emerges from dissatisfaction and instr uctional problems (Cochran Smith, 1991; Dana, Yendol Hoppey, & Snow Gerono, 2006; Emerling, 2009), the problem solving cycle of inquiry has often led practitioners to purposefully understand those problems in order to make inform ed decisions about what wor ks and what needs to be changed in the future (Emerling, 2009). A nother key feature of practitioner inquiry that was gleaned from this literature review is its emphasis on solving problems of practice within specific pragmatic contexts (Cochran Smith, 19 91; Merino & Holmes, 2006). W e can see from these studies that w hen inquiry is job embedded and immediately relevant (Dawson & Dana, 2007; Emerling, 2009; Zeichner & Klehr, 1999), practitioners are able to study personal passions (Snow Gerono, 2005) that are connected to specific dilemmas (Poekert, 2010). These personal studies are not developed around topics deemed important by others, nor are they conducted on other people. Practitioner inquiry has the potential to directly align with personal interest to better understand and change
42 classroom practice (Zeichner & Klehr, 1999). Snow how i nquiries may focus on students by seriously their though ts, ideas, and learning styles, while studies conducted by Allen and Calhoun (1998), and Merino and Holmes ( 2006 ) are examples of i nquiries that focus ed on instruction and curriculum By threading inquiry into curriculum, Cochran Smith and her colleagues ( 2009 ), and Eme rling ( 2009 ) demonstrate that instruction can be recursively studied over time and can include other educators and students Because we see from research on inquiry that the most effective implementations of inquiry are job embedded, teachers are better e quipped to immediately apply new learning by experimenting with strategies, constructing curriculum, and taking risks in their practice. This persistence on working toward detectable improvement (Emerling, 2009; Snow Gerono, 2005) can lead to spirals of r epeat ed, connected cycles of inquiry that continuously inform knowledge and practice (Merino & Holmes, 2006; Torres, 1996). Zeichner and Klehr (1999) found that creating a culture of inquiry takes respect for the voices of teachers and the knowledge they b ring to the field of education. Such respectful cultures invest in the intellectual capital of teachers by increasing their opportunities to take control over their professional lives by studying and making public their personal views about what works bes t for teaching and learning (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003). Their work indicates that i nquiry offers teachers the intellectual stimulation (Zeichner & Klehr, 1999). Other studies add to this research by illustrating that in r equiring deep processing, elaborat ive strategizing, and metacognitive reflection, inquiring practitioners must synthesize their experiences based on data collected in their
43 classrooms ( Dawson, 2007; Dawson, 2007) and through engagement with professional literature (Cochran Smith, 1991; Poe kert, 2010). Practitioner inquirers are then able to use this evidence to engage in reflection focused on new learning and the ways in which this learning impacts students, colleagues, and broader communities of practice (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Emerling 2009). Burbank & Kauchak ( 2003 ) discuss that through this respectful culture of inquiry, they saw that the ability of teachers to take control over their professional lives was heightened, resulting in opportunities to publi cally share personal views about educational goals, expectations, and outcomes. The research on practitioner inquiry indicates that such cultures cannot exist without meaningful collaboration that takes place over a substantial amount of time (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Zeichner & Klehr, 1999) and is situated in social contexts (Daw experiences with collaborative inquiry, Bradley Emerling (2010) revealed the need for inquiry communities to be like minded and collectively committed. Through shared leadership, the teams he studied collaborated to consider changes they could implement together and evidence they could collect and evaluate over time. Through established rituals and routines, such as inquiry focused protocols for discussion and regularly scheduled meetings, these teams formed collegial communities that allowed them the opportunity to act collectively as decision makers with the ability to reshape te aching (Cochran Smith, 1991). From their study, as well as from the work of Cochran Smith (1991), we understand how i nquiry communities might benefit school cultures when they are comprised of various stakeholders (i.e., teacher candidates,
44 teachers, administrators, university partners) because they promote dialogue (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003) that leads t o the questioning of assumptions, the investigation of practices, and innovations that lead to school improvement and opportunities for allied advocacy (Cochran Smith, 1991). Aligned with the conceptual framework of practitioner inquiry, research on inq uiry shows that the most important features of the inquiry process combine outcome focuses and professionalization agendas (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009). Connecting scholarship, reflection, experience, perception, logistical management, collegiality, and the voices of children, practitioner inquiry has the ability to nurture teacher growth in respective, intellectually stimulating, and reflective ways (Snow Gerono, 2005). Benefits The research on practitioner inquiry indicates that p ractitioner inquirers c an benefit from the structure of the inquiry process Since inquiry asks inquirers to direct their own learning, their work has the potential to be refined and focused through intentional conn ections of theory and practice. oring best practices for facilitating teacher learning through inquiry, he found that there is power in professional development when teachers direct their own learning. Through participant study reported the supported differentiated instruction for individual teacher learning. Snow Gerono (2005) reported similar findings with pre service teachers when s he found that teacher candidates were empowered by the permission inquiry gave them to ask their own as a systematic and intentional learner provides teachers with a s ense of autonomy and
45 control (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Donnell & Harper, 2005; Merino & Holmes, 2006), which are important when problematizing practice (Poekert, 2010). The literature on practitioner inquiry demonstrates, however, that given the responsibi the learning must be focused Practitioner inquiry structures may help learning stay concentrated as conversations, investigations, theoretical study, and teaching practices stay focused on single, intentional wonderings. As discussed earlier, research indicates that there are many means by which educators may choose to focus their work: needs of children, content and concepts, tensions between beliefs and practices, and learning about the cultures of schools (Allen & Calhoun, 1998; Crockett, 2002; Dana, et al ., 2006; Stuart & Yarger Kane, 2000). With refined focus, teachers develop important habits (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003) that enlighten their roles as teachers who influence ch ange (Emeling, 2009) through the recognition, utilization, and integration of the interrelated components of schools with specific focus on research, reflection, and practice (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Donnell & Harper, 2005). In a study conducted by Dawso n ( 2007 ) for example, preservice teachers focused explicitly on the integration of technology in elementary school classrooms. By taking the complexities of teaching and learning and studying them through the specific lens of authentic technology teacher candidates refined their understanding of both technology integration and student learning. The focus of the inquiries proved to be a powerful motivator for conceptual change as preservice teachers moved from technology centered teaching to student cente red teaching. Donnell and Harper saw similar changes through refined and focused professional
46 learning when the preservice teachers they studied shifted from thinking like students to thinking like teachers (2005). Research indicates that t he structures p rovided by the practitioner inquiry process make professional learning enjoyable and engaging (Crockett 2002; Dawson & Dana, 2007). Studies reveal that t he process can be gratifying in part because learning and collaboration extend beyond professional de velopment events (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Poekert, 2010). the ways that practitioner inquiry fosters lifelong learning in a teacher preparation program. Similarly, Emerling (2009) studied the ways in w hich inquiry as professional development might contribute to the ongoing growth of educator s. Cochran Smith and her colleagues (2009) demonstrate the ways in which i nquiry lets practitioners dive deeply into immediate questions while simultaneously acting as a springboard for future learning. T hese studies illustrate that in nurturing t eachers in their learning within inquiry structures they can be free r to engage in the work about which they are most passionate. Many of the schools in which inquiry has been studied provide explicit collaborati ve organization. These collaborative structures have been used as tools through which educators can be supported, but are also held accountable (Allen & C alhoun, 1998; Poekert, 2010). The c ommunities tudy (1996) illustrate the ways in which collaborative groups can nurture one another, share concerns, and provide space for every voice to be heard. Other studies show how p rofessionalized communities of practice promote co learning (Cochran Smith, 1991; Merino & Holmes, 2006), open and honest dialogue (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003), and stimulating
47 discussions that lead to action (Crockett, 2002). Inquiry facilitators are often part of these inquiry communities too (Krell & Dana, 2012) In the research cond ucted by Allen and Calhoun (1998), they discuss the importance of both internal and external facilitation structures for meaningful collaboration to take place. Internal facilitators in their study worked with teachers throughout the inquiry process as qu estions arose, perspective. With the balance of immediate support and the outside examination of the could be ex panded and reinforced as they were both encouraged and challenged (Allen & Calhoun, 1998). Another benefit of the inquiry process that is seen in the research on practitioner professionalism Zeichner and Klehr (1 999) write about the ways in which i nquiry has the potential to raise the social status of the teaching profession by providing a powerful persona for teaching from which teachers revitalize the occupation by making more informed decisions, engaging in con tinual learning, exuding self confidence, and carrying an inquiry stance throughout their professional lives ( see also, Dana, et al ., 2006; Snow Gerono 2005). Studies also reveal that inquiry provides a mechanism for to be heard (Cochran Smith, 1991; Crockett, 2002) so that the complexities of teaching might be more publically reco gnized (Dawson & Dana, 2007). Studies by Donnell and Harper (2005) and Merino and Holmes (2006), share examples of teachers claiming positions as reflective pr oblem solvers, change agents, critical consumers of professional research, and legitimate generators of knowledge. There is evidence that this professional positioning can renew
48 Calhoun, 1998; Merino & Holmes, 2006). Additionally, research indicates that when the professional identity of an educator is identified and respected teachers often become more enthusiastic in their work (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003) and can develop a deepe r sense of commitment for the profession and for the students they serve (Emerling, 2009). While research on the direct connection between teacher inquiry and student learning are scarce, some empirical studies do exist that imply positive connections. Allen and Calhoun (1998), for example, found that the schools they studied with the highest implementations of inquiry communities saw increases in student achievement attributed to those inquiry processes. Zeichner and Klehr (1999) found similar results in the professional development schools they studied. Additionally, several studies found that inquiry impacts student learning by increasing the awareness of the complexities inherent in student learning and bringing students to the forefront of professi onal development (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Dawson, 2007; Merino & Holmes, 2006). The professional growth of teachers through practitioner inquiry is also tied to changes in school cultures and the larger society in the literatu re. Studies indicate that i nquiry can encourage responsiveness to knowledge generation, transformation, and social justice (Donnell & Harper, 2005) while stimulating positive changes in the culture and productivity of schools (Zeichner & Klehr, 1999). As professional networks grow within schools and systems, feelings of community and professionalism have the possibility of generating momentum and interest (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003). Emerling (2009) found that this energy influenced school faculty members who were not
49 previously involved in inquiry to join in on the systematic, intentional study of their practice and/or to learn from the expertise of the inquiring professionals within their school. Beyond the walls of their schools, research also suggests that practitioner inquirers have the potential to impact wider audiences. By examining their assumptions of students and schooling while systematically studying their own practices (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003), teachers can see the changes that need to be ma de and actively resist harmful oppressive practices (Torres, 1996). Inquiry provides teachers with documentation of their practices that they can use t o rationalize and articulate their purposes, goals, and actions to wide r audiences than they might have typically because with inquiry data, they have documented evidence of change (Allen and Callhoun, 1998; Burbank & Kauchak, 2003). According to Cochran configurations of human and material resources to meet the needs of culturally diverse groups of students, teachers, and Learning to Teach Against the Grain (1991), they reveal the intellectual work of ac tivism in teaching and how this role can effectively inform pre service teacher education. In their study, inservice and preservice teachers were positioned as decision makers and collaborators who must work to reshape teaching to include activism. Educa tors took on the responsibilities of collaborative resonance where together they critiqued the culture of schools and research practices while asserting their own expertise and calling into question the policies and language that the field of education tak es for granted. The educators in
50 Cochran that is deeply embedded in the role of teaching and schooling. Tensions The research on practitioner inquiry indicates benefits of the p rocess, but also point s to some tensions that exist and inhibit the broader expansion of practitioner inquiry. The most frequently cited challenges in research on practitioner inquiry are the logistics of facilitating and sustaining meaningful inquiry as teacher education and professional development. Time is a common concern for educators and the involved processes of inquiry make this a frequent concern (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Torres, 1996;). Educators conducting inquiry can feel overloaded and b urdened (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Stuart & Yarger Kane, 2000). We learn from the literature that i nquiry can make the daily realities of teaching become obstacles to professional growth. Increasing the demands of a teacher who is already overloaded with mandated expectations and curriculum (Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1991; Donnell & Harper, 2005), inquiry can take time from other obligations (Stuart & Yarger Kane, 2000). Another complaint in the research about time is that inquir y cycles are often rushed to accommodate academic calendars, so the deep meaningful learning of the process can be difficult to achieve in the time allo tted (Merino & Holmes, 2006). Research has also determined that t ime can confound issues of sustainabil ity when resources, including time, are not invested in structures that support inquiry (Allen & Calhoun, 1998; C ochran Smith, et al ., 2009). For example, Stuart and Yarger Kane (2000) discovered that l ack of support and understanding, as well as poor des ign and implementation of the inquiry program they studied deter red practitioner inquiry from
5 1 fully developing Research on practitioner inquiry in preservice teacher education programs demonstrates that s ome logistical challenges are unique to preservice teacher education If mentor teachers feel threatened by preservice research or if these host teachers are apathetic or uncooperative, for example, it can be very difficult for teacher candidates to conduct inquiry, nonetheless develop an inquiry stance (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Stuart & Yarger Kane, 2000). As discussed in the historical underpinnings, practitioner inquiry does not align with many traditional views of teaching or research. This can cause tensions when practitioner inquiry is being implem ented in teacher education and profes sional development programs. Research shows that it is difficult to maintain high levels of participation when educators are unable to see the connections of the process to what they expect from teaching, learning, and schools (Allen & Calhoun, 1998; Cochran Smith, 1991; Snow Gerono, 2005). In a profession that is traditionally private and isolating, teachers can be reluctant to open up their classrooms or turn the gaze of professional development on their instructiona l practices (Allen & Calhoun, 1998). This is often true because of the tension that exists surrounding preconceptions of the research process (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003). Residual notions of research on teachers that is process product focused, intrusive, and unhelpful is antithetical to the Smith, et al ., 2009). When inquiry is implemented in schools, research reveals that there is a delicate balance that must be struck. This balance can be difficult due to the complex nature of both teaching and inquiring. When inquiry is introduced as a compulsory assignment
52 within a linear process (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Cochran Smith, et al ., 2009; Zeichner & Klehr, 1999) for example, inquiry stance is less likely to develop and as a result, programs of inquiry are difficult to uphold. The questions that teachers ask can also make the process of implementing inquiry difficult. For instance, Poekert (2010) demonstrates the importance of coaching genuine questions that are not so narrow that learning is limited, but also that facilitators do not challenge teachers so much that the question becomes too complex and is no longer the meaningful question of the teacher. Several of the resear ch reports in this review noted a social justice tension in the ways in which inquiry is implemented in teacher education and professional development. Both Snow Gerono (2005) and Stuart and Yarger Kane (2000) found that the individualization of inquiry a rtificially separates the teacher from social justice or school reform issues. They found that the teachers they studied rarely discussed the collective struggle for social change and as a result, findings discussing social justice were not reached. Coch ran Smith (1991) attributes this lack of social justice orientation in part to the absence of their emphasis i n teacher education programs. She finds that t eachers are frequently socialized into the profession without having the time or space to tackle is sues related to equity, and therefore, they are often unaware or uncomfortable with the social injustice they witness. Finally, Crockett (2002) points to an important tension. He asserts that research does not yet accurately illustrate how inquiry as prof essional learning plays out in practice He found that articles on practitioner inquiry focus too much on structure and process, and not enough on the content or specific activities needed to implement effective practices that support reflective inquiry b ased teacher learning.
53 Conclusions Despite tensions characteristic of practitioner inquiry, when key features are effectively applied, research indicates influential arguments for practitioner inquiry to shift the ways in which professional development is carried out in the United States. As a review of the literature on the practitioner inquiry movement has revealed inquiry has the potential to transform teacher learning and professional growth. For this reason, the infusion of practitioner inquiry into efforts to transition teacher learning and professional growth makes sense. As the educators at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School reimagined the use of school space and called into question traditional ways of teaching and learning, professional de make sense of and use the newly designed 21 st century community learning center and correspondingly, approaches to teaching. As professional development would play such a critical r ole in this move, and as a review of the literature suggests practitioner inquiry is a promising practice for teacher professional development efforts, the infusion of practitioner inquiry into professional development associated with the move to the new s pace is the focus of this study. Specifically, this study was designed to understand the ways those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community learning center use practitioner inquiry to understan d their experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning. To provide a foundation for this study, this chapter reviewed the scholarship of practitioner inquiry by discussing the origins and development of practitioner inquiry, the foundational principles of practitioner inquiry, and the res earch on practitioner inquiry.
54 The next chapter will describe this st ( hermeneutics ) and the ways in which I integrate hermeneutics and the practitioner inquiry research cycle into
55 CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL ORIENTATION Introduction Qualitative research studies are occasionally questioned for their design choices, purposes, and trustworthiness (e.g. Freeman, deMarrias, Preissle, Roulston, & St. Pierre, 2007; St. Pierre, 2006). Therefore, this chapter clearly and explicitly connect s t oses and design. In doing so, it serves to articulate t he ways in which the study is an interconnected unit by sharing a clear description of the theoretical perspective used to orient this research, and c onfirming (Koro Ljungberg, et al ., 2009). This chapter, therefore, will address the theoretical orientation for this study, hermeneutics The chapter will begin with a description of the origins and development of hermeneutics. It will then move into the foundational principles of the theoretical perspective and the process of the hermeneutical circle. Finally, this chapter will discuss the ways in which the hermeneutical circle and the inquiry cycle align in this Hermeneutics This research is theoretically oriented by hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is a method for holistically interpreting phenomena by continuously circling between globa l perspectives and personal reflection (Crotty, 1998; Koro Ljungberg, et al ., 2009). By cycling through wholes and parts of understanding, researchers and research participants are better able to interpret events by considering preconceptions with new, cr itical direction (Rich, 1990). This both separates them from and unites them more closely with what they know by decontextualizing thought from practice while
56 continuously returning that thought to praxis (van Manen, 1990). Focusing on the social constru ction of knowledge, the researcher and research participants are often co researchers in hermeneutical studies, together working to interpret the social meanings of phenomena. The Origins and Development of Hermeneutics Hermeneutics was originally develope d in the 17 th century to interpret biblical text s and has been applied for centuries to the study of both written and unwritten texts. While the specific theoretical perspective of hermeneutics was developed in the 1600s, the traditions of hermeneutics ar e grounded in ancient practices. Greek mythology explains the role of Hermes as an interpreter. His job was to interpret the decisions of the gods to the humans. When ancient Greeks studied written rks and entire schools of thought and looked across them for logic that would correct, confirm, and authenticate preconceptions while generating new knowledge. Their practice of relating wholes to parts and parts to wholes is an enduring hermeneutical theme (Crotty, 1998). When applie d to the b iblical exegesis, hermeneutics gained popularity during the Protestant Reformation when protestant Christians fought the Roman Catholic Church dominance in biblical int erpretation and began studying t he B ible in order to apply biblical text s to e veryday situations. Applied in this way, hermeneutics gave relevance to the relationship between the author and the interpreter. It moved biblical studies away from pure academic study to incorporate them into practical, everyday practices (Crotty, 1998) Hermeneutics gave theologians a basis for interpretation that was not just the transfer of meaning from one community to another, but became a cultural self
57 ourselv Theologians were able to use hermeneutical methods to gain rich understandings of biblical texts that surpassed the understanding of original authors. They were able to further de velop what was already understood by making explicit the implicit intentions of authors to gain more developed understanding of beginning knowledge and applying it in new and different ways (Okrent, 1998). Friedrich Schleiermacher was one of the first phil osophers to apply hermeneutics outside of biblical exegesis. Schleiermacher believed hermeneutics as a theoretical perspective could be applied to more general human understanding (Crotty, 1998). Since Schleiermacher sought the application of hermeneutic s beyond theological communities, he continued traditional uses of hermeneutics to move beyond the transfer of knowledge from one community to another. His application of hermeneutics continues to inform modern hermeneutics, most notably through the works of Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, and Max van Manen. Principles of Hermeneutics Modern hermeneutics are built on several foundational principles. First, life and history are intertwined. Second, human understanding can never exhaust reality, there will always be more to understand (Marias, 1967), and finally, our worldviews, which are grounded in historical and life experiences, guide our actions within a hermeneutical circle (Crotty, 1998). According to Dilthey, life and history are intertwined (Crotty, 1998). To be open to new experiences we must understand what Husserl calls the foundational, prerequisite to human life, original experience (Lindseth & Norberg, 2004). The primary source of understanding in mode rn hermeneutics, therefore, comes from an iterative
58 combination of historical and cultural contexts. Since we are shaped by the practices, events, and situations of our histories and current experiences, hermeneutics is a method for making sense of those incidents through a reflective process that reveals the indirect meaning beneath more obvious ones (Crotty, 1998). Heidegger explains this as a way to take these experiences and give them new meaning. With interests in ontology, Heidegger writes about B eing, or Dasein, as coming from pre understanding forestructures that inform the events of our lives. In his book Being and Time he emphasizes the philosophical roots of our understanding. According to Heidegger, Being is granted to us after faithfully interpreting its meaning within historical and cultural contexts (Heidegger, 1962). In other words, because we can link to the past, we can interpret the events in our lives and create bonds with traditions to inform current practices (Crotty, 1998; Runde ll, 1995). With this depth of understanding we can revise old thought by entering it with critical new direction in order to clarify the essential meaning of the human experience through individual and social levels within historical and cultural contexts (Laverty, 2003; Lindseth & Norberg, 2004; Rich, 1990). Recognizing that hermeneutics start from the desire to interpret a phenomenon based on traditions and personal connections, the theoretical perspective recognizes that one cannot stand outside pre un derstandings and history, but must interpret events through a movement in and out of horizons of past, present, and future (Gadamer, 1989). The hermeneutical perspective believes there will always be more to understand, that human understanding can never exhaust reality (Crotty, 1998). Hermeneutics is a theoretical perspective that believes texts, or lived experiences, are meant to transmit
59 meaning through the cyclical interpretation of that meaning (Lindseth & Norberg, 2004). Since interpretation is a dynamic process, no definite interpretation is ever possible; there is always more to learn (Laverty, 2003). Through a dialectical interaction of distancing and binding the interpreter and the meaning, knowledge becomes more abstract and more concrete by separating researchers from what is known while uniting them more closely with what is known (Geelan & Taylor, 2001). This cycle leads researchers to share only the best understanding they are able to produce in that moment (Lindseth & Norbet, 2004; Lave rty, 2003). These understandings are strengthened when social phenomena are interpreted through language and communicated with others (van Manen, 1990). In this way, we can come to better understanding of experiences that help to correct misconceptions w ithin more global and historical perspectives (Tuncer, 2008). transmitting meaning through the intention of the participants, the relationship between the participants and t he interpreter, and the relevance of that experience to others (Crotty, 1998). This affinity between experiences and interpreters can lead to deeper understanding when hypotheses derived from one experience are tested against the experiences of others (F lick, 2009). These new understandings can advance the experiences of participants, interpreters, and outsider readers of these experiences when the insights go beyond original intentions or knowledge. Objectivity and validity increase as more is learned about each experience and when it is thought about more and more deeply to form new understandings (Crotty, 1998). Understanding, after all, is
60 meaning so that what is me aningful passes into the understanding of the experience. blossomi reactionary interpretation and be more open to exploring meaning. To do so, researchers approach new situations in empathetic and critical ways. They are open and receptive while also being analyti cal and engaging in dialogue with the participants. Researchers also must take transactional approaches so that through their active involvement with participants, new insights can emerge (Crotty, 1998). This co creation of knowledge emphasizes the soci al dimension of Being. Participants are seen as co researchers who dynamically share hermeneutical studies. Authors of experience and researchers are never seen in isolation, but within social context (Geelan & Taylor, 2001; Tuncer, 2008). They are inex tricably linked in the 2003, p. 13). In this way, there is always more to understand as interpretations are local, specifically constructed, and arise from the move ment between parts and wholes in a fusion of history, experience, content, context, researcher, and participant (Laverty, 2003). The Hermeneutical Circle Within the hermeneutical perspective, our worldviews, which are grounded in historical and life experi ences, guide our actions within a hermeneutical circle (Crotty,
61 1998, p. 148). Here he speaks of a phenomenological return to our original understandings that, when interpreted, reveal what is implicit, making it explicit in order to grasp the meaning of Being. Hermeneutics is concerned with a cycle of decontextualizing thought from pr actice while re turning that thought to praxis so that new meaning can be found as the world is constructed through existing experience and history (Geelan & Taylor, 2001 ; Laverty, 2003). For Gadamer (1989) the circularity of hermeneutics leads to an under standing that is much more than recreating what others know, but is a process of questioning that opens up possibilities of meaning that are then passed into the communion in The hermeneutical circle moves between the parts of experiences and the whole of the experiences. Interpretation then arises from ever widening circles of local knowledge and global thought through which the whole is conceived from parts, which are motivated by the whole (Crotty, 1998; Gee r tz, 1979; Laverty, 2003). Unlike other philosophies it is not about principles of rules for understanding, the hermeneutical circle requires reflectivity, insightfulness, sensitivity, and open mindedness (Crotty, 1998; van Manen, 1990). Reflecting on hermeneutics as a guiding philosophy, researchers begin with self reflection that leads to circles of reading, experiencing, reflective writing, and interpretation (Laverty, 2 003). Hermeneutic researchers focus not on outcomes, but on events in order to make interpretive sense of phenomena (Crotty, 1998; van Manen, 1990). An underlying principle of hermeneutics is the social co construction of knowledge, therefore these
62 inte rpretations come from participants and researchers as co researchers who use the hermeneutic al circle to construct multiple realities that help to explain the social meaning of actions of objects (Flick, 2009; Laverty, 2003). In doing so, they emphasize t he social dimension of being related to others and embedded within culture (Tuncer, 2008). The aim of hermeneutics is to create dialogical text that resonates with interpreters while evoking critical reflexivity about their own practices (Geelan & Taylor 2001), allowing the research process to contribute to pedagogical thought and action (van Manen, 1990). Through conversations about shared experience, interpretations can be constructed while questions are simultaneously being raised about those interpr etations. Hermeneutical research is an ongoing story of social and historical interpretation that is critically conscious of underlying values and assumptions (Geelan & Taylor, 2001). The spiral of hermeneutics ends only when researchers feel that in that moment they can make sensible meaning of the phenomenon that is free of inner contradiction. It is only then that they can write down the experiences and share the story (Lindseth & N orberg, 2004). Ricoeur clarifies this process. He explains that pre understandings shape stories and these stories give our experiences meaning, which in turn, give meaning to the whole story. The story, according to Ricoeur (1984), is a dialectic betwe en the past, the present, and the future. The past is the present remembering, the present is the present attending, and the future is the present expecting. This threefold present demonstrates how stories can help us see the world in new, yet grounding, ways.
63 While these hermeneutical circles lead to stories that help bring meaning to phenomena, they also remind us that those experiences are never neutral, they demonstrate both good and bad (Lindseth & Norberg, 2004). Within the hermeneutical perspect ive, our worldviews guide our actions within a hermeneutical circle (Crotty, 1998). Without reflection within hermeneutics, it would be difficult to see the undesirable practices we are a part of, but with this cyclical reflection, we can be more critical and insightful in our actions in order to change practice and lead discourse improvement. Figure 3 1 illustrates the hermeneutic al circle. This diagram depicts the spiral between local parts and global wholes of an experience that co researchers engage i n while embedded with culture. Through the hermeneutic al circle, co researchers cycle between self reflection, reading, experiencing, reflective writing, social interpretation, and then the questioning of those interpretations, which begins the hermeneuti c al circle again. By circling through hermeneutics, co are shaped by pre understanding, understanding, and new understanding. Aligning the Hermeneutical Circle and the Inquiry Cycle To further present the theoreti cal orientation of this study, the hermeneutical circle will be compared to the practitioner inquiry cycle ( Figure 3 3 ). Recall from Chapter 2 that p ractitioner inquiry is a powerful form of professional learning that Cochran Smith and Lytle (1993; 2009) define as the systematic, intentional study by educators of their own practice. Inquirers seek out change and reflect on their practice by engaging i n an inquiry cycle (Figure 3 collecting data to gain insights into their wonderings, analyzing the data, making changes in practice based on new understandings, and sharing findings with others
64 (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Through inquiry, practitioners gain a better understanding of their everyday beliefs, assumptions, and practices; consequently making more informed professional decisions while informing the practice of other educators (Oberg, 1990) For the purpo ses of this study, the hermeneutical circle has been aligned with the practitioner inquiry cycle. In this way, the hermeneutical circle beca me a part of the practitioner inquiry process through which participants in this study took part as the study sough t to answer the following question: In what ways do those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community leaning center use practitioner inquiry to understand their experiences in supporting and mediat ing teacher professional learning? The next chapter of this dissertation will describe the research methodology employed to gain insights into this question, as well as return to the relationship between the hermeneutical circle (the theoretical lens that frames this study) and the practitioner inquiry cycle (the process enacted in this study) and explicate the relationship between them.
65 Figure 3 1 The hermeneutic al circle
66 Figure 3 2 The inquiry cycle (Dana, Thomas, Boynton, 2011)
67 CHAPTER 4 METHODOLOGY Introduction This chapter addresses the methodology used to conduct this research which studied the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently As described in Chapter 3, hermeneutics was used as the theoretical framework to approach this work Keeping wit h hermeneutic traditions, I was a participant in this study along with the elementary curriculum and instruction coordinators at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Lillian and Diana ( pseudonym s). Lillian and Dian a are responsible for the professional development at the school, and most notably for this study, they were responsible for designed 21 st century community learning center that they m oved into during the 2012 2013 school year. As co participants, we met on a regular basis to study the most effective ways to condu ct professional development in the newly designed 21 st century comm unity learning center, using practitioner inquiry as a m echanism to understand professional development practices and how they were playing out for the teachers as they transitioned into the new building and the new configurations for teaching and learning within it Because we employed the process of practiti oner inquiry to study professional development in this new space, it is important to explicate the ways this process aligns with hermeneutics, the theoretical lens that drove this work. Therefore, in this chapter, I
68 begin by describing the ways hermeneuti cs and practitioner inquiry align with one another, providing a general sense of the ways this study unfolded for the reader. Next, I describe in more detail the participants in this study, Lillian, Diana, and myself. I will also describe the dual roles I played as the researcher and a participant in this dissertation study. After these descriptions, I share the details of the procedures we followed including when we met, how often, and what we did when we met with one another. I next describe our data collection methods and the data analysis and interpretation procedures that guided this work. Finally, I end the chapter by establishing the trustworthiness of this research. Practitioner Inquiry and Hermeneutics Recall from Chapter 2 that p ractitioner inquiry is a powerful form of professional learning that Cochran Smith and Lytle (1993; 2009) define as the systematic, intentional study by educators of their own practice. Inquirers seek out change and reflect on their practice by engaging i n an inquiry cycle (Figure 3 2) of posing questions or making changes in practice based on new understandings, and sharing findings with others (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Through inquiry, practitioners gain a better understanding of their everyday beliefs, assumptions, and practices; consequently making more informed professional decisions while informing the practice of other educators (Oberg, 1990). The hermeneut ical circle, as discussed in Chapter 3 moves from parts of experience to the whole experience and back and forth again to increase the depth of engagement and the understanding of experiences in order to interpret phenomena within its historical and socia l contexts and within the perspectives of all participants,
69 including the researcher (Laverty, 2003). Geertz (1979) d efines the hermeneutical circle as: a continuous dialectical tacking between the most local of local detail and the most global of global structure in such a way as to bring both into view the parts that actualize it and the parts conceived through the whole which motivates them, we seek to turn them by a sort of intelle ctual perpetual motion, into explications of one another. (Tuncer, 2008, p. 239) Hermeneutic researchers move back and forth between parts of experience and whole experience by engaging in a circle of self reflecting/questioning, reading, experiencing, ref lective writing, and dialogical/social interpretation. Throughout this circle, researchers ascertain pre understanding of the phenomenon under study through self reflection/questioning and reading, understanding of the phenomenon under study through exper iencing and reflective writing, and new understanding of the phenomenon under study through dialogic, social interpretation (Figure 3 1). The practitioner inquiry cycle and the hermeneutical circle share many similarities that were capitalized on in this s tudy to intentionally align practitioner inquiry (the process Lillian, Diana, and I used to understand professional development in the new 21 st c entury community learning center) with the hermeneutic al circle (the theoretical lens that drove my work as the researcher in this setting). The alignment of the practitioner inquiry cycle and the hermeneutic al circle is illustrated in Figure 4 1, and I describe the ways the practitioner inquiry cycle and hermeneutic al circle converged with one another in the work Lillian, Diana and I engaged in throughout this study in the remainder of this section. T he hermeneutical circle begins with preconceptions within the parts and the whole of an experience. When considering preconceptions, participants in this study
70 consi der ed their personal histories and assumptions of teacher professional development surrounding their preparation for teaching in a newly designed 21 st century history. I n a similar fashion, practitioners reflect on real world teaching dilemmas and problems of practice at the outset of an inquiry cycle to define the focus of the inquiry. are passionate about exploring (Dana, 2013) starting inquiry, practitioners ensure their inquiries are personally relevant and contextually meaningful. Through these reflections, questions begin to develop. The & Yendol Hoppey, 2009) in the inquiry cycle are personal and highly situated; questioning at this stage in the hermeneutical circle, while often specific and pragmatic, edded At this stage, participants ask how history will impact the phenomena of a new experience and analyze their roles within this new experience For this study, for example, participants ask ed: when they are transitioning into a new architectural space designed to facilitate collab orative teaching and learning, and how do we, as p rofession al d After reflecting on the questions generated during preconception in the h ermeneutical circle, participants then act by investigating new data and new insight like practitioner inquirers do in the data collection stage of the inquiry cycle. Hermeneutical data collection consists of explicit readings of texts and prior events th at lead to experiencing new events, and then reflectively writing about the actions that took place
71 at the new events. In this study for example, participants carefully read through documents gathered in past professional development experiences, which le d to the planning and facilitation of new professional development opportunities. After each professional development experience, the participants met to discuss their written reflections on the event and worked to better make sense of the effectiveness o f professional development for teachers working in the newly designed school space. The hermeneutical understandings garnered from these readings, experiences, and reflections lead to the social construction of interpreting the events to come to new unders tanding. R eflect ions on new interpretations of the experience and how this impacts original questions, is similar to what is done in data analysis in the inquiry cycle. In the case of this study, for example, the data gathered in professional development and reflective writings helped the participants make systematic and measured decisions for moving forward with professional development that would better meet the needs of the teachers they work with in the newly designed school space. Next, like the acti on phase in inquiry, participants in hermeneutical studies shift perspective and change practice based on the interpretations they have made. These changes impact the whole, as systemic change, and parts, by specific changes in questions a nd preconceptions are formed. Participants have added to history and moved to new perceptions. In the case of this study, the action phase was an essential element in maintaining meaningful professional development that supported and mediated teacher gro wth and development in the 21 st century space. Having analyzed data to stand behind their decisions, actions on the inquiry cycle, as informed by the hermeneutic al
72 circle, were quickly accepted by school administration and more clearly understood by P.K. Yonge teachers. An important step in the inquiry cycle is the sharing of findings with others. Hermeneutical traditions also emphasize sharing (Crotty, 1998), therefore when these new perspectives are formed, participants can share what they have learned in the hopes of s tirring new insight for others. The participants in this study, for example, continuously shared their work with the faculty at their school throughout the experiences of professional development in their first year in the new space. The y also shared a summary and analysis of their work at the end of their inquiry with the school faculty and with local university partners. Additionally, the participants have submitted state and national conference proposals to share their work with colle agues in the more global field of teacher education. It is in this stage that new hermeneutic and inquiry cycles begin because in the act of sharing, new insights develop into new ideas that will cause more questions and bring about the need for further i nquiry. Th e inquiry cycle and the hermeneutic al circle have been aligned in this study. Since th e focus of this study is on practitioner inquiry as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and professional development in a new environment that uses space differently, and because this study is theoretically oriented by hermeneutics, the two curriculum coordinators and I were co researchers within two complementary layers of research occurring simultaneously In the first layer we utilize d hermeneutics to study the ways in which the two curriculum coordinators use d inquiry as a mechanism for supporting and mediating professional development in the new school space. The second layer of research is a cycle of practitioner inquiry that occurr ed
73 with in the hermeneutical exploration In this layer of research, we studied the ways that the professional development we were planning and facilitating was supporting and mediating teaching practices as they occur red in a newly designed school space. As a result of these two layers, the inquiry cycle and the hermeneutical circle have been aligned to gain deeper understanding of the findings that emerge d from each layer of research in this study. Research Participants Lillian attended P.K. Yonge Develop mental Research School in kindergarten partner unive rsity special education, Lillian landed her dream job as a third grade teac her at P.K. Yonge. Lillian taught second, third, and fifth grades, as well as third fifth grade instructional support for eight years d curriculum coordinator in 2012. As a teacher at P.K. Yonge, Lillian was introduced to inquiry. Her inquiries focused on studying self regulation strategies for a student with Syndrome, and on finding al ternatives to traditional grading pract ices Lillian found such value in inquiring in to her practices that she decided to pursue a doctoral degree and conduct an action research dissertation on self regulated learning for students who received Tier 3 instruction in reading new architectural space Lillian anticipates earning her doctorate in the summer of 2013. Diana teache r in an elementary school in a neighboring town to P.K. Yonge. She then taught first and third grades at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School before becoming
74 an elementary curriculum coordinator. Diana also continued her graduate studies while teachi was introduced to inquiry. When she began her teaching career, she remained an active teacher inquirer within her own classrooms, studying differentiated instruction in math and al ternatives to traditional grading practices. As Diana moved into her role as curriculum coordinator, she discovered the joy and value of engaging in collaborative inquiries with her colleagues. I degree in curriculum and instruction. I taught third and fourth grade in a Florida elementary school became an avid teacher researcher in my elementary school class room studying innovative teaching approaches for reading and writing instruction So passionate about inquiry I coached other teachers through the process, used inquiry as a pedagogical approach to teaching my students, and decided to pursue a doctoral degree in order to study practitioner inquiry more closely. This dissertation study is the culmination of that doctoral work. Researcher Roles: Inquirer and Hermeneutic Researcher As explained earlier in this chapter the cycle of practitioner inquiry a li gns naturally with hermeneutics (Figure 4 1). Therefore, as Lillian, Diana and I were engaging in a cycle of practitioner inquiry we were simultaneously engaging in the hermeneutic al circle According to hermeneutic traditions, therefore, I had two intricately interwoven roles in this study. In my first, I was a co inquirer. By engaging in cycles of wondering, data collection, and data analysis, Lillian, Diana, and I reflected on professiona l
75 development both historically and immediately. Using past lived experiences, observational notes, and reflections of the professional development offered to teachers at P.K. Yonge, we critically analyzed professional development practices in order to ma ke systematic and informed decisions for weekly professional learning and for future goal setting. As a co inquirer, I helped to take action on our systematic studies by planning for, and when appropriate, taking active roles in, the facilitation of profe ssional learning. In this role, my focus remained tightly connected to part of the professional development. With this focus I could bind myself to our local perspectives of the immediate professional development facilitation in the new space. In my seco nd role, I served as a hermeneutically oriented researcher. In this role, my focus remained more on the global, whole perspective of understand ing the experiences of supporting and mediating teacher professional learning in the newly designed school envir onment. By taking this more global view, I could better distance myself for greater perspective as I observed professional development in action, taking careful field notes guided by our inquiry, professional development pedagogy, and teacher learning. E ach week I analyzed the notes I had taken, synthesized across emerging findings, and reflected on the whole experience through emails with Lillian and Diana (Figure 4 2). We then took these reflective notes into our inquiry conversations to guide our work with teachers in professional development. The work I did as a hermeneutically oriented researcher informed my work as a co inquirer, which then fed back into my hermeneutic research. These dialectic interactions allowed me to both bind and distance myse lf from the practices and effects of professional development as Lillian, Diana, and I studied, planned and facilitated it.
76 The following sections will provide richer detail into the experience of the relationship of Lillian, Diana, and me as we used inquiry as a worldview to move within the hermeneutic al circle, through both parts and wholes of the experience of professional learning in the new space. Lillian and Diana were familiar with practitioner inquiry before our study began therefore I used t he language associated with practitioner inquiry most often as we worked with one another during the seven months of this study, and subsequently regularly use the language of practitioner inquiry to frame the reporting of our work together Procedures As Lillian, Diana, and I aligned and used the inquiry cycle and the hermeneutic al circle, we met early in the school year to determine the focus and procedures of our research on mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in their newly designed 21 st century community learning center. To frame our inquiry we asked: What are the professional development needs of teachers when they are transitioning into a new architectural space designed to facilitate collab orative teaching and learning, and how d o we, as p rofession al d evelopers, meet these needs? To gain insight into our research question Lillian, Diana, and I met for one two hours on Tuesdays to reflect on the professional development opportunities we were designing and enacting with the teach ers each week We looked through observational field notes, our researcher reflective email logs, that had been shared meeting agendas, and previous professional development planning documents. In addition, we took the history of the tea development into consideration, and spent time discussing teacher and student need the goals of the new space, and the philosophies behind purposes.
77 With these reflections, we planned for professi onal development during these Tuesday meetings professional development opportunities. We prepared big questions, planned activities developed agendas and presentations, and made lists for gat hering supplies. It was often during this immediate planning that we communicated with teachers for what to expect and what to prepare for the week in relationship to the professional development time they would share with us The second kind of planning we did was future oriented. In order to ensure we were deliberately discussing the ways in which the new space might support or limit teacher and student learning in the long term, we dedicated some of our time together to talk about the overall progress of professional development in the new space and how we envisioned it contributing to teacher and student learning in the future. With the mission of P.K. Yonge and the new space in the forefront of our minds, we set big goals for moving the teachers tow ard these objectives with a b alance of support and pressure. During each professional development opportunity, Lillian and/or Diana took the lead in facilitating, often including other teachers in the process. I attended professional development sessions, contributing when appropriate and taking notes throughout. At the end of each week, I sent synthesized versions of my notes, with reflections, to Lillian and Diana (Figure 4 2) These notes and reflections were then used to inform our practices in profe ssional development moving forward. A s co researchers in this study, Lillian Diana and I work ed together to continuously circle between global perspectives and personal reflections (Crotty, 1998; Koro Ljungberg, et al ., 2009) by applying the inquiry cycl e to the hermeneutical circle.
78 In doing so, we could d econtextualize thought from practice while continuously returning that thought to praxis in order to become culturally self aware and to articulate our work in relation to others at both local and glob al levels (van Manen, 1990) By conducting inquiry within a hermeneutical study we were able to ground our work in the our history while openly and dynamically experiencing professional learning in the new space as we were living it through a movement in and out of the horizons of past, present, and future (Gadamer, 1989; Lindseth & Norberg, 2004). Our work deeply impact ed members of P.K. Yonge, including administrators teachers, and students who did not participat e meetings, but were influenced by the professional development we planned for, facilitated, and worked to continuously improve. Reflecting on hermeneutics as a guiding philosophy, it was important for us to share what we are learning, not for the transfer of knowledge from one group to another, but for the creation of new ideas, for shifts in practice, and for transformative thoughts and actions for schooling, teaching, and learning (Rundell, 1995). Through inquiry and the hermeneutical circle, we were abl e to both distance and bind ourselves to the experiences of professional learning in the new space so that the events could be interpreted and transformative (Geelan & Taylor, 2001). Data Collection The primary source of understanding in modern hermeneutic s comes from the interaction of historical and cultural contexts. Hermeneutics, when used with systematically and intentionally reflecting on the experiences of schooling, teachin g, and learning (Crotty, 1998; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). In doing so, practitioner
79 inquirers have the opportunity to reveal the indirect meaning beneath more obvious ones (Crotty, 1998). Hermeneutical researchers focus not on outcomes, but on events i n order to make interpretive sense of a phenomenon (Crotty, 1998; van Manen, 1990), therefore data collection in this study reflect the events that help ed meaning develop from newly designe d 21 st centu ry community learning center. The meetings where the two curriculum coordinators and I m et to discuss new insights, critically analyze the work of our group, and reflect on current and historical implications to our work, serve d as data collection resources. Additionally, artifacts from our inquiry including data collected, data analysis, and inquiry findings were collected as data for this study. Lillian and Diana were also interviewed about the ir preconceptions of the proces s es of facilitating professional learning in the newly designed space and perceptions of the ways in which teacher professional learning would be experienced. As a participant in the study, I too carefully reflected on my preconceptions of inquiry, profes sional development, 21 st century learning, and my perceptions of the new space and of teacher learning there The interviews I did with Lillian and Diana were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. In addition to these data collection techniques, I also gat her ed field notes informal interviews, and photographs while attending and observing professional development facilitated by the study participants, and maintained reflective email communication logs throughout my time as a member of the P.K. Yonge commun ity. Finally, historical artifacts of professional development at P.K. Yon ge (i.e., interview transcripts and professional development artifacts
80 to the new space ( i.e., blueprints, interview transcripts gathered before the move professional development artifacts from preparation of teachers to work in the new space, no tes from planning meetings ) were used to gain deeper insight into the their transition to a newly designed 21 st century community learning center. Data Analysis Hermeneutical data analysis seeks to surpass original understandings of participants, researchers, and observers in order to gain more developed understanding of beginning knowledge and apply it in new and different ways (Okrent, 1998). Because hermeneutics makes intentional links to the past, it is possible to interpret lived experiences and create bonds with traditions to inform current and future practice (Crotty, 1998; Rundell, 1995). Wit h this depth of understanding, the data analysis of hermeneutical studies works to revise old thought by entering it with critical new direction in order to clarify meaning of phenomena through individual and social levels within historical and cultural co ntexts (Laverty, 2003; Lindseth & Norberg, 2004; Rich, 1990). Hermeneutics is concerned with a cycle of decontextualizing thought from practice while re turning that thought to praxis so that new meaning can be found as the world is constructed through exis ting experience and history (Geelan & Taylor, 2001 ; Laverty, 2003). For Gadamer (1989) the circularity of hermeneutics leads to an understanding that is much more than recreating what others know, but is a process of questioning that opens up possibilitie s of meaning that are then passed into the
81 Data analysis for this study, therefore, was an iterative process in wh ich the co researchers moved within the hermeneutical circle, between the parts of experiences of professional development in the new school space and the whole of the experiences. Interpretation arose from ever widening circles of local knowledge and global thought through which the whole is conceived from parts, which are motivated by the whole (Crotty, 1998; Geetz, 1979; Laverty, 2003). Unlike other philosophies it wa s not about principles of rules for understanding in this study as t he hermeneutical circle required reflectivity, insightfulness, sensitivity, and open mindedness (Crotty, 1998; van Manen, 1990). Reflecting on hermeneutics as a guiding philosophy, we beg an this study with self reflect ion that led to circles of reading, experiencing, reflective writing, and interpretation (Laverty, 2003). Throughout the seven months Lillian, Diana, and I engaged in the systematic study of professional development in their newly designed 21 st century com munity learning center, we spiraled through numerous hermeneutic al circles. While these circles of analysis were inextricably linked, I will pull apart the process in an effort to simplify the ways in which we used hermeneutics to analyze the experience o f mediating and supporting teacher growth and developme nt in the new school space (F igure 4 3). We began each analysis circle by reading our reflective emails, field notes, interview transcripts, professional development artifacts, historical artifacts, a nd relevant literature. Through the analysis of these readings we were able to process each part of the professional development experiences within the whole experience. By rereading and critically reflecting on text that was generated by different peopl e (i.e., Lillian, Diana, me, P.K. Yonge teachers, educational researchers) we gained new perspectives to the
82 experiences as we were living them. Using these readings to inform our work, we then prepared for and facilitated professional development. Our a nalysis continued through the experience of facilitating professiona l development because of the unique duality in the position I took as a co participant in the experience and as a hermeneutically oriented researcher, observing and taking notes. L iving the experience as a co participant in professional development activities at the same time I was observing and taking field notes on the experience as an outside observer allowed me to analyze the mediation and support of teacher professional development b y viewing it from past, present, and future perspectives. I did so by applying what we had learned so far, paying careful attention to the ways professional development was currently being effective or ineffective in the experience, and at the same time p rojecting into the ways professional development would need to change in future experiences based on these perspectives. After each professional development experience, I engaged in reflective writing analyses by synthesizing field notes from the experien ce and writing reflective summaries and interpretations to Lillian and Diana through email so that they could also gain the perspectives of the outside point of view These reflective notes allowed them to be completely present while leading professional development activities, but to still benefit from the outside perspective I could bring through these analyses. The reflective writing allowed us to analyze the experience together, through each of our unique perspectives, after it had taken place. We cou ld then use these readings, shared experiences, and reflective writings to interpret the events of professional development to that point in order to move our professional development work in critical new directions. These interpretations were articulated in two ways: through email and
83 through informal interviews before, after, and during professional development experiences (which were recorded as part of the field notes). This spiral of hermeneutical analysis ended when we felt that in that moment we co uld make sensible meaning that was free of inner contradiction of the ways in which those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community leaning center were using practitioner inquiry to understand the ir experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning It was then that I could begin a summative analysis for writing down the experiences in order to share the story (Lindseth & Norberg, 2004). In the summative analysis of this study, I read and reread all of the data collected during my seven months at P.K. Yonge, often inviting Lillian and Diana into the experience through meetings, emails, and the co production of our final inquiry documents (which can be found in Appendix A, B, and C). As I read, I worked to pull apart pre understanding, understanding, and new understanding for participants in this study. I then reorganized data based on these horizons and carefully analyzed the interpretations Lillian, Diana, and I had made during each horizon. It was from these analyses that I was able to come to more global findings and implications for this research. Through the dialectical interaction of distancing and binding the interpreter and the meaning, knowledge becomes more abst ract and more concrete by separating researchers from what is known while uniting them more closely with what is known (Geelan & Taylor, 2001). The spiral of iterative analyses we engaged in continuously move d us in and out of horizons of the global, loca l, and individual in order to fuse
84 history, experience, content, context, researcher, and participant This cycle allowed us to share only the best understanding we were able to produce in that moment (Lindseth & Norbet, 2004; Laverty, 2003). By sharing our work with others, as I am doing through this dissertation, our e xperiences are no longer just foreign events in are modes for transmitting meaning through the intention of the participants, the relationship between the partic ipants and the reader and the relevance of that experience to others (Crotty, 1998). Establishing Trustworthiness Validity, or trustworthiness, has been carefully considered in this study in order to come to credible research results (Lincoln & Guba, 1985 ). To ensure that the research methods described above are trustworthy, valid, and credible, several techniques have been applied including, prolonged engagement, triangulation, peer debriefing, and member checking. When researchers have prolonged engagem ent in the field, they are better able to establish trust, understand the culture, and confirm findings (Glesne, 2011). By spending seven months (August 2012 March 2013) at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, I was able to become a trusted partner in the professional development culture of the school. By engaging with the two participants in this study for an average of two days each week during those seve n months to prepar e for, facilitat e and systematically study the mediation and support of te acher professional learning in the newly designed school space, I could continuously and systematically circle through both inquiry and hermeneutical cycles of understanding and analysis alo as a result.
85 During the extensive time I spent at P.K. Yonge with Lillian and Diana, we used several methods of triangulation to further ensure trustworthiness. Triangulation can be achieved through multiple forms of data and multiple analysts analyzing that data ( Gle sne, 2011). As described in detail above, data collected in this study included historical documents, field notes and artifacts from meetings and professional development, formal and informal interviews with Lillian and Diana, and our email communication. The three of us carefully and critically analyzed this data (as described in detail above) as we cycled through multiple inquiry and hermeneutic cycles. Both data triangulation and analyst triangulation allowed us to check for consistency throughout our research (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). In addition to the triangulation methods used in this study, peer debriefing was also an important aspect of the work. By stepping outside of the field to consult with other knowledgeable professionals in order to analyze data, test hypotheses, and gain new perspective (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), qualitative research studies gain increased trustworthiness. While engaging in fieldwork, and while conducting formative and summative analyses of the research, I frequently consulted with my dissertation committee chair, Dr. Nancy Dana and methodologist, Dr. Mirka Koro L jungberg Their extensive expertise in practitioner inquiry and hermeneutics, respectively, helped to better ensure I was coming to trustworthy results. Finally a nother method for establishing trustworthiness in qualitative studies is through member checking. Member checking takes place as researchers share data and interpretations with research participants to be sure they are being accurately represented (Gle sne, 2011; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). In this study, member checking
86 was used throughout the data collection formative analysis, and inquiry reporting process, as Lillian, Diana, and I were co participants in the study. In addition, while completing the summative analysis and final dissertation report, I consulted with Lillian and Diana to confirm events, facts, and understandings. Concl usions This chapter addresse d the methodology used to conduct this research wh ich studied the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently Since hermeneutics was used as the theoretical framework to approach this work, this chapter began with a description of the ways hermeneutics and practitioner inquiry align with one another. Next it described the participants and explained the two interwoven researcher roles taken in this approach to the research. After these descriptions, I shared the procedures we followed described our data collection methods as well as the data analysis and interpretation procedures that guided this work and finally, established the trustworthiness of this research The remaining c hapters in this dissertation report the findings of this study. chapters have been organized by pre understanding (Chapter 5), understanding (Chapter 6), and new underst anding (Chapter 7). As Ricoeur (1984) explains, pre understandings shape stories and these stories help us come to understandings of our experiences, which in turn, gives meaning to the whole story and helps us to develop new understandings Hence, the s they learned to mediate and support teacher growth and development in the new school
87 space, are told in this dissertation within these horizons of past, present, and future (Gadamer, 1989) As Lillia n and Diana needed to come to understanding s of professional development that could support and mediate teacher growth and development in a newly designed 21 st century school space with ideas and terms that presuppose d the experience of working there (Crot ty, 1998; Heidegger, 1962; Rundell, 1995) Chapter 5 provides understandings. Representing pre understandings, this chapter includes a detailed description of the space, as well as descriptions of the ways the new building was conceptualized and planned, the vision participants created for teaching and learning within it, and the professional learning opportunities Lillian and Diana enacted with the teachers in preparation for the move into the new building. Onc e moved into the new building, Chapter 6 shares the understandings that emerged through Lillian, Diana, and my use of practitioner inquiry as a mechanism for untangling the complexity of professional development in the new school environment in order to better support the faculty as they worked to make sense of the new space and new teaching approaches the space encourages. In the first part of this chapter, I reconstruct the inquiry experience that Lillian, Diana and I had during the first year in the n ew school building. In the second part of the chapter, I analyze our inquiry experience through my perspective as a hermeneutically oriented researcher. When insights go beyond original intentions or knowledge, as they did for Lillian and Diana through t heir inquiry into professional development in the new school environment, new understandings can advance the experiences of participants,
88 interpreters, and outside readers of these experiences (Crotty, 1998). Therefore, Chapter 7 will share the new unders tanding that emerged from this study for Lillian, Diana, and me, and for the field of education. It will discuss the ways in which Lillian and Diana utilized inquiry in unexpected ways and how their professional development work in the first year in their new school space can inform the 21 st century school reform agenda.
89 Figure 4 1. Aligning the hermeneutical circle and the practitioner inquiry cycle
90 Figure 4 2 Reflective email
91 Figure 4 3 Analysis p roces s Read : Reflective Emails, Field Notes, Current and Historical School Artifacts, and Relevant Literature Experience : Plan and Facilitate Professional Development Engage in Reflective Writing : Synthesize Field Notes and Engage in Reflective Email Dialogue Interpret : Use readings, shared experiences, and writing to interpret the events in order to better inform the next circle.
92 CHAPTER 5 CREATING THE SPACE FOR 21 ST CENTURY LEARNING (PRE UNDERSTANDING) Introduction The purpose of this study was to understand the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently. Based on field notes, interviews, and historical documents from the school, this chapter provides a rich describing the newly d esigned 21 st century community learning center. This chapter will Lillian and Diana those responsible for the professional growth and development of teachers, helped pr epare the faculty for making sense of working in the new space and the new teaching approaches the space encourages. The hermeneutic al circle asserts that to come to understanding of a phenomenon, one must come into that understanding with ideas and terms that presuppose the phenomenon trying to be understood (Crotty, 1998; Heidegger, 1962; Rundell, 1995). Hence, t his chapter provides understanding. It provides an overview of the context, but also demonstrates t he necessity of this study, as professional development was critical for learning to work within the new environment in ways that would transform education to better prepare A Newly Designed 21 st Century Community Learning Ce nter For many years the educators at P.K Yonge Developmental Research School were frustrated that the traditional spaces where they were teaching students were no
93 longer conducive to the types of learning students needed to be successful global citizens i n the 21 st century (Darling Hammond, 2010; Dede, 2009; Prenskey, 2001) Wanting to move beyond the institutionalized school structures that were inhibiting collaborative, interactive, and creative learning, they built a new school with innovators in archi tectural design to transform education and better prepare students for The 2012 2013 school year was the first year teachers and students moved into the newly designed 21 st century community leaning center. The new one of a kind buildi ng was designed to promote collaboration in order to meet the needs of every child (Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001) In the new space, elementary school teachers and students work together in learning communities. Rather than typical grade level and classroo m structures, P.K. Yonge students and teachers in kindergarten and first grade; second and third grades; and fourth and fifth grades each have their own wing of the coll aborate in all teaching and learning. Within these learning communities, seven teachers share the teaching responsibility for their 108 132 students. Since teachers no long er work within the confines of traditional school spaces, where one teacher is assigned to 18 25 students different things from different people in different ways at different times and in different air, Fielding & Lackney, 2009, p. 27). In this way, instruction has the potential to be personalized and deepened in ways traditional structures could never support. The level of collaboration between teachers is
94 completely different than it was before enabling teachers to collaborate throughout the teaching day to systematically and openly discuss teaching practices, analyze student data, plan lessons, try co teaching strategies experiment with new teaching configurations and share working norms. S ince collaboration is at such a high level, teachers can focus on their practice in a completely different way, and as a result can better ensure every child in their learning community is getting individualized, meaningful, and authentic learning opportun ities every day (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001; Schmoker, 2004) The architecture of the new school building supports these high levels of collaboration and personalized learning. Unlike traditional school architecture with equ al sized classrooms connected by hallways, where every teacher is assigned one st century community learning center has three learning community spaces connected by open, common areas. Figures 5 1 and 5 2 are the blueprints for both floors of the new building. On these blueprints, the floor plans for the three small learning community spaces and common shared spaces can be seen. stude a deep sense of warmth, respectfulness, and community ownership (Nair, et al ., 2009) The learning communities consist of small, medium, and large learning studios, whi ch, unlike traditional classrooms, are not owned by single teachers or for single activities. The learning studios are designed to be flexible. They all have transparent, soundproof walls, and furniture that is easily moved and transformed to suit many l earning
95 purposes. Some of the learning studios have doors, while others have openings that lead to a large space shared by all members of the community Figures 5 3, 5 4, and 5 5 show different configurations and uses of the learning studio spaces. Figu re 5 3 shows a whole group lesson in one of the larger learning studios in the kindergarten and first grade community where furniture has been pushed against the walls to allow for the students and teacher to gather in a circle on the floor. Figure 5 4 sh ows students and a teacher working in a small group in one of the smaller learning studios. Figure 5 5 shows another configuration in a whole group lesson where tables have been pushed together for small group collaboration and to allow for more space for movement. There are no hallways in the learning community spaces Instead the learning studios are connected with a large, open space designed for large group gatherings, for small groups of students and teachers to cluster, or for students to work au tonomously. As the furniture in learning studios is flexible, so is the furniture in this larger, open space, enabling on the spot transformations to immediately meet learning situations as they arise. This space also houses shared materials, such as cla ssroom library books, laptops, and office supplies for easy access throughout the day. Figures 5 6, 5 7, and 5 8 show examples of how each community uses their large, open spaces. Figures 5 9, 5 10, and 5 11 show the ways in which the space allows for fl exible movement in order to provide individualized learning environments for every learner. Another unique feature in each learning community is the large, shared teacher workspace. A picture of the second and third grade teacher workspace can be seen in Figure 5 by glass so that teachers can always see out to the spaces surrounding it in the
96 community. In this space, teachers join together to prepare for lessons, discuss th eir students, and engage in professional learning. Through the transparent walls, they can can observe students as they work with other teachers, other students, or indepe ndently. Likewise, students and teachers can see into the teacher workspace from the surround ing community spaces (Figure 5 prominent in the community, it is more visible and public, which demonstrates shared learning for all members of the learning community, all children and adults (Dillon, 2007; Fullan, 1993) By moving into this newly designed 21 st century community learning center, the spaces where P.K. Yonge elementary teachers and students work now supports the kin d of learning that educators at P.K. Yonge are trying to change. The Vision for Teaching and Learning in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center The new school space at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School was established with careful consideration to st century learning. For nearly seven years, P.K. Yonge educators and students worked with the architectural firm Fielding and Nair International and interior designers from BRPH Companies Inc., to help define the ways in which they thought their school could transform education and better prepare students for the 21 st century. Knowing students needed more control over what and how they learn, and that they needed strong collaboration models to accomplish the real differen tiated, student driven learning they wanted, they decided on the community learning center model (Darling Hammond, 2010; Dede, 2009; Prenskey, 2010)
97 Before moving into the building, Lillian shared the importance of changing the experience of school for kids: The new space represents a new way of teaching and learning that is far overdue. It's time to do something different. I could go on and on about the way kids are different now than they were fifty years ago, or even ten years ago. You can actually watch the impact school is having on kids in these traditional settings you can see kids coming to school and powering down. And then as you see them leaving school you see their energy powered back up because now, after school they can learn and imme rse themselves in things and in ways that they want to be doing. It is our duty to change education to match these kids. We're not doing them right by continuing to teach them in this traditional model. In the new building we can do right by kids and we can do right by teachers too, because in the new building, teachers will be able to truly collaborate. Teachers will be collaborating to help all kids and in different ways. This is an opportunity for kids to receive real differentiated instruction. I'm excited to see that for kids. I mean, learn in a way that makes you feel good, in a way that you need to learn! Let us try to help you in that way, not make you fit into our mo ld ( Lillian Interview) The new space was designed to ensure students have amp le opportunity to learn about and explore the world in ways that respects their interests, intelligence, and social wellbeing (Darling Hammond, 2010; Darling Hammond Barron Pearson Schoenfeld, Stage, Zimmerman, Cervetti & Tilson 2008; Prenskey, 2010) By working in learning communities with in flexible spaces, teachers are no longer the experts standing in front of a room telling children what it is they need to know. Instead, teachers are facilitators working on teams of professionals to personalize learning experiences for students that are more authentic, applicable, and engaging for the 21 st century (Reeve, 2006) In the newly designed space, students are able to work with teams of teachers and peers to set individualized learning goals based on s chool standards and personal interests that will push their academic growth and development They can then make decisions about who they work with (i.e., alone, in pairs, in small groups), where they work (i.e., in quiet places in noisy spaces, outdoors,
98 work (i.e., paper and pencil or laptop), and often even in what medium (art, drama, music, multimedia, oral presentation, etc.). regulation and effective goal setting was one of the most important goal s for teachers as they moved into the new building (Hill, in press). In an interview for a video posted on Fielding and Nair Lillian Diana We re ally embarked on this grand experiment to figure out how to prepare world is being invented, reinvented and innovated at such a rapid pace that if we can work with our learners on our ca mpus today to know how to organize themselves around goals and how to monitor themselves as learners in accomplishing those goals then we know that they will graduate from here better prepared to lead and to work in innovative and creative ways that can make a real contribution to the future of our world. We needed to think about the ways in which space is organized so that it can support the flexibility that needs to happen around teaching and learning. ( Fielding and Nair, 2012a ) P.K. Yonge educators kn ew that by working as teams of professionals personali zing learning for students they must reconsider not only the ways in which they can flexibly use space to change the experience of school for their students, but also for their work as teachers in the 21 st century. Since they were preparing students for collaborative self regulation and goal setting, it no longer made sense for teachers to isolate themselves in single classrooms with single groups of children (Darling Hammond & Bransford, 2005). Instead, in the new space, they envisioned seven teachers collaborating to meet the needs of all students. To do so, they plan lessons alongside one another, for the firs t time observing other teachers teaching. They share teaching responsibilities and resources, are able to conduct flexible student grouping, and have opportunities to confer about student need instantaneously, as need arises.
99 The new space allows commun ities of teachers to advocate for the teaching and learning needs of their entire communities. One teacher reflects on the impact of their 21 st century space on teaching in a learning community in the video on Fielding and Nair International experience to be able to really live in a space where the other teachers can influence my teaching, and I can influence their teaching. We all have other and gain from the strength of others. (F ielding and Nair International 20 1 2a ) In sum, t he newly designed community learning center was constructed to allow educators at P.K. Yonge to actualize a vision for effective 21 st century schooling. This vision included students working with teams of teachers and peers in a large, flexib le space to set individualized learning goals based upon school standards and personal interest and subsequently engage in a variety of activities to meet their goals. Teachers would no longer be responsible for an individual classroom of students but wou ld collaborate with one another across two grade levels in order to have more flexibility in designing instructional activities that are personalized and meet the particular needs of every learner across two grade levels, with the ultimate goal of providin g opportunities for students to develop the skills they will need for success in the 21 st century. Preparing for Teaching and Learning in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center Moving towards a new way of teaching in a new architectural space that depart space they had occupied for years necessitated a strong focus on teacher professional
100 coor dinators, Lillian and Diana were responsible for the professional support and development of teachers at P.K. Yonge. During preparation for the new building, Lillian and Diana begi nning around conceptualizing the building and then working with teams of teachers Diana Interview). They were on the initial planning team, meeting with architects and interior designers, and they facilitated discussions with teachers and parents to gain the perspectives and include the voices of the whole community. As soon as the plans for the space began to materialize and they could start envisioning what it would look like for teaching and learning, Lillian and Diana began profes sional One significant change in teaching that teachers knew to expect in the new space was that all teaching and learning would now occur within learning communities, two traditional grade levels sharing one wing of the school in order to collaborate and differentiate teaching and learning based on student interest and need. In the video on of or ganizing the school in learning communities: If we have students and teachers continuing to work in isolated ways and individual classrooms where the teacher stands at the front of the classroom and tells students what it is they need to know, and then stu Despite an articulation of the importance of w orking in learning communities, teachers had trepidations about t he new concept. Lillian explained: so
101 Lillian In terview) Hence, working in K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 learning communities posed a challenge in thinking about the transition to the new space. As Lillian explained: who have a certain way of thinking about school because they went to And how to really get adults to play nice together in ways that they have door and Lillian Interview) To begin tackling this challenge early on, Lillian and Diana knew they needed to find a way for the teachers to work productively with one another when they occupied the new building space as well as in preparation for the move. Drawing on the literature on effective teacher professional development practices, they introduced a concept that aligned with the learning community model the new building was designed to su pport. As seven teachers and approximately 115 learners worked together in a K/1, 2/3, or 4/5 learning community in the new building, teachers would work together in professional learning communities (PLCs) defined as small groups of teachers who meet regularly to engage in critical, reflective dialogue about their teaching practices. Research on professional learning communities noted the promise this approach to professional learning held (Vescio, Adams & Ross, 2008), as teachers come together to eng age in highly structured meetings organized through protocols and procedures that ensure their conversations and efforts stay productively focused on student lea rning (DuFour, 2004; Hord, 1997; Yendol Hoppey & Dana, 2010). Professional lear ning communiti es (DuFour, 2003; 2004; Many, 2009; Pappano, 2007; Schmoker, 2005) became the main container for professional development at P.K
102 Yonge as they prepared to move into the new space. Teachers from each grade level, and at times, across two grade levels, bega n to frequently meet for the purposes of professional learning. Together they engaged in critical dialogue about how they would work in their K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 learning communities. While they understood that the K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 learning community struc ture of that statement and used their p rofessional learning c ommunity meeting time to do so. Lillian attended PLC meetings and explained the emerging vision for colla borative teaching in the K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 learning community structure: stuck in a classroom with a teacher who maybe you don't like, or a teacher isn't stuck with kids that she or he knows that they aren't able to reach. I see the kids needs being able to be met because if, in one classroom you've got some kids that are working on fluency, and this classroom has some kids working on fluency, and this classroom has some kids work ing on fluency, why not pull all those kids together and one teacher does that, and then these two other teachers are freed up to make sure that these other kids' needs are being met. To me, it's just more efficient and so, when we're more efficient with o ur resources, then kids' needs can be met better. Instead of one teacher in a room just meeting with these kids who need fluency and everybody else doesn't get met with. Their needs will be able to be met so much more. ( Lillian Interview) With the vision teaching in shared spaces that allows for them to share students, teachers also used their PLC meetings to renegotiate traditional teaching responsibilities. In the new building, they may no longer teach a core set of students all of the subject areas all day long. They may instead focus on certain skill sets, and changing groups of students, while flexibly adapting responsibilities every day to the needs of the community. This idea of fl exible and shared responsibility brought with it a lot of tension. Lillian shared:
103 The I am responsible for these students. You are I 'm not T here has to be some give there We don't know what it is yet. ( Lillian Interview) By using a p rofessional learning c ommunity structure for teachers to meet and discuss the impending move and what it would mean to restructure traditional individual clas srooms into one cross grade level learning community where a number of teachers would share responsibility for a large group of students, Lillian and Diana created the space and opportunity for teachers to begin to envision their new way of work and come to a richer shared pre understanding of what a K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 learning community might look like. Through their PLC meetings, teachers agreed that by implementing the K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 community structure, they were: doing right by kids and doing right by teachers too, because in the new twenty two kids all day. You will almost be forced in this ar chitecture to truly collaborate ( Lillian Interview). While they knew that collaboration was going to look different than they had ever experienced it before, and that it would be challenging, they were more confident after forming professional bui Lillian Interview). As teachers were able to begin to envision the ways a K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 learning community might function and became more confident in the potential benefits of collab orating with their colleagues to better meet the needs of a greater number of students, two things became very apparent. First, if the goal of working in learning communities was to better meet the learning needs of each individual student, then it would be imperative for teachers to have a system to understand and assess individual learner needs. Second, a new way of work and a new space would necessitate the
104 need to revisit classroom management and teach students how to function in the new space. To add ress these two emerging professional development needs, Lillian and Diana helped teachers shift the gaze of their PLC meeting times to content that would be useful as they moved into the new building. Specifically, the PLCs began studying Assessment for L earning (Chappuis, Stiggins, Chappuis, & Arter, 2011) and the Responsive Classroom (Denton, 2007 ). Assessment for Learning Lillian and Diana discuss their reasoning for introducing the concept of Assessment for Learning into PLC meeting times: (In the new building), our eventual goals are really around this idea of personalized learning and helping kids self select for that, and how that makes sense. ( Diana Interview) opportunity to learn differently and to be learning in ways that are going to prepare them for the work force. Now, how do we do that? There's so many is mainly about, what are your learning targ ets and how are you helping students track their learning along the way? ( Lillian Interview) As Lillian approach to formative assessment coined by Rick Stiggins, where s tudents learn about objectives and standards, but are really brought into the process of preparing for successful learning (2005). Students collaborate with their teachers to learn about achievement expectations and analyze models of strong and weak work. They t ake part in continuously monitor ing their current level of achievement as compared to the agreed upon expectations in order to set goals for what to learn next S tudents communicat e evidence of learning throughout the learning process not only to their te achers, but to other students and to their families as well Assessment for
105 Learning strategies make sense for the goals of the new building and the K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 community structure as using these strategies would enable P.K. Yonge students to have th e opportunity to be a part of the assessment by participating in the process, watching themselves grow, and seeing evidence that if they keep trying, they can be confident in their continued success (Stiggins, 2005 ; Chappuis, et al. 2011) Lillian and Dia na shared articles about Assessment of Learning and integrated the reading and discussion of these articles into PLC meeting times. In studying Assessment for Learning within the PLC, teachers began incorporating some of the Assessment for Learning strate gies into their teaching before even entering the new building. Assessment for Learning provided one bridge for the teachers to shift from their old way of work in individual classrooms to their new way of work in K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 communities. Responsive Classroom Approach In addition to their studies around Assessment for Learning, Lillian and Diana also introduced the concept of the Responsive Classroom into the PLC meeting times to help teachers engage in rich conversations about the ways in which they might manage behavior in the new space: We've really tried to get into: What is our core behavior system and what are the ways that we can agree on behavior targets? Because when we get into the building, if one teacher likes it loud and one teacher doesn 't let their kids talk at all, we're going to have issues. So what are we going to agree upon and compromise on and what are our core behavior systems that are in place? We're really hitting that hard. ( Diana Interview) The Responsive Classroom approach, researched by Sara Rimm Kaufman and her colleagues (i.e., Rimm Kaufman & Sawyer, 2004; Ottmar, Rimm Kaufman, Berry, & Larsen, in press; Wanless, Patton, & Rimm Kaufman, Deutsch, 2012), is designed to
106 build positive relationships within a community of learn ers. The approach offers tools for consistency, organization, and student engagement. Key practices of the Responsive Classroom include a daily morning meeting, proactive approaches to discipline, positive teacher language, and giving students choice in t heir learning ( Responsive Classroom, 2013). The approach nurtures a teaching philosophy that aligned very well with P.K. st century community learning center. By building positive relationships that ensure studen ts feel they matter to the community, children become members of that community in order to more successfully engage academically (Denton, 2007; Rimm Kaufman & Sawyer, 2004 ; Responsive Classroom, 2013). Lillian and Diana shared articles about the Respons ive Classroom and integrated the reading and discussion of these articles into PLC meeting times. In studying the Responsive Classroom within the PLC, teachers began incorporating some of the Responsive Classroom strategies into their teaching before even entering the new building. The Responsive Classroom provided one bridge for the teachers to shift from their old way of work in individual classrooms to their new way of work in K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 communities. Making Professional Development Plans for the 21 st Century Community Learning Center The elementary school faculty had been preparing to teach in the new school building for several years, but Lillian and Diana were concerned that the preparation would be overshadowed by the imminent and extensive cha nges the new space would bring as they entered the new building during the 2012 2013 academic year. Hence,
107 just before they moved into the new space, Lillian and Diana developed extensive plans for professional development in the new building, hoping that their continued efforts in providing professional development would support teachers in the transition. To help systematize professional development that would be valuable and supportive from the very beginning, they established a professional developmen t schedule that each teacher was expected to follow and shared it before the new school year started. The plan was that every Tuesday after school, teachers would meet on their grade level teams for instructional planning. Wednesdays would be dedicated p rofessional development days. All students would be released from school early on Wednesdays so that the whole faculty could engage in professional development together. In addition, one grade level each Wednesday morning would participate in professiona l development while their students attended specially scheduled classes with art, music, PE, or media teachers. With their plan for teacher learning prearranged, Lillian and Diana ended the 2011 2012 school year filled with feelings of excitement and tre pidation for their next year in the new space. Since they were anxious about the impending challenges for professional development in the new school building, they turned to a familiar mechanism for untangling the complexities of their practices as those responsible for professional development practitioner inquiry, inviting me to work with them for the upcoming school year. Chapter 6 will describe the ways Lillian Diana and I ended up using practitioner inquiry as a mechanism for supporting professio nal development during the 2012 2013 school year. It will discuss the ways in which our engagement in inquiry helped to
108 reinforce the preparatory professional development Lillian and Diana facilitated, while applying supportive pressure for actualizing th eir vision for the newly designed 21 st century community learning center. As t he hermeneutic al circle asserts Lillian and Diana needed to come to understanding of professional development that could support and mediate teacher growth and development in a newly designed 21 st century school space with ideas and terms that presuppose the phenomenon trying to be understood (Crotty, 1998; Heidegger, 1962; Rundell, 1995). This chapter, therefore, revealed the study pre understanding. Chapter 6 will next share the understanding that emerged through our inquiry into professional development in the new school environment by discussing the ways in which Lillian Diana insights went beyond their o riginal intentions or knowledge.
109 Figur e 5 1. First floor b lueprint ( BRPH Companies Inc., 2011 )
110 Fig ure 5 2. Second floor b lueprint ( BRPH Companies Inc., 2011 )
111 Figure 5 3. K/1 learning s tudio ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012b) Figure 5 4. Small group learning s tudio ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a)
112 Figure 5 5. 4/5 learning s tudio ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a) Figure 5 6. K/1 learning c ommunity ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012b)
113 Figure 5 7. 2/3 learning c ommunity ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a) Figure 5 8. 4/5 learning c ommunity ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012b)
114 Figure 5 9. Small group choice s eating ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a) Figure 5 10. Varied seating options in one s pace ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a)
115 Figure 5 11. Flexible movement for peer c oaching ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nai r International, 2012a) Figure 5 12. Teacher w orkspace ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012b)
116 Figure 5 13. View of teacher workspace from learning s tudio ( Photo courtesy of Fielding and Nair International, 2012a)
117 CHAPTER 6 INQUIRING INTO THE WORK OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A 21 ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER (UNDERSTANDING) Introduction The purpose of this study was to understand the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently. This chapter shares the story of the inquiry experience Lillian Diana and I engaged in during the first year P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School moved into their newly designed 21 st century community learning center. This chapter will discuss the ways in which the three of us used inq uiry as a mechanism for untangling the complexity of professional development in the new school environment in order to better support the faculty as they worked to make sense of the new space and new teaching approaches the space encourages. The hermeneut ic al circle asserts that a pre understanding of a phenomenon leads to a more developed understanding (Crotty, 1998) Because of the pre understanding Lillian and Diana developed in preparation for the new building (described in Chapter 5), they approached professional development in the new space with more developed understanding that was strengthened and magnified from the pre understanding they brought with them into the new space. This chapter, therefore, o f professional development in the newly designed school building as it unfolded through the process of practitioner inquiry. In order to tell the story of our inquiry journey and analyze the impact of inquiry as a mechanism for professional learning, thi s chapter was constructed based on field notes, reflective emails, and professional development documents from the seven months Lillian Diana and I engaged in inquiry around professional development in the
118 new school space. In addition, interviews with Lillian and Diana about their pre conceptions of the new school space, as well as P.K. Yonge historical documents were used to develop the historical influences in our work. In the first part of this chapter, I will reconstruct the inquiry experience tha t Lillian Diana and I had during the first year in the new school building Next, I will turn to analyzing our inquiry experience through my perspective as a hermeneutically oriented researcher. By ending the chapter with this more global view, I can b etter interpret the practices of professional development and the effect of those practices on teacher learning at P.K. Yonge during their first year in the newly designed space. The Inquiry Story Inquiry Background As described in Chapter 5, f or nearly se ven years, P.K. Yonge Developm ental Research School developed and built a new school structure designed to bring teaching and learning into the 21 st century (Nair, Fielding, & Lackney, 2009). The most pervasive shift in the new space and approach to teach ing and learning for the 21 st c entury was the focus on student and teacher collaboration. Rather than typical isolated grade level and classroom structures, P.K. Yonge students and teachers in kindergarten and first grade; second and third grades; and fo urth and fifth grades would each have their own teaching and learning. The learning c different things from different people in different ways at different times and in different
119 et al. 2009, p. 27). The 2012 2013 school year was the first year teachers and students at P.K. Yonge used the new space As Chapter 5 discussed Lillian and Diana who are responsible for the professional growth and development of teac hers, intensely development to prepare for occupying the new space, Lillian and Diana established a professional development routine for the new building that they felt would continue to support and mediate teacher learning for the new environment. Because of their close involvement with the design and preparation of the space, Lillian a nd Diana understood that professional development would continue to be a complicated and essential element for success, but before moving in, they still had a difficult time imagining exactly what teachers would need, and how the professional development w ould be oriented in order to both support and mediate teacher learning for the mission of the school, the goals of the space, and the needs of both students and teachers. Before moving in, Lillian understood that she and Diana would need to Lillian Interview). Knowing that the transition into the 21 st century community learning center would be an exciting, alb eit an unfamiliar and complicated challenge, Lillian and Diana turned to a mechanism for untangling professional complexity with which they were both intimately familiar practitioner inquiry (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Lillian and Diana had studied an d practiced practitioner inquiry for much of their professional lives. Introduced to inquiry with in their teaching careers they had engaged in multiple cycles
120 of inquiry as classroom teachers, and had encouraged inquiry as professional development for th e teachers they worked with as curriculum coordinators. Presented with the new challenge of supporting and mediating teacher learning in the newly designed space, Lillian and Diana wondered how the practitioner inquiry cycle they were familiar with for sy stematically studying classroom teaching practices could translate into the systematic study of their professional development practices in the new building. As a graduate school classmate, and P.K. Yonge university partner, Lillian and Diana knew that I had been an avid teacher researcher in my own elementary school classrooms and that the focus of my doctoral studies was on practitioner inquiry. Additionally, as the 2011 2012 school year had been wrapping up and teachers were preparing to transition int o the new space, I had worked with P.K. Yonge educators to establish a shared vision for teaching and learning in the 21 st century community learning center. With my experience in practitioner inquiry and my knowledge of the new school vision, Lillian and Diana believed I would make a good thought partner in making sense of their new roles and the ways that practitioner inquiry might help them negotiate professional development in the newly designed space. Establishing Our Inquiry Relationship On August 28 2012, just two weeks after teachers had begun working in the new building during pre planning, and just six days after students had arrived, Lillian Diana and I met to discuss their emerging thoughts on professional development and the possible ways I could support them in the new space. Before coming to the meeting, I knew little of Lillian and Diana environment. When I thought of inquiry as professional development, I, much like Lillian
121 and Diana th ought first of classroom teachers inquiring into their practices. I came to the meeting, therefore, prepared to discuss the possibility of my assistance in facilitating inquiry Yonge teachers use practitioner inquiry to open up new horizons of schooling, teaching, As described in my field notes from that day, at the start of the meeting, Lillian and Diana asked me to share my initial thoughts around professional development in the new space. As I described my thinking around inquiry oriented professional development for teachers, they listened intently, but then discussed the potential problems with my ideas: From our conversation, Lillian and Diana brought up two big pitfalls. First, this would be one more thing for teachers to have to take on and be scrutinized over. Second, teachers are in survival mode and only concentrating on practicalities, they will un likely be able to reflect on the experience and how it is impacting teaching and learning yet. (Field Notes, 8/28/12) Still wanting to see how inquiry could fit, we tossed around a few ideas in terms of teachers volunteering to engage in inquiry and meetin g on a regular basis to study the new teaching approaches they were using in the new space. As we played with this idea, Lillian and Diana began pointedly reflecting on the process of teaching in the new space as they had been seeing it unfold in the emot ional and exhausting first two weeks. They talked about the numerous issues that had arisen (i.e., no one had a personal space to call home, teachers were unsure how to share responsibility for students), the strategies they had taken to begin to overcome the issues (i.e., teachers), and the personal exhaustion it was causing the two of them as they engaged
122 in extensive conversations with overwhelmed teachers. After this disc ussion, they were for the teachers to handle, even if it were on a volunteer basis. As Lillian and Diana use of practitioner inquiry with the teachers to help them unpack and understand the shifts in teaching practice necessitated by the architecture of the new building at this point in time, Lil lian and Diana could use the process of practitioner inquiry themselves to unpack and understand their practice as professional developers. I reflected in my field notes: I was suddenly very excited about the opportunity right in front of us. How are the se school leaders navigating, driving, supporting, and pushing teaching a nd learning in this space?... Ah ha! I asked Lillian and Diana if they would be willing to discuss their own use of practitioner inquiry more extensively. (Field Notes, 8/28/12) At th is point, Lillian and Diana shared that they had already been considering the use of inquiry to study their own practices in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning in the new space, but that, like the teachers, they were uncertain of their capabilities in doing so because of all the turmoil the move to the new building had created, and just like the teachers, they were feeling overwhelmed. I offered my support in the process, believing that if I were to take a dual role as both a close, pro fessional development colleague and a more globally oriented hermeneutic researcher, I could help to both bind and distance us from the newness of the experience in order to dialectically interpret the experiences of mediating and supporting teacher growth and development during this time of complicated reform (Geelan & Taylor, 2001).
123 Smith & Lytle, 1993; 2009), we believed that through Lillian and Diana to nav igate the complexity of facilitating teacher professional learning in the newly designed building, teachers and students in the building could begin untangling that complexity, too. Additionally, we thought that by Lillian and Diana engaging in explicit i nquiry themselves, they would be modeling the process for the teachers so that when the time was right, they might come to reimagine the use of inquiry as professional development and find new ways to revitalize its use with teachers at P.K. Yonge. With th ese hopes, Lillian Diana and I planned to meet on a regular basis to systematically study professional development in the new building. At the end of our meeting on August 28, 2012, we decided to wait to schedule our next meeting until after Lillian and Diana had more time to settle into their new ways of work and had time to help teachers settle into theirs. Lillian and Diana had planned to begin the professional development routine they had prepared for during the transition into the new space on Septe mber 26, 2012, so we scheduled our first inquiry meeting for the day before September 25, 2012. Finding a Wondering and Developing an Inquiry Plan Even before we met again in September, Lillian Diana and I began the process of focusing our inquiry stud y. By living in the space for one month, Lillian and Diana gained perspective into the professional learning needs of teachers. They closely collaborated by talking several times a day about what they were seeing, hearing, and experiencing, and communica ted plans for sharing responsibly to ensure that the most pressing needs of teachers were being met. At the same time, I was reading literature about practitioner inquiry as professional development ( i.e., Dana, 2013; Lieberman &
124 Miller, 2001 ), school spa ce philosophy ( i.e., Hubbard & Kitchin, 2011 ; Hutchison, 2004 ), and 21 st century teaching and learning ( i.e., Darling Hammond, 2010; Prenskey, 2010 ), while also reviewing P.K. Yonge historical documents, to ensure we would be connecting our inquiry to the field of education and to the goals of the school and the vision for the new space While Lillian and Diana felt it was important that they engage in inquiry, the month they had lived in the new space made them apprehensive about the commitment we had made together to inquire into the practice of professional development. Despite the years of preparation and planning, entering the new space had been more overwhelming than anyone could have anticipated both for the teacher s and for Lillian and Diana Hence, they worried about the time and pressure that engagement in inquiry would demand. They worried about the process of data collection for their inquiry and if the data they would need to collect from teachers to understa nd how they were experiencing professional development in the new building would place additional burden on the teachers who were already feeling overwhelmed. Diana reflected: T words No ( Diana Interview) Finally, they worried that they, themselves, would be unable to critically reflect on and analyze their professional development practices when they, like the teachers, were initia lly functioning in survival mode. To support them and help to alleviate some concerns, during our September meeting I brought in the research I had been conducting since we first met, and used it as a supportive foundation to discuss and address each issue they had been troubled by. First, since they wondered how they would find the time to inquire into their
125 practices when there was already so much added pressure to their jobs in the new building, we put a dedicated one hour meeting on our weekly calendar s. We promised to use the hour to reflect on and prepare for teacher professional development in the new building. By committing this time to planning for the coming week of professional development, it became clear that a large portion of the time that wo uld be devoted to our inquiry would focus on work that Lillian and Diana needed to do anyway plan for how to use the professional development time they had with the teachers. In so doing, the process of inquiry became a part of Lillian and Diana ice as professional developers, rather than apart from it (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Second, since they wondered what data we would collect as they were concerned about placing any additional pressure on the teachers, I offered to help with the data collection by attending professional development each week with a hermeneutic orientation for our inquiry work. I would take notes and collect materials that were created or used during the meetings so that Lillian and Diana could place all of their atten tion on the facilitation of professional development and support of the teachers they work with. Knowing I would be attending professional development meetings with them, having intimate knowledge of the history, preparation, and desired outcomes of the w ork, I also agreed to help facilitate and/or participate in professional development conversations or activities as they were taking place. Additionally, we developed a list of resources that were already on hand, but would inform our professional develop professional development pages, and historical documents of school blueprints, visioning plans, and teacher input. In articulating this data collection plan and
126 developing this list of potentia l data sources, it became clear that the process of data collection would mean nothing more than systematically collecting and analyzing all that was naturally being produced as a part of Lillian and Diana professional development work. There would be plenty of data generated naturally so that asking teachers to engage in additional interactions with Lillian and Diana in the name of data col lection would not be necessary (Carr & Kemmis, 1986; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). The support I could offer by attending professional development meetings also helped to alleviate their most pressing issue, as they worried they would be unable to critically and reflectively analyze their professional development practices when they were so immersed in the newness o f the experience. By taking careful field notes of professional development, I could then reflect on the experience for us and share those reflections to inform decision making (Valli & Price, 2000; Zeichner, 2003). Through this dialectic interaction of both binding and distancing ourselves from the new experience of supporting and mediating teacher professional learning in a new environment that uses space differently, we could better understand the experience and help to correct misconceptions within mo re global perspectives (Geelan & Taylor, 2001; Tuncer, 2008). Discussing the practicality of our inquiry and how it could fit into Lillian and Diana overwhelmed by the enor would take in leading teacher professional learning in this new setting, during our meeting in September, Lillian Diana and I realized the importance of taking time to reflect on professional dev elopment practices in order to move the school forward
127 (Caro Bruce, et al. 2009). In an inquiry planning document we created together, we reflected on this realization by stating: As the curriculum and instruction coordinators and a university partner, w e know we are responsible for supporting teachers in this transition to the newly designed space, and for mediating teacher learning. By engaging in practitioner inquiry to study our preparation for, and facilitation of, teacher learning, we hope to syste matically study our own practices to better understand professional development opportunities in the new space by considering preconceptions and critical new directions for professional learning (Laverty, 2003; Rich, 1990 in Crotty, 1998). The purpose of t his inquiry, therefore, is to study the ways in which we mediate and support teaching learning in a new environment that uses space differently. (Inquiry Planning Document, 2012) ssional development needs of teachers when they are transitioning into a new architectural space designed to facilitate collab professional d With minimized concerns surroundi ng the feasibility of our inquiry and purposeful wonderings developed, Lillian Diana and I established a systematic plan for engaging in cycles of wondering, data collection, data analysis, and new action (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Our inquiry planni ng document read: On Tuesdays, beginning in October, the three of us will meet to discuss current professional development and make a plan for next steps. This meeting will also be time for discussing our inquiry work as findings emerge that can inform ou r practices. Every Wednesday morning, we will meet with one grade level and then with the whole faculty on Wednesday afternoons. At the end of every week, Rachel will send field notes and reflections to Lillian and Diana who may respond with their own r eflections for the week. As we support and mediate professional learning in the new space, we will also gather evidence that reflects teacher learning, growth, and development as it emerges. After gathering data, we will analyze the results and present o ur findings at the P.K. Yonge inquiry showcase in May. (Inquiry Planning Document, 2012)
128 The Start of Our Inquiry into The Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center: Survival Before moving into the new space, Lillian and Diana established a professional development schedule that each teacher was expected to follow. The plan was that every Tuesday after school, teachers would meet on their grade level teams for instructional planning. Wednesdays would be dedicated profess ional development days. All students would be released from school early on Wednesdays so that the whole faculty could engage in professional development together. In addition, beginning in late September (so that teachers could have a chance to first se ttle into the new space), one grade level each Wednesday morning would participate in professional development while their students attended specially scheduled classes with art, music, PE, or media teachers. Lillian Diana and I began our inquiry into the work of professional development in the 21 st century community learning center just as the Wednesday morning professional development experiences were beginning. We met Tuesdays in order to reflect on and prepare for professional development that week. I then attended professional development opportunities with Lillian and/or Diana to gather data that would inform our planning the following week. Lillian and Diana professional development design relied on the condition that after living and working in the new space for about one month, teachers would be ready again to engage in rigorous, curriculum driven professional development as they had been used to in the old school building. The start of Wednesday morning professional development was meant to reestablish their previous professional development norms.
129 From data collected in the first cycle of professional development we tried to engage in with the teachers around curriculum and instruction, however, we realized that teachers were in desperate need for more time to figure out the logistics of living and working in the new space. Even with Lillian Diana and systematic plan for helping teachers make sense of and transition into the new environment, it was jarring to actually move into the new space, and their vision for system atizing professional development after a month for settling in proved unrealistic. From our field notes and Tuesday meeting conversations, we saw that so many of the norms of schooling, teaching, and learning that the teachers and students had followed f time, teachers had to work very closely together and share almost all decisions to negotiate teaching in the new environment. This was hard. Diana reflected: We think about why teachers go into teaching and they are control freaks w ay anymore in this new building. ( Diana Interview) Our field notes in those early days looked like logistical laundry lists ( F igure 6 1). Organizational and logistical issues such as naming spaces, behavior expectations like walking in lines and volume levels, furniture arrangement, shelving, materials, and classroom libraries all took a lot of time, effort, and compromise fr om entire communities of teachers to work out. So did issues like filling out individual professional development plans when they were no longer working alone, negotiating the responsibilities associated with the traditional class lists they had been hand ed within the new community where they were expected to share all students, and deciphering ways to communicate the constant and necessary changes to parents as they had to figure out how to work in the newly designed community learning center.
130 As a resu lt of analyzing our data, Lillian Diana and I had the disconcerting realization that even after a month in the new building, the immediate needs of teachers were only those for survival in the new space. As Diana between l ( Diana Interview). One of the initial findings we gleaned from the early formative analysis of our data was that Lillian Diana ey had in the old school building. Whereas before, they had been responsible for professional learning focused on curriculum and instruction, after moving into the new building, the new environment meant Lillian Diana porting emotional wellbeing and in making the logistical and relational decisions typically associated with school administrators. Diana remembered the emotional distress of teachers coming into a learning community space and not having a designated pl ace to call their own. Since P.K. Yonge teachers had often thought of their classrooms as extensions of their homes, I think people were really shocked in the first few weeks of livi ng here. For room as she would have done in the traditional school space, and the rest everybody had to d ay more than we anticipated. ( Diana Interview) Diana could empathize, as she remembered the shock she felt when she first started working alongside teachers in their classr ooms. For the first time she had a
131 by what was happening in classrooms and what teachers perceive of each other, Diana Interview). In the new space teachers were suddenly thrown into a similar situation, but in the case of the new building, not only were they seeing one another teach for the first time, they were having to expose their teaching pra ctices in a new space and in a new teaching approach that was unfamiliar, plus, they had to trust one another with collaborative teaching and shared students. This caused difficult and volatile emotional reactions within every learning community. So mir Lillian and Diana were expected to facilitate compromise. Teachers used Lillian and Diana as life support s to try and see past conflict within their communities. Teachers trusted and relied on Lillian and Diana There was no one else who they believed could truly times Diana Interview). In addition to supporting emotional wellbeing, therefore, Li llian and Diana closeness to the experiences of living and working in the new space also meant that they took on much more administrative responsibilities relating to the daily operations and interpersonal issues of the school and faculty. Administrators who were now housed in a separate administration building on campus, did not have the same inside
132 perspective anymore. Hence, Lillian and Diana were looked to for leading more of the traditional administrative duties. Diana explained: Lil lian and my role has changed in that we are much more involved right now in the day to day operations, and administration kinds of things in this is what instigated (the change i n our role). There has been such a major shift in what happens in school every day and I think that the leadership tapped to do it. ( Diana Interview) Whereas before moving into th e new building, administrators would have made lunchtime and recess weather decisions, checked that classrooms were cleared after fire drills, and dealt with faculty conflict resolutions, Lillian and Diana now took on many of these responsibilities because of their intimate knowledge of life in the new building. Our realization that Lillian Diana early formative analysis of inquiry data also demonstrated that the ways in which they had been handling their new roles in the first few weeks were unsustainable, most notably when it came to dealing with emotional and logistical issues. To meet the needs of the teachers they worked with at the beginning, Lillian and Diana had purposefully spent the first month i n the new space working on helping to rebuild a sense of confidence, community, and comfort in teaching and learning. Diana reflected, are, is in survival mode rig Diana Interview). While in survival mode, professional development opportunities on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons were occasions to discuss logistics such as organizational issues, management strategies, and team building (i.e., F igure 6 1). What we noticed as we analyzed Lillian Diana
133 accomplished this by juggling each incident as it arose, but this was very difficult to maintain: When I reflect on it, I just keep coming back to feel encouragement, and constant reminders about procedures. I am constantly how we of thought or process. ( Diana Interview) While Lillian and Diana had always needed to be flexible in order to meet the needs of their school, our initial data analyses made us realize the extent of the role shifts they were going through in the new space. While their titles stayed the same, they were really doing very different jobs. We could see in our field notes and reflections that typical ways of facilitating the curriculum and inst ruction focused professional development would not suffice so early in the move. We decided that although they had planned for moving into the typical curriculum driven professional learning they were used to providing after the first month in the new spa ce, that this professional development plan was not longer appropriate. Teachers were still dealing with pressing challenges associated with moving into a newly designed community learning center. They were unfamiliar with the spaces, approaches to teach ing, and styles of professional collaboration. The day to day operations of the new building had to take precedence over the professional development Lillian and Diana were used to providing. Their role as professional developer in the old building had m orphed into the roles of counselor and administrator in the new building, as time was consumed by alleviating teacher stress associated with the move and attending to the logistics of navigating the new space.
134 It was through this formative analysis of th e data collected for our inquiry that we were able to articulate and understand this shift in roles, acknowledge the necessity of the shift, but not allow Lillian and Diana to get stuck in solely functioning as counselors and administrators during that fir st year in the new building. We knew we needed to address the survival stage of development while simultaneously working to push past it so that teachers could begin fulfilling the vision for teaching and learning that the new space encouraged. Hence, Li llian Diana and I began to focus our inquiry meetings purposefully on shifting professional development time solely from stress management and figuring out the logistics of the new space to meaningful discussions about curriculum, instruction, and studen t learning. To do so, we took into consideration our knowledge of effective professional development from literature, and turned to strategies that had been successful in the past for P.K. Yonge educators in professional development around curriculum and instruction. We then applied these effective professional development strategies and familiar professional development experiences to help teachers unpack their state of survival in the new space. We hoped that this would not only recognize and push past engaging in the more rigorous 21 st century curriculum and instruction professional development Lillian and Diana had originally envisioned taking place in the new building. One strategy we implemented that we knew facilitated powerful professional learning opportunities from both our reading of the literature (i.e. McDonald, Mohr, Dichter, & McDonald, 2003 ) and P.K. Yonge professional development history was the
135 use of protocols. Protoc & Yendol Hoppey, 2008, p. 7). By applying the use of protocols to the survival mode phase of teacher professional development in the new building, Lillian and Diana felt they could better systematize logistical conversations and help develop priority and For e xample, in a meeting that Diana facilitated in October with the kindergarten teachers, which was intended to discuss a reading conceptual framework they would be using (Florida Reading Initiative, 2011), the agenda was waylaid by emotional complaints about building space and structures for typical reading routines. The two hour professional development meeting time persistently concentrated on logistics until, about thirty minutes into the dis cussion, Diana suggested the group use a protocol to make reading conceptual framework (Florida Reading Initiative, 2011). The protocol Diana used that day, and that Lillian and Diana used in logistics conversations with all other grade levels, is summarized from my field notes below: Logistics Conversations Protocol Step One: Just the Facts (Approximately 5 minutes): Facilitator names the logistical dilemma that has emerged and poses the question to the group, chart paper. Step Two: React (Approximately 10 minutes): Each teacher, in 2 minutes or less, shares his/her reaction to the fa cts as articulated on the piece of chart paper.
136 Step Three: Reflective Listening (Approximately 2 minutes): Facilitator Step Four: Action Plan (Approximately 10 15 minutes): Teache rs develop an action plan to address the logistical dilemma The plan is written on chart paper, saved, and referenced in future logistics conversations. (Field Notes, 10/10/12) With the use of protocols like this one for engaging in logistical conversati ons, Lillian and Diana were able to corral and contain many of the logistical complaints so the teachers could begin to focus some of the professional development time they had together on curriculum and instruction. The Continuation of Our Inquiry into Th e Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center: New Configurations and Focus for Professional Development Time At our next inquiry meeting, we returned to the data we had been collecting ss to begin to focus on curriculum and instruction meeting notes, it occurred to us that grade levels were meeting alone for small group professional development as they had al ways done, as exemplified in the kindergarten meeting described above. We realized that we, just like the teachers, were being constrained in the ways we conceptualized professional development time in the new space by the way things had always been done in the past when we were organized by single grade levels teaching in individual classrooms. Working mostly within grade levels in the new space was not conducive to developing the concept of the K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 learning community where teachers would c ollaborate cross grade level in innovative ways to personalize instruction and better meet the needs of all students.
137 Professional development time had to be held at more macro levels: first within the two grade levels in the learning communities, and sec ond within the whole elementary faculty. We developed a Professional Development Time Flow Chart: initial professional development must happen at the learning community level first, then move into vertical team professional development time (with one teac her per grade level in kindergarten through fifth grade), and then move into school wide, long range planning dialogue (Figure 6 2). A second epiphany we had in relationship to a close and careful examination of the data we had collected so far was that in functioning in survival mode during the first professional development time and planning was always almost completely consumed by what the teachers needed to do to survive tomorrow. This, in turn, meant teachers did not h ave time to reimagine teaching in the new space. In constant survival mode, they simply tried to fit old practice into the new space which did not work well and did nothing to help the teachers actualize the potential the new space had for rethinking teac hing and learning for the 21 st c entury. Therefore, we tackled evelopment time for future planning and still have time for teachers to focus on immediate planning Notes, 10/09/12). After much brainstorming and consideration, we came to the following action plan: We need to devote Tuesday afternoons for K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 learning communities to focus on immediate instructional planning and logistics. We need to repl ace the individual grade level logistics oriented Wednesday morning professional development time that was occurring every six weeks while K/1, 2/3,and 4/5 learning community time every three weeks. The focus of these Wednesday mornings will only be for goal setting and future oriented dialogue.
138 We need to use student early release Wednesday afternoons to serve as a bridge. Take the future oriented goals discussed during ea ch learning professional development time into consideration and revisit plans made on Tuesday afternoons to meet immediate student needs. Tweak as needed. (Field Notes, 10/09/12) After developing these action steps, we were s atisfied with our plan for new configurations and focus for professional development time. Lillian and Diana felt confident in presenting the idea to administration first, and the art, music, P.E. and media teachers next to assess their willingness and s chedules to free up each learning classes combined. Because Lillian and Diana so believed in this change, and because long before community Wednesday morning release time was a reality. At the end of October, community Wednesday morning professional development began. The first community to join together was the second and third grade team. The morning was co facilitat ed by Diana and the learning community leader, Katie, and was focused on reading instruction. To begin, the community celebrated the change in professional development that allowed them to work as a community rather than a single grade level, with breakfa st. Over breakfast, the two grade levels caught one another up on their reading workshop structures. They used the following questions, prepared in advance by Diana and Katie, to look for areas of similarity and difference: 1. How are we meeting the needs of our students? 2. Do we have all of the reading components from the conceptual framework? 3. What do they look After breakfast, Diana and Katie guided the conversation into planning for rethinking teaching and learning for the 21 st c entury in the new 2/3 learning community
139 space. They introduced a guiding question to focus the meeting: steps for coming together as a community? What are some ways we can start to bring the 2/3 t eam (students and 10/31/12). To begin to consider the changes and shifts that needed to occur, t hey first looked at beginning of wh needs and 2/3 reading conceptual framework structures. From here, e ach member of the community then had an opportunity to write down their hopes and fears for more intentio nally coming together, an d share them out to the group. Some of t heir hopes based on the critical dialogue and data analysis they had engaged in during this meeting included: I hope we can think about bringing together 2/3 students and teachers through buddy reading, math games, and field trips I hope we can try experimenting with the space at least one day a week so we all the time. I hope we could be creative with the shortened student schedule on Wednesdays for this. I hope we can use each other for instructional coaching we have a lot more to learn from each other and I hope we can better use this space to intentionally observe each other teach for the purposes on informing our own teaching practices. (Field Notes, 10/31/12) Some of their fears included: I fear students and parents will struggle to view us as all of their teachers I fear that the grade specific class lists we started with will constrain our efforts of coming together as a 2/3 learning community. I fear it will be difficult for all seven of us to communicate effectively for planning, parent communication, student progress. (Field Notes, 10/31/12) The articulation o f their hopes and f ears, in conjunction with their focused data driven discussions that morning, pushed the 2/3 learning community teachers thinking
140 from an almost exclusive focus on logistics and immediate planning for tomorrow to envisioning the possibilities for how they cou ld begin to work together as a learning c ommunity and the impli cations that might have for themselves and the children they teach. As Lillian Diana and I analyzed the data collected from this meeting, as well as the other learning community's meetings that were structured in the same way, we began to see real shift s in the nature of the dialogue teachers were having about working in a 21st century community learning center. We continued to use what we were learning from our data to plan future learning c ommunity professional development time, as well as design othe r vertical planning and full faculty professional development efforts. When Lillian and Diana saw a need for even more professional development time, they once again were able to use the data from our inquiry to make a case to administration and make it a reality. Professional development time was beginning to resemble the professional development efforts that had been made in preparation to enter the new building. The teachers in each K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 learning community began to function as a professiona l learning community, as they met regularly to engage in critical, reflective dialogue about their teaching practices. Critical discussions of concepts such as Assessment for Learning and the Responsive Classroom that they had explored prior to the move into the new building began to reappear as the time teachers spent engaging with one another during professional development was again more focused on actua lizing the vision for the 21st c entury community learning cente r that they had worked for so many years to develop prior to entering the space.
141 Rediscovering the value of practitioner inquiry as a professional development process from their experiences working with me to study their own practice as professional deve lopers, Lillian and Diana even began impl icitly structuring some of the professional d e velopment meeting times as mini inquiries. For example, Lillian framed How can we better r emember the reasons behind this building and keep the vision in mind as we continue to plan ? What can we learn from the other learning communities to help with this ? (Field N otes, 12/12/12). She had arranged for the 4/5 teachers to visit the K/1 and 2/3 communities that day. By visiting the other learning communities, the teachers were able to collect data to inform their wondering by observing some of the strategies the K/1 and 2/3 teachers were using as they worked in the 21 st century community learnin g center. The 4/5 teachers spent fifteen minutes in each of the other learning communities carefully observing and taking notes on clipboards. Afterwards, the 4/5 teachers collaborated to analyze what they had seen and how it would impact their own futur e work. With these analyses, they then set an explicit goal for trying something We will better monitor student work in autonomous time by improving our use of Assessment for Learning. We will help students learn to more effectively demonstrate their progress toward goals by analyzing the work reflection logs. By adding this sentence, we will help st udents engage more metacognitively with the texts they are reading and we will better be able to see the progress they are them. (Field Notes, 12/12/12) This mini cycle of inquiry gave tea chers the chance to make measured decisions about how they might move forward in their 4/5 learning community to improve their teaching practices for teaching and learning in the 21 st c entury community learning center.
142 As the 2012 2013 school year and my study were ending in May, professional development opportunities that offered real hope for transforming the ways teachers and students worked with one another in the 21st century were just beginning. In contrast to the overwhelmed state in which the year began, Li llian and Diana believed the future was quite bright. They knew they had a long way to go as the educators responsible for teacher professional growth and development to tru ly actualize a vision for 21st c entury teaching and learning, but they had come a long way that first year. Bringing Closure to Our Inquiry into The Work of Professional Development in a 21 st Century Community Learning Center: Sharing Our Story Every year, the faculties at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School and the University of F innovations in an academic conference style gathering. Lillian Diana and I felt that the inquiry we had conducted into the support and mediation of teacher learning in the new space was a n important story to share with our colleagues. After a summative analysis of all of the data we had collected throughout our inquiry we understood that: Through professional development in the first year in the new space, teachers were both supported and pressured to move from living in the new space to teaching in the new space. Through interlacing cycles of pushing teacher learning forward while attending to immediate needs, the professional development allowed teachers to build confidence as they grew into professionals who are revolutionizing education in this new space together (Field Notes, 03/18/13) To prepare for sharing with our colleagues, but also to extend our own learning, we developed an inquiry write up, presentation, and handout. These documents of our inquiry work are presented in this dissertation as Appendix A, B, and C respectively. By presenting our inquiry to colleagues, we were able to look back and see that after living and teaching in the new space for several months, Lillian Diana and I were confident
143 that the structures of professional development that came from understanding th e experiences of creating space for 21 st century learning, were impacting the teachers, and in effect, the students at P.K. Yonge. In line with the vision for the new school, teacher collaboration was indeed completely different than it was before. Throug h the ways we mediated and supported teacher learning in the new environment, teachers were joining together to prepare for lessons, discuss their students, and engage in critical, professional dialogue. Teachers were now working on teams of professionals to personalize learning experiences for their students and one another. As the faculty at P.K. Yonge continue to move forward in their newly designed 21 st century community learning center they are doing it with a more calm, self motivated confidence th at demonstrates an understanding that has developed of the new space and the teaching approaches they are using there. The Inquiry Story: An Analysis Lillian Diana and I used practitioner inquiry as a mechanism for untangling the complexity of facilitat ing professional development in a new school environment that uses space differently. We wished to engage in inquiry in order to better support the faculty as they worked to make sense of the newly designed 21 st century community learning center and new t eaching approaches the space encourages. Through my involvement as a hermeneutically oriented researcher during our inquiry, I carefully worked to both bind and distance myself from the experiences of professional nt so that the implications of this work could be more globally oriented in order to contribute to the growing lived experiences of professional development in the 21 st century. Several important understandings arose from our inquiry journey, including 1) the importance of intentionality in studying
144 the practices of professional development 2) the necessity of flexibility in professional 3) the importance of inquiry data for communicating professional deve lopment need s to others, and 4) the utility of structuring professional development as inquiry. Intentionality By using practitioner inquiry to understand the experiences of supporting and mediating professional development in a newly designed school space, Lillian, Diana, and I systematically and intentionally studied our practices and the impact of our practices on the professional growth and development of teachers at P.K. Yonge. The intentionality of our work was especially important for professio nal development to evolve during the first challenging year P.K. Yonge worked in the 21 st century community learning center. By choosing to deliberately focus on our own practices as professional developers, Lillian, Diana, and I were able to maintain a tight and explicit focus on teacher learning in the new space, ensuring we could both support teachers in the challenge of moving into the new space, while also facilitating the necessary questioning and work to change traditional views of teaching and lea rning. Recall from our inquiry experience shared earlier in this chapter that because Lillian, Diana, and I intentionally studied our practice as professional developers, we were able to recognize and learning that the new space required. By taking the time each week to systematically analyze inquiry data and discuss our experiences in professional development, we were able to purposefully adapt professional development to better meet the needs of teachers in the new school space.
145 Flexibility in Professional Development As a result of the intentionality of our study into professional development, Lillian, Diana, and I came to understand the importance of flexibility in professional development for a 21 st century community learning center. Since we were systematically studying needs and then s hift professional development practices to better meet those needs. Recall from our inquiry story, for example, how Lillian, Diana and I realized that the content focused professional development plan Lillian and Diana had originally prepared to begin in the new school building after the first month was no longer inquiry into professional development, we were able to shift professional development in order to first support same time helping to push past survival mode in order to enact some of the strategies that would fulfill the vision for the new space. To do this, we began applying strategies familiar in effective curriculum and instruction professional development (for example, protocols) to professional development around school space logistics and conflict management. Communicating Professional Development Needs with Inquiry Data Another understanding we developed as a result of our inquiry was in the importance of inquiry data for communicating our needs in adapting professional development structures to others. As we studied professional development, we gathered extensive data surrounding the facilit ation of and participation in professional
146 during professional development experiences). Since we were intentionally studying our practices as professional developers i professional needs in the new school environment, we found that we could use inquiry data to communicate our needs regarding school structures and times with teachers and administrators. As was described in detail ea rlier in this chapter, one instance where inquiry data became especially important was when Lillian, Diana, and I realized we were constraining professional development by traditional school structures in that teachers were still meeting by single grade le vels, although they were now teaching within two grade levels. With our analysis of data (professional development facilitation notes, the need for learning communitie together, Lillian and Diana were able to share evidence with administration as well as art, music, P.E., and media teachers to develop a schedule where K/1, 2/3, and 4/5 teachers could meet with their learning community colleagues for professional development. Using Inquiry as Professional Development One final understanding gleaned from our experiences in inquiring into professional development in the 21 st century community learning center was the util ity in structuring professional development as inquiry. As Lillian, Diana, and I engaged in the process of inquiry to reflect on our wo rk as professional developers, Lillian and Diana were transferring the processes of our inquiry work into their facilita tion of professional development. Although they were not calling the pedagogy of their professional
147 guide reflective, data driven, action oriented professional develop ment experiences for the teachers they worked with. As Lillian, Diana, and I engaged in practitioner inquiry as it is discussed in the literature (defining a wondering, collecting and analyzing data to gain insights into our wondering, taking action for c hange and sharing our work with others), Lillian and Diana were engaging teachers in inquiry during professional development times, too. Recall from the end of our inquiry story in this chapter, for example, how Lillian structured one 4/5 learning communit y professional development experience as a mini inquiry cycle investigating the reasons behind the new building, their vision for it and what the teachers can learn from one another. The 4/5 learning community t eachers collected data by visiting the K/1 and 2/3 learning communities. They analyzed this data in small groups, and then shared the implications of their data collection for their st century community learning center. Conclusions The purpo se of this study was to understand the ways in which practitioner inquiry can serve as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently. This chapter shared the story of the inquiry e xperience Lillian Diana and I engaged in during the first year P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School moved into their newly designed 21 st century community learning center. In doing so, it discussed the ways in which the three of us used inquiry as a mechanism for untangling the complexity of professional development in the new school environment in order to better support the faculty as they worked to make sense of the new space and new teaching approaches the space encourages.
148 This chapter discussed the ways in which Lillian and Diana approached professional development in the new space with more developed understanding that was strengthened and magnified from the pre understanding they brought with them into the new space. This chapter, therefore, understanding of professional development in the newly designed school building as it unfolded through the process of practitioner inquiry. When insights go beyond original intentions or knowledge, as they did for Lillian and Diana through their inquiry into professional development in the new school environment, new understandings can advance the experiences of participants, interpreters, and outside readers of these experiences. As more is learned about each experience a nd when it is thought about more and more deeply to form new understandings the experiences are more objective and valid in informing future practices (Crotty, 1998). Chapter 7 will share the new understanding that emerged from this study for Lillian, Diana, and me, and for the field of education.
149 Figure 6 1. Field n otes from early kindergarten professional development meeting
150 Figure 6 2. Professional d evelopment time flow c hart Learning Community K 5 Vertical Teams Elementary Faculty
151 CHAPTER 7 IMPLICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN A 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER (NEW UNDERSTANDING) Introduction So far in this dissertation, I have introduced and shared the significance of this study (Chapter 1), reviewed the literature on practitioner inquiry (Chapter 2), described the theoretical lens I utilized to approach this work (Chapter 3), explained the methodology used to gain insights into the research questions that framed this study (Chapter 4), and shared the find ings that emerged from my analysis of data (Chapters 5 and 6). Consonant with the hermeneutic theoretical framework that guided this understandings (Chapter 5) and understandings (Chapter 6) of the p henomenon under study. When insights go beyond original intentions or knowledge, new understandings can advance the experiences of participants, interpreters, and outside readers of these experiences. As more is learned about each experience and when it i s thought about more and more deeply to form new understandings, the experiences are more objective and valid in informing future practices (Crotty, 1998). Hence, the final chapter of this dissertation serves to share the new understanding that emerged fr om this study. To establish a foundation for the presentation of new understanding, I begin this chapter with a succinct summary of each prior chapter before presenting the new understandings that e merged from this study. Dissertation Summary Predominant d ebates in the field of education surround an argument for reforming schools to better meet the needs of students in the 21 st century. Chapter 1 of
152 this dissertation described this debate and focused on one way to think about reforming education and better professionalizing teaching through a reimagination of school spaces. As discussed in Chapter 1, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School took the charge to reform education for the 21 st century by working with Fielding and Nair International (2012 a; 2012b ) to develop a unique community learning center. As they moved into their new school space in the 2012 2013 school year, traditional ways of teac hing were called into question as teachers were expected to collaborate in ways transition to this new school space and approach to teaching. Since there is not another sc hool space with which to compare this new building, the two elementary curriculum coordinators at P.K. Yonge, who are responsible for professional development, recognized the complex challenge effective professional development would bring in their first y ear in the new school building. They decided to utilize practitioner inquiry to systematically study their practices in providing professional development during this challenging time. The purpose of this research, therefore, was to study the ways in whic h these two professional developers could use practitioner inquiry as a mechanism for mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in the new environment that uses space differently. The research question that guided this study was: In what way s do those responsible for the growth and development of teachers within a newly designed 21 st century community learning center use practitioner inquiry to understand their experiences in supporting and mediating teacher professional learning?
153 As practiti oner inquiry was a central construct to this study, Chapter 2 reviewed the literature on practitioner inquiry defined by Cochran Smith and Lytle (1993; 2009) as the systematic, intentional study by educators of their own practice. While the field of educa tion continuously sees innovations come and go, Chapter 2 discusses the history and longevity of the practitioner inquiry movement and the research that reveals inquiry to be a promising form of professional development for teachers despite some tensions t hat emerge when teachers engage in the process. For this reason, the infusion of practitioner inquiry into professional development efforts makes logical sense, and the role practitioner inquiry could play in professional development efforts at P.K. Yonge as teachers moved into a new 21 st century architecturally designed school building became the focus of this study. This dissertation study of practitioner inquiry is theoretically oriented in hermeneutics. Chapter 3, therefore, explained hermeneutics a s a method for holistically interpreting phenomena by continuously circling between global perspectives and personal reflection (Crotty, 1998; Koro Ljungberg, et al ., 2009). By cycling through wholes and parts of understanding, researchers and research pa rticipants are better able to interpret events by considering preconceptions with new, critical direction (Rich, 1990). Hence, applying a hermeneutic al lens to the professional development work designed and implemented as teachers moved into a new 21 st ce ntury architectural space enabled the participants in this study to assess their pre understandings as well as develop understanding and new understanding of professional development efforts in the new school building.
154 Since this dissertation research on practitioner inquiry was theoretically oriented in hermeneutics, Chapter 4 explained the alignment of inquiry and hermeneutics that was used in this study. By providing an explanation of this alignment, a general sense of the way the study unfolded was p resented. In sum, the participants and I engaged in practitioner inquiry to understand professional development practices and how they were playing out for the teachers as they transitioned into the new building and the new configurations for teaching and learning within it. As we engaged in practitioner inquiry, we moved back and forth between parts of experience and whole experience by engaging in the hermeneutic al circle of self reflecting/questioning, reading, experiencing, reflective writing, and dial ogical/social interpretation. Also included in Chapter 4 was more detailed descriptions of the research methodology including the participants (background information on the two curriculum coordinators and myself), the procedures (we met weekly over a seve n month time period to assess how teachers were doing in the transition and plan the next professional development session), data collection (field notes and artifacts from our meetings and teacher professional development time, formal and informal intervi ews with the participants, and email communications), and data analysis (an iterative process of reading about, planning for, facilitating, and interpreting what happened related to all of our prof essional development efforts). Chapters 5 and 6 reported the findings of this study. Chapter 5 provided a understanding. The chapter began with a st century community learning center and explained the vision for the space. Grades K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 would each share a large multi functional
155 flexible space of the new building with all teachers collaborating to individualize learning participants used professional learning communities to prepare teachers for the shifts in understanding informed their understanding of professional development in the newly designed school building as it unfolded through the process of practitioner inquiry. The chapter began with a reconstruction of the inquiry experience that the participants and I had during the first year in the new s chool building as we wondered: What are the professional development needs of teachers when they are transitioning into a new architectural space designed to facilitate collaborative teaching and learning, and how do we, as professional developers, meet these needs? Through our inquiry analyses we were better able to make informed decisions about professional development time, configurations, and responsibilities to move professional development from focusing solely on the logistics and emotions of teachi ng in the new the building and how to use it. We came to understand the value in effective professional development strategies typically used for curriculum and inst ruction for professional development about 21 st century community learning center logistics. In addition, we learned to intentionally scaffold the focuses of professional development toward goal oriented dialogue, and came to recognize the value of implic it mini inquiry cycles with teachers. Chapter 6 ended with an analysis of our inquiry experience. Several important understandings arose from our inquiry journey. Discussed in detail in Chapter 6, these
156 understandings include, 1) the importance of inte ntionality in studying the practices of professional development 2) the necessity of flexibility in professional development to 3) the importance of inquiry data for communicating professional development need to others, and 4) the utility of structuring professional development as inquiry. Chapter 7 will now discuss the new understandings that developed from our inquiry into professional development in the new school space as a result of those understandings Table 7 1 aligns the new understandings that will be discussed in this chapter with the understandings discussed in Chapter 6. This chapter will discuss the 1) the value of inquiry for professional developers, 2) the need for professional development to be supporti ve of chaotic transitions during 21 st century reform efforts, 3) the importance of inquiry data for renegotiating existing school structures to ensure teachers have time for successful engagemen t in school improvement efforts, and 4) the value we found in implicit inquiry by describing the differences between explicit and implicit inquiry and the ways these two forms of inquiry played out in professional development at P.K. Yonge during their first year working in the new space. This chapter will conclude with implications for the field of education as we move forward with 21 st century school reform efforts. New Understanding s Practitioner Inquiry for Professional Developers Recall from Chapter 6 that as Lillian, Diana, I engaged in inquiry, we began to und erstand the importance of intentionality in studying our work as professional developers. Related to this understanding, the first new understanding I will discuss is the importance of practitioner inquiry for professional developers.
157 Inquiry is a popular form of professional development for pre service teachers (i.e., Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Dawson, 2007; Donnell & Harper, 2005; Merino & Holmes, 2006), in service teachers (i.e., Cochran Smith, Barnatt, Friedman, Pine, 2009; Crockett, 2002; Dana, Dawson, Wolkenhauer, & Krell, 2013; Ermeling, 2009; Poekert, 2011), and school administrators (Dana, Thomas, & Boynton, 2011; Dana, Tricarico, Quinn, 2010) that has been studied and well documented. While previous discussions of practitioner i nquiry have added to prevalent literature on professional development for these groups of educators, very little research has been done on the ways in which those responsible for professional development have opportunities to engage in continued profession al learning themselves This dissertation research adds to the conversation about professional development in the literature, as it demonstrates the ways in which those providing professional development can use practitioner inquiry themselves to glean in formation about personalizing professional development and modeling inquiry for those they are providing professional development for. As seen in this study, Lillian and Diana engaged in practitioner inquiry during a particularly challenging year as the fa culty at their school moved into a newly designed 21 st century community learning center. By systematically studying their work as professional developers in this space, they gain ed a better understanding of their everyday beliefs, assumptions, and practi ces; consequently being able to make more informed professional de cisions while informing the practice of the other educators they work with (Oberg, 1990). By using inquiry to support the ways in which they were supporting and mediating teacher profession al learning in the new environment, Lillian and Diana had a core decision making tool that enabled meaningful shifts in
158 professional development that helped teachers move past survival mode and into more collaborative work on teams of professionals to pers onalize learning experiences for their students and one another (Valli & Price, 2000; Zeichner, 2003 ) Additionally, as the study was ending we saw evidence that by engaging in inquiry themselves, Lillian and Diana had begun modeling the professional deve lopment process for their teachers as they began impl icitly structuring some of the professional d evelopment they provided as mini inquiries. By giving the teachers they work with similar tools for untangling the complexity of teaching in a newly designed school space, they are giving teachers permission to question, experiment, and work to make informed change in their teaching practices for their students. P ractitioner inquiry was necessary for Lillian and Diana as professional developers to glean inform ation about personalizing professional development and modeling inquiry for those they were providing professional development for. As Lillian and Diana cycled through wholes and parts of understanding, they contributed to the interpret ation of teaching i n the newly designed school space by considering preconceptions with new, critical direction (Rich, 1990). The process of questioning analyzing data, and taking new action through inquiry open ed up possibilities of meaning that contributed to their under standing of the experience of mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently (Gadamer, 1989). Professional Development During Times of High Stress In Chapter 6 I discussed the understanding that the re must be flexibility in especially when those teachers are first learning to work in a newly designed 21 st
159 century school space. Related to this understanding, the next n ew understanding I will discuss is the importance of professional development during times of high stress. We learn from this study that no matter how much preparation goes into a 21 st century reform effort like designing, building, and moving into a commu nity learning center, one can never expect to be fully prepared. Those responsible for professional development in 21 st century reform, therefore, need to be ready to recognize, honor, and move past the imminent chaos of negotiating logistics in transitio ns to newly reformed school buildings like that at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School. We see from this dissertation study that research based professional development help designed 21 st century spaces (Darling Hammond, 2010; Lasky, 2005). Without these sound professional development structures, it would be easy to see how teachers could get stuck in survival mode and for reform efforts to fail. As seen in this study, for example, when teachers were unable to have conversations about curri culum or student learning because they were so mired in the practicalities of surviving in the new school space, Lillian and Diana applied the conversation protocols they typically used in curriculum and instruction oriented professional development to eng age teachers in productive conversations about logistics ( McDonald, et al. 2003 ). By applying the use of protocols to the survival mode phase of teacher professional development in the new building, Lillian and Diana were better able to systematize logis tical conversations and help develop priority and focus in In shifting the focus awa y from content at first, Lillian and Diana were
160 able to honor the complexity of the changes to teaching and learning the new environment encouraged, while helping to supportively push teachers past survival mode and back into professional development focused on student learning. P rofessional development that was supportive of during their 21 st century reform effort was essenti al. As Lillian and Diana used inquiry to analyze teacher need and develop data driven action plans they considered pre understandings of professional development and the specific teachers they worked with to bring critical, new direction to the practices of effective professional development they had known (Rich, 1990). Through their understanding of professional development for 21 st century reform, they could be confident in using the research based professional development pedagogies typically designed needs to d into the newly designed school spaces (Darling Hammond, 2010; Lasky, 2005). Their innovative use of professional development pedagogy contributed to the understanding of the experience of mediating and supporting teacher growth and development in a new environment that uses space differently (Gadamer, 1989). Professional Development and the Importance of Time Another understandi ng of the inquiry Lillian Diana and I conducted into st century community learning center was the importance of inquiry data for renegotiating existing school structures A new understanding we d eveloped from our use of inquiry data to do so was that teachers needed significant time to successful ly engage in professional development in the new school space
161 Research clearly indicates that e ffective professional development provides the time and space to form and nurture collaborative relationships. Consistent time provided for o ngoing collaboration is associated with changes in knowledge and practice ( Borko, 2004; Desimone, 2009; Fu llan, 1993; Guskey & Yoon, 2009). Although this is well known, a persistent issue for professional developers continues to be the lack of time dedicated for professional development in schools, and subsequently, the effective use of the limited time they do have with teachers. When professional developers engage in p ractitioner inquiry, it is possible that the data they collect can demonstrate need for time, and provide an assessment of ways in which they are using that time (Allen & Calhoun, 1998). T he problem solving cycle of inquiry can le ad professional developers to purposeful understand ing about the need for dedicated collaborative time for teachers in order to make inform ed decisions about what works and what needs to be changed in the future (Cochran Smith, 1991; Dana, Yendol Hoppey, & Snow Gerono, 2006; Emerli ng, 2009) As teachers at P.K. Yonge made sense of the new space and teaching approaches in their newly designed 21 st century community learning center they needed extensive collaborative time for immediate planning and constructive goal setting Becaus e they engaged in practitioner inquiry during the difficult first year in the new space, Lillian and Diana had carefully assessed the needs of teachers as they unfolded, and were better able to evaluate what it was they needed to be supported and motivated Having inquiry data as evidence they were better able to justify their desire to advocate for (Cochr an Smith & Lytle, 1993;
162 2 009). Through our inquiry data, Lillian and Diana could clearly align teacher and student needs with the necessity of providing teachers with more time to engage in future oriented conversations that would help them more successfully actualize their visio n for 21 st century schooling in the new space. T he importance of inquiry data for renegotiating existing school structures to ensure teachers have time for successful engagement in professional development for school improvement efforts was clear in this study. As Lillian and Diana used inquiry data to justify their decisions in developing alternative school structures that might provide more meaningful uses of professional development time they considered pre understandings of professional development r esearch and the specific teachers they worked with to bring critical, new direction to the time dedicated to effective professional development in their school (Rich, 1990). Through their understanding of professional development for 21 st century reform, they could be confident in standing behind their requests for changes in schoolwide time structures Their innovative use of professional development time contributed to the understanding of the experience of mediating and supporting teacher growth and de velopment in a new environment that uses space differently (Gadamer, 1989). The Value of Implicit Inquiry Recall from Chapter 6 that another understanding we developed from our inquiry was the usefulness of inquiry as professional development. We came to a new understanding from this finding that there is value in the use of implicit inquiry with teachers. In this section I will describe the new understanding developed around implicit inquiry and how this proved valuable for professional development at P. K. Yonge.
163 When Lillian and Diana invited me to join them in the systematic study of professional development during the first year their school transitioned into a newly designed 21 st century community learning center, although initially disappointed tha t we believed that the process of inquiry was going to be a valuable tool for the three of us to come to deeper understanding of the role professional development would pl ay in the new school building that used space differently. As I anticipated, the process of inquiry proved an important mechanism for Lillian, Diana, and I to untangle the complexity of professional development in the new school building, and helped us mo ve teachers beyond their initial state of survival in order to focus more on curriculum, instruction, and student learning. As I discussed at the beginning of Chapter 6, one reason Lillian, Diana, and I decided to use inquiry to understand the experience s of mediating and supporting teacher professional growth and development in the newly designed 21 st century community learning center was that Lillian and Diana were intimately familiar with practitioner inquiry before we began this study. From our first meeting about inquiry on August 28, 2012, I noticed the ways in which Lillian and Diana had strong professional positions as practitioner inquirers. Practitioner inquiry was their way of being as educators, which Cochran Smith and Lytle define as inquiry stance (1999; 2009). When they first introduced the term in their seminal book about practitioner inquiry, Inside Outside: Teacher Research and Knowledge (1999), Cochran Smith and Lytle described it as follows: particularly with regard to the position of feet, as in sports or dance, and
164 also to describe political positions, particularly in their consistency (or lack we offer the term inquiry as stance to describe the positions teachers and others who work together in inquiry communities take toward knowledge and its relationships to practice. We use the metaphor of stance to suggest both orientational and positional ideas, to carry allusions to the physical placing of the body as well as to intellectual activities and perspectives over time. In this sense the metaphor is intended to capture the ways we stand, the ways we see, and the lenses we see through. Teaching is a complex activity that occurs within webs of social, historical, cultural, and political significance. Across the life span, an inquiry stance provides a kind of grounding within the changing cultures of school reform and competing political agendas. (pp. 288 289) According to Katzenmeyer and Moller (2001), teachers with strong professional community of learners and leaders, and influence others toward improved education 5). As leaders, these educators develop strong active voices. Through continual processes of making practice problematic and questioning the accepted ways that knowledge and practice are constructed, evaluated, and used, practitioners with inquiry stanc e are empowered to work individually and collectively for educational and social change (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). Before our inquiry journey even started, Lillian and Diana understood that inquiry is not simply a cycle of steps to follow as profession al development, rather they had critical habits of mind toward practices that are continually reflective, data driven, and public (Dana, 2013). Lillian and Diana have inquiry stance. They are professionals who work under constantly changing educational c onditions, dealing not only with technical knowledge and the tools to solve problems Smith & Lytle, 2009, pp. 158 159). Lillian a their ability to make purposeful, measured decisions about teaching and learning in the
165 21 st century (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009). They choose to do by positioning themselves professionally in inquiry. Since inqui ry was already their way of work, a s Lillian, Diana, and I engaged in the process of inquiry to reflect on our work as professional developers, the process of inquiry began serendipitously creeping into the work Lillian and Diana were doing with the teache rs. I was almost immediately struck by the ways these two curriculum coordinators were transferring the processes of our inquiry work into their facilitation of professional development. Although they were not calling the pedagogy of their professional d inquiry to guide reflective, data driven, action oriented professional development experiences for the teachers they worked with. As Lillian, Diana, and I engaged in practitioner inquiry as it is discussed in the literature (defining a wondering, collecting and analyzing data to gain insights into our wondering, taking action for change and sharing our work with others), Lillian and Diana were engaging teachers in inquiry during pr practice as explicit and implicit inquiry. Explicit inquiry refers the process of profe ssional development that has been well documented in the literature as a successful mechanism for teacher professional growth and development (Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Donnell & Harper, 2005; Merino & Holmes, 2006; Poekert, 2010; Snow Gerono, 2005). Expli cit inquiry, as it has been experienced, studied, and written about for decades, is a cyclical process for Smith
166 & Lytle, 2003; 20099; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Explicit i nquiry uses specific steps and processes to engage educators in reflective analyses of their practice in order to make changes in practice based on data. As previously discussed, when inquiry is done in an explicit manner, educators define a research ques tion or wondering, collect and analyze data, take action for change based on what is learned from data, and share their work with others (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Implicit inquiry, on the other hand, uses the constructs of explicit inquiry without na ming the specific methods typically associated with explicit inquiry work (i.e., wondering, data collection and analysis, action, and sharing), while applying the principles of reflective, data driven approaches to professional learning in specific situati ons. This dissertation study brings new understanding to the field of practitioner inquiry by demonstrating the value of implicit inquiry as professional development This new understanding is one actualization of inquiry stance taken by Lillian and Dia na in this study. Hence, the term implicit inquiry gives language to one of the actions we frequently see teachers with inquiry stance taking, but have few clear, concrete examples to define what that action is (Crockett, 2002). It is interesting to note that at first Lillian and Diana were resistant to engaging the teachers in inquiry. Recall from C hapter 6 that in our initial conversation about using inquiry as professional development in their new school building, Lillian and Diana were insistent that the teachers could not be expected to engage in inquiry during the first year in the new space. Diana noted: erview)
167 Performance pressure from the changes instigated in the new building, time constraints, and the stress of survival mode made inquiry seem like one more professional transi tion in that first year. It is not uncommon for inquiry to be dismissed at first due to restrictive school conditions like time and professional balance (i.e., Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Cochran Smith, et al. 2009; Stuart & Ya rger Kane, 2000; Torres, 1996) Therefore, it was not surprising that Lillian and Diana were not interested in using inquiry as professional development with teachers in their first year in this new school environment. Expecting that the extent of our inquiry work would settle in the systematic study of our own practices as professional developers, I was struck then, to recognize that, although doing so implicitly, Lillian and Diana were consistently using inquiry as professional development with the teachers they worked with. Through my observations of professional development at P.K. Yonge, I noticed that Lillian and Diana regularly structured professional conversations, activities, and reflective exercises using the principles inherent in practitioner inquiry: questioning, studying text, student work, and teacher work as data, analyzing data to make decisions for new action, and then repeating the cycle by questioning, studying, and reflecting on the new action. An example of these implicit inquiry cycles was shared in Chapter 6. R ecall the 4/5 learning community professional development meeting where the better remember the reasons behind this building and keep the vision in
168 communities, they returne d to analyze their observations and discuss strategies they observed that offered promise for their own learning community, and they began planning for how to use them. At each professional development experience where I noticed implicit inquiry structure s being used like the one described in Chapter 6, I analyzed the meeting field notes afterwards, and reorganized them for Lillian, Diana, and I within the explicit inquiry cycle in order to reflect on and interpret our experiences. For example, Figure 7 1 shows an excerpt from the synthesized field notes I shared with Lillian and Diana after our professional development meeting with the 4/5 learning community teachers on January 15, 2013. One of the modifications the teachers in this learning community h ad made to their practices in order to better individualize learning experiences for their students was restructuring reading instruction. When we met on January 15, 2013, their reading instructional time had recently changed to a three part learning work shop in which teachers shared teaching responsibilities within the three parts. In Part One of the workshop, students attended a teacher led lesson with a large group of about twenty students from both 4 th and 5 th grades. In these lessons, teachers intro duced, or reinforced, a reading comprehension skill, and students set individual goals for their own reading to occur during the second segment of the workshop. In the second part of the workshop, students worked independently in what the learning communi During comprehension skill, reading different texts that were matched to their interest and
169 reading level, and wrote about their reading expe riences as they practiced particular skills. Also during this time, teachers circulated and met with students one on one, or in small groups, to conference about the progress they were making toward their individual goals. Finally, in the third part of t he workshop, students returned to the larger group and shared evidence of the work they completed during autonomous time. Figure 7 1 describes the professional conversation we had around the 4/5 fessional development session Lillian had led to help teachers assess how it was working. The figure demonstrates the ways in which I applied explicit inquiry language to the professional development experience in notes to Lillian and Diana. The excerpt comes from an email I sent to them after analyzing my field notes from that week and making connections between their work and explicit inquiry. The inquiry words seen in bold in Figure 7 1 (i.e., wondering, data collection, data analysis, sharing insight s, action) were never used in the actual professional development experience, but clearly from the conversations and exercises that Lillian took these teachers through, they followed the processes and principles of practitioner inquiry. First, Lillian fr amed their professional development meeting with the questions: Next, she led the teachers in looking at student assessment data to determine student progress in reading comprehension a nd vocabulary. After organizing assessment data, the teachers collaborated to make sense of the data by carefully reading through the scores and sorting them in different ways (i.e., perceived ability, grade levels, student accommodations, assigned teache rs). With a deeper understanding of the data, they
170 then reflected on the meanings of the student assessment data and what they believed next steps should be. Through engaging in analysis of the student assessment data and discussion, the teachers found a disconnection in their understanding of what was happening during large group lessons and autonomous student work time. From here, the teachers decided they needed to better match the individual reading conferences they were having with students during a utonomous times with the large group lessons. They decided to videotape their student conferences so they could learn from each other. By the end of the meeting, although having done so implicitly, teachers had even developed a new plan for another inqui ry cycle in which they would analyze their conferences through video analyses and collaborative reflection. Lillian never explicitly named each step of the inquiry process with the teachers during this meeting, but the process of implicit inquiry she took them through had much of the same purposeful values that we see in the process of explicit inquiry. The implicit inquiry structure honored the complexity of teaching and made it worthy of being questioned and studied. It offered a powerful professional p osition for the teachers as they were given a tool for professional learning that served as a mechanism for expanding their knowledge base for teaching and raising their voices in the educational reform efforts they are engaging in at P.K. Yonge (Cochran S mith & Lytle, 1993; 2009; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009; Meyers & Rust, 2003; Snow Gerono, 2005; Zeichner, 2003 ). Implicit inquiry ensured the teachers had active roles in making meaningful progress toward relevant, effective teaching practices for successful student learning in the 21 st century.
171 Although I frequently synthesized my field notes and reorganized them within these inquiry structures before sharing them with Lillian and Diana (Figure 7 1), for much of the school year they continued to th ink of this implicit actualization of inquiry as something very different from the more explicit process of inquiry the three of us were engaging in. Even with their sophisticated understandings of inquiry and inquiry stance Lillian and Diana often thoug ht inquiry as professional development would be an school space. They reasoned against using inquiry at the beginning of the year because they saw the process as ap art from development expectations. Ironically, however, because Lillian and Diana had inquiry stance inquiry had become their way of work as educators. Inquiry was a part of their everyday practices and, thus, they used im plicit inquiry to structure professional development experiences for teachers from the very beginning of the year, but they did so unconsciously. Diana reflected on her perceived lack of inquiry in professional development during year one in the new build ing by saying: Systematic inquiry could help us tremendously. Collective inquiry could help so far off tra ck with inquiry. (Diana, Interview) While Lillian and Diana had a difficult time at first seeing that the ways in which they were actualizing inquiry implicitly was impacting teacher learning, from experiencing the utility of engaging in practitioner inqu iry themselves in order to understand their practices the first year in the new building, they came to realize the ways that they were actualizing inquiry implicitly all along, without naming it as such,
172 was perhaps just as powerful as the process of expli cit inquiry they had been so familiar with for years. implicit inquiry during their first year of professional development in the new space was that their implicit use was perhaps just as purposeful and powerful as it would have been if they used the language of inquiry, and a more systematic and formalized cycle with the teachers. We learned that it was less important that the steps and procedures and more important that the teachers were given an opportunity to utilize the processes of questioning, reflecting on their practices, and making data driven decisions to untangle the complexity of learning to work in the new environment so that student and teacher learning could continue to progress. When Lillian and Diana used implicit inquiry to structure their professional development efforts during the first year in the newly designed space, te achers learned to work collaboratively to make measured decisions that honored the vision for the school and help improve teaching practices for teaching and learning in the 21 st century community learning center. n between the implicit inquiry that they were facilitating with teachers and the more explicit process they had learned about in graduate school and had engaged in throughout their careers, indicates that there is more work to be done in order to understan d the relationship between inquiry stance and use of both explicit and implicit inquiry Since Lillian and Diana understood inquiry as the formal explicit systematic cycle discussed in a very particular way in the literature (i.e., Burbank & Kauchak, 2003 ; Donnell & Harper, 2005; Merino & Holmes, 2006;
173 Poekert, 2010; Snow Gerono, 2005) it was difficult for them to see the ways they were embedding the inquiry process in their teacher professional development sessions to help teachers come to richer underst andings of their work. As they developed new understandings about inquiry and the ways they had been enacting the process with teachers implicitly throughout the school year, they realized the teachers might indeed be ready to enact the inquiry process in an explicit way, and made plans to introduce explicit inquiry to the teachers during the following school year. As Lillian and Diana consider shifting from implicit inquiry activity to explicit inquiry activity in professional development in subsequent years, this study indicates the importance of better understanding the influence of implicit inquiry before explicit inquiry activity begins. Since the formal steps of inquiry seemed less important than their engagement with the principles of inquiry this year, it will be interesting to study the effect of making inquiry visible after it has already been their way of work for several months. With this new understanding of inquiry as both implicit and explicit developed during the seven months of this stud y as a springboard, Lillian and Diana plan to inquire into the explicit use of inquiry with teachers during the upcoming school year. Conclusion I end this dissertation in the same way it began, with a reminder of the prevalent call for change in the curre nt educational climate. Prevalent new paradigms emphasize the need for more powerful learning opportunities that meet the needs of 21 st century learners, however these paradigms have not yet been clearly reflected in our education system. Most schools in the 21 st century continue following early factory models and do not meet the diverse and demanding needs of life, work, and citizenship in the 21 st century (Darling Hammond, 2010; Darling Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Hutchison,
174 2004). This study demonstrat es the ways in which the field of education can begin to reimagine school spaces to better meet the needs of 21 st century learners, and the professional development needs of teachers as they prepare for and move to new architectural space s designed to supp ort 21 st century learning models. By coming to a deeper understanding of the ways in which professional development mediated and supported teacher growth and development in a newly designed 21 st century community learning center, this study develops new un derstandings for the field of education as it adds to the growing body of literature around 21 st century school reform. This study indicates that with meticulous preparation and intense professional support, teaching and learning can be reformed for the 2 1 st century, but this study also demonstrates that it will not be easy. While professional development helped teachers make progress toward reforming education in their school toward improved student learning for the 21 st during the first year in the new space was on making sense of teacher need and redeveloping professional development structures to support the logistical and emotiona l turmoil the move to the new building necessitated. working within a one of a kind school space, was not conducive to discovering deep, rich connections between professiona l development and 21 st century learning what it looks like, how it can play out in new architectural spaces for school buildings, and the impact of 21 st century teaching approaches on student learning. During their first year in the new environment, tea chers spent much of their professional learning time working
175 to understand unfamiliar logistics and to figure out how to work with one another in cross grade level learning communities. While we do learn from this study about the value of practitioner inq uiry for professional developers, the need for professional development to be supportive of chaotic transitions during 21 st century reform efforts, the importance of inquiry data for renegotiating existing school structures to ensure teachers have time for successful engagement in school improvement efforts, and the value of both explicit and implicit inquiry related to professional development efforts, we learn little about the specifics of what learning looked like for the children in this new space and t he ways it was consonant with what the literature suggests for 21 st century school reform (Darling Hammond, 2010; Dede, 2009; Prenskey, 2010). Future studies should focus on what student learning for the 21 st century looks like in practice. With continued and deeper study into the movement of schools into 21 st century space s we may come to new understandings for what it is teachers need to be supported in these transitions, be better able to facilitate the necessary changes in practice more quickly, and b egin to discover the specific ways teaching and learning looks when it is reconfigured for the 21 st century. As Lillian and Diana worked with the teachers at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School during their first year in the newly designed school building, they utilized inquiry to see past the inherent frustrations and challenges of moving into a reformed 21 st century space because they believed that their students deserved to learn in an environment that honors and cultivates their interests, inte lligence, and social wellbeing. With the new understandings they developed through inquiry during their first year in the new space, Lillian and Diana continue to work diligently toward
176 developing substantial professional development agendas to better mee t student needs and to actualize the complete vision for the new school building. Plans have already begun to focus the 2013 st century for 21 s t century learners. Lillian describes these plans by saying: Leaders more purposefully to ensure we are tightly connecting professional learning with student learning. Learning C ommunity Leaders (one from each K/1, 2/3, 4/5 learning community) will have their own professional learning community meetings once a month. These leaders will support each other in taking greater responsibility for the professional development of the tea chers in their K/1, 2/3, or 4/5 learning community. Diana and I will help the Learning Community Leaders as they take the lead in planning and facilitating professional development. Teachers will engage weekly rotational schedule of content area focuses: math, language arts, science, and social studies. Additionally, once a month, teachers will have dedicated time to work on callin In addition, we will continue to work on our vertical conversation plan with opportunities for communication and collaboration within K/1, 2/3, 4/5 learning communities, vertical teams of K 5 teach ers, and the whole elementary faculty. (Email, 06/19/13) As the educators at P.K. Yonge continue to work toward 21 st century school reform, their school environment is a context ripe for study in informing the work of other education systems interested in reforming their structures, policies, and practices to better meet the needs of 21 st century learners. As this study ends, this process is just beginning, and offers promise to truly actualize a 21 st c entury education for all children.
177 Table 7 1. Understandings and New Understandings Understanding New Understanding Intentionality Practitioner Inquiry for Professional Developers Flexibility in Professional Development Professional Development During Times of High Stress Communicating Professional Development Needs with Inquiry Data Professional Development and the Importance of Time Using Inquiry in Professional Development The Importance of Implicit Inquiry
178 Figure 7 1. Professional development inquiry s tructures
179 APPENDIX A INQUIRY WRITE UP Supporting Teacher Learning in a New Space Background and Purpose P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School emphasizes learning within a community that is accepting, P.K. Yonge promotes teaching that emulates exactly the kind of learning we hope to provide for our students. For nearly seven years, P.K. Yonge has developed, designed, and built a school to our exact specifications. Teams of students, teachers, administrators, architects, and interior designers have worked together to create a space that nurtures 21 st century learners. The new school is a community learning center designed by Randall Fielding and Prakash Nair that utilizes open space, technology, and nature to foster playfulness, warmth, and sense of community to ensure students and teachers are provided with every oppor tunity to engage in authentic, inquiry oriented learning that is complex, relevant, and stimulating (Nair, Fielding, & Lackney, 2009). The 2012 2013 school year was the first year teachers and students in the P.K. Yonge elementary division began using th e new space. Rather than typical grade level and classroom structures, the school is organized in learning communities based on and teachers in kindergarten and first grade; second and third grade; and fourth and fifth grade each have their own wing of the school in which all students and teachers
180 designed to support collaborative learning among et al. 2009, p. 27) so that their spatial, psychological, physiological, and behavioral needs are always met. There is not another school with which to compare this exact organization or architectural structure. Therefore, the teachers and students at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School are e mbarking on a new phenomenon in the field of education. As elementary school teachers at P.K. Yonge began working in new ways in this newly designed architectural space, traditional ways of teaching have been called into question and professional developm ent has played a large role in the ways teachers are making sense of and using this new space and approach to teaching. As the curriculum and instruction coordinators and a university partner, we are responsible for supporting teachers in this transition t o the newly designed space, and for mediating teacher learning. By engaging in practitioner inquiry to study our preparation for, and facilitation of, teacher learning, we hoped to systematically study our own practices to better understand professional d evelopment opportunities in the new space by considering preconceptions and critical new directions for professional learning (Laverty, 2003; Rich, 1990 in Crotty, 1998). The purpose of this inquiry, therefore, was to study the ways in which we mediated a nd supported teaching and learning in a new environment that uses space differently. Wondering With this purpose, we wondered: In what ways might we mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently?
181 What are we doing t o help support the goals of the building? Where do we find time and space to deliberately discuss the ways in which the new space supports and limits teacher (and student) learning with the teachers? How do we facilitate forward planning? Methods and Proce dures To gain insight into our wonderings, the three of us met on Tuesday afternoons. In these meetings, we reflected on professional development that had occurred the meeti ng agendas, and previous professional development planning documents. In development into consideration, and spent time discussing the new space, the goals of that space, and the philosophies behind its purposes. With these reflections, we planned for professional development in two ways. We prepared big questions, planned protocols, developed agendas and presentations, and made lists for gathering supplies. It was often during this immediate planning that we communicated with communities and/or their community leaders for what to expect and what to prepare for the week. The second kind of planning we did was future oriented. In order to ensure we were deliberately discussing the ways in which the new space might support or limit teacher and student learning in the long term, we dedicated some of our time together to talk about the overall progress of professional development in the new space and how we envisioned it contributing to teacher and student learning in the future. With the mission of P.K. Yonge and the new space in the forefront of our
182 minds, we set big goals for moving the teachers toward these objectives with a balance of support and pressure. During each professional development opportunity, Lillian and/or Diana took the lead in facilitating, often including teacher leaders in the process. Rachel attended professiona l development days on Wednesdays, as well as learning community professional development release days. She contributed when appropriate and took notes throughout. At the end of each week, Rachel sent synthesized versions of her notes, with reflections, t o Lillian and Diana These notes and reflections were then used to inform our practices in professional development moving forward. Statement of Findings As a result of analyzing our data, three important findings that emerged about what we learned about mediating and supporting teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently were: Professional development must be multifaceted. It needs to be continuously provided as a job embedded, community based, inquiry oriented experience. Professional development must shift in order to meet the needs of teachers, but also the goals of the school. Teacher leadership is essential. Finding Statement One In order to mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space di fferently, professional development must be multifaceted. It needs to be continuously provided as a job embedded, community based, inquiry oriented experience. Coherent, cohesive systems with clear, well defined goals for tasks,
183 materials, strategies, an d student and teacher outcomes have greater opportunity for educational improvement (Darling Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Desimone, 2009; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Successful systems have common, explicit visions (Borko, 2004; Hug hes & Ooms, 2004; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). They align with federal and state goals, standards, and assessments while specifically focusing on district, school, teacher, and student goals. Successful professional development takes place when it is exp licitly connected to student learning (Borko, 2004; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007) while recognizing that powerful adult learning leads to powerful student learning. Professional development at P.K. Yonge occurs continuously and as a part of e in order to best reach their students. Just as we expect our students to continuously learn, our teachers engage in continuous professional learning as well. Each Tuesday afternoon, the Learning Community meets to collaboratively forward plan for the coming week. This meeting usually focuses on the actual lesson planning and logistics necessary for the collaborative nature of teaching in this environment. On Wednesdays, the elementary faculty meets in vertical teams focused on analyzing student work samples around a particular subject area. This critical dialogue allows for teachers to better understand the learning progression of our students and plan accordingly. Each Wednesday has a different subject area focus. In addition to the whole faculty Wednesday afternoons, each Wednesday morning, one Learning Community is released for a two hour session for professional learning. This time is our goals of more per sonalized learning for students.
184 As the previous description emphasizes, almost all of the professional development offered at P.K. Yonge is offered on site and is situated as a part of, and job embedded professional development experience immediate, relevant, and authentic learning every day so that every student achieves (Cheek, 1997; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003; Learning Forward, 20 12;). By investigating problems of practice and questioning new theories and technologies, teachers continuously refine and strengthen their knowledge, practices, and beliefs (Hughes & Ooms, 2004). Having space to reconsider beliefs and enact new practice s with regards to instructional innovation, like teaching in this new environment, fosters ownership, confidence, and professional engagement (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Since all of the professional learning is job embedded, there are clear connections to the everyday work of each teacher. For example, student work is analyzed weekly in a vertical team. This allows teachers to immediately put into practice what is discussed with their colleagues regarding instructional shifts. P.K. Yonge elementary professional development that provides the time and space to form and nurture collaborative relationships (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007). Ongoing collaboration that is consistent and collective is associated with changes in knowledge and practice (Desimone, 2009; Heibert, 1999). Teachers who identify with a collaborative group are more willing to dedicate time, energy, and expertise to professional development (Hughes & Ooms, 2004; King, 2002; Smeetes & Ponte, 20 09; Snow Gerono, 2005). Each learning community in the P.K. Yonge elementary division was designed with
185 open spaces and transparent walls in order to invite teachers to collaborate throughout the day ( F igure 1). Figure 1 ( Photo s courtesy of fieldingnair .com) The learning communities make it possible for teachers to inspire one another to take the risks necessary to explore the implications and complications of teaching in the new space (Hughes & Ooms, 2004; Mouza, 2009). Teache rs are better able to nurture a willingness to try new things; encourage each other, and hold each other accountable for what they believe will help them grow professionally because they are able to immediately share expertise, watch one another teach, and co teach throughout each school day. For example, as teachers in one community began thinking about how they might better meet the goals of the space during reading block, one teacher asked, and uring the reading block in other parts of his community now. He wanted to better inform his future practice by understanding what the othe r teachers are already doing (Field Notes, 10 / 31 / 12). Because the space is built to encourage job embedded, collabor ative professional development, this teacher was able to easily integrate this observation into his usual teaching practices. There was no need to get permission, obtain a substitute, or wait for
186 a time his students were at lunch, as would have been the c ase in a traditional space. Through collegial support and collective participation, teachers in this space are pulled out of the typical isolation we see in schools in order to develop deeper knowledge of teaching and learning (Mouza, 2009). By engaging in critical dialogue and sharing their practice, teachers within each learning community are collaborating to spark cultures of highly engaged learning (Dana, et al ., 2011). Since these communities will develop even greater power by inviting others into t heir work (Dana, et al ., 2011; McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993; Putnam & Borko, 2000), teachers also have opportunities to collaborate across learning communities, with other schools, and with university partners during release days and full elementary faculty professional development opportunities. New learning can grow and develop in the real world of teacher and student lives through meaningful sources of community knowledge that generate strength and relevant information (McLaughlin, 1998; Wenger, 1998). F learning communities in action and the implications that they came up with for their own practice showed that their points of views may be opening up (E mail, 12 / 04 /12 Finally, professional development that mediates and supports professional learning is an environment that uses space differently is inquiry oriented. One particularly strong model of professional development is prac titioner inquiry. Inquiry gives educators a powerful professional stance (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2009; Zeichner, 2003) that encourages them to seek out change by reflecting on their own practice while expanding the knowledge base of teaching and learning (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993, 2009). To do so they engage in cycles of questioning, data collection and analysis that
187 lead to action based on new leaning and the sharing of findings with others (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). Professional development that is inquiry oriented approaches Smith & Lytle, 2009, p. 121). This inquiry stance encourages educators to engage in multiple and con tinuous cycles of inquiry that make practice problematic and public (Feeney, 2009; Hargreaves, 1999; Harris & Muijis, 2003; York Barr & Duke, 2004). P.K. Yonge has a long and rich history of inquiry oriented professional development. Since teachers move d into the new space, an indirect form of inquiry has been constantly utilized. Each professional development opportunity has been framed through felt difficulties or burning questions. For example, this building working for? Who are learning communities working for (F ield N otes, 01 / 15 / then used student work, test data, examples of pedagogy, parent communication, literature, and organizational concept maps to come to deeper understan ding of their question. For example, when wondering who the new environment was working for, teachers took student work, standardized test scores, and organizational concept maps gh which learning structures (F ield N otes, 01 / 15 / 13). After analyzing data, teachers then change practice based on what they have found and take those changes in practice back to full faculty meetings during the student work analysis protocols. In the pr evious example, teachers restructured conferences with students in order to more explicitly share their around to ensure they were receiving a more effective balance of auto nomous time,
188 teacher time, and peer collaboration (F ield N otes, 01 / 15 / 13). With inquiry embedded into their professional development, educators are given permission to wonder and make decisions, influencing the experienc es of their students as well. Inquiry oriented learning empowers exploratory, passion led learning experiences for all members of the learning community. Through our inquiry, we found that in order to mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space different ly, professional development must be multifaceted. It needs to be continuously provided as a job embedded, community based, inquiry oriented experience. Finding Statement Two In order to mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently, professional development must shift in order to meet the needs of teachers, but also the goals of the school. As is clear in the professional development li terature, teachers must see a clear connection to their own context in order to enact new practices (Desimone, 2009). By consistently focusing on where the teachers needs were, we were able to provide the professional learning opportunities that the teach ers needed, but were ab le to keep our eyes on the long term goals of the school. This constant tension between meeting them where they were while still pushing to the next level was a constant struggle. However, only through this struggle, we were able t o truly begin to see change. Our Wednesdays were always dedicated to facilitating professional development. Due in part to our systematic study of professional development practices, this Wednesday professional development evolved over the school year. A t first, we met
189 while students attended specially scheduled classes with music, library, and physical education teachers. After reflecting on the first round (K 5), howeve r, we realized that it was causing an unnatural division within each learning community to meet with grade levels separately. Additionally, in early October, the three of us discussed an important s without interrupting other time/conversations (F ield N otes, 10 / 09 / these issues and came up with the following action steps: Tuesdays need to be dedicated time for learning community logistics. We should give up our old logistics oriented Wacky Wednesday conversations for more future oriented conversations. Use Wednesdays only for goal setting and forward planning. To move into learning community Wacky Wednesdays we need to get approval from school administrat ion and we need to find three more places for students to go. First try asking teachers and interns to lead Chinese, bullying prevention, and art classes. (F ield N otes, 10 / 09 / 12). In an email to Lillian and Diana ngly, since the last time we met, one of our action steps was actualized! Community Wacky Wednesdays were approved and Lillian introduced them to the faculty today as a way to take the weight off of Tuesday planning and move the focus of Wednesdays to mor e With our plan realized, we began meeting with one community (K/1, 2/3, or 4/5) each Wednesday morning. Wacky Wednesdays had always had a specific content
190 focus. For example, in the first round, we studie d the reading conceptual framework, in the second conferencing with students, etc., but through our inquiry work, we also shifted the focus of Wednesday morning meetings to be purposefully turned on forward thinking and future planning. In this way, we co uld study the ways in which the specific content focus might be pushed more closely toward the goals of the school. On Wednesday afternoons, we met with the whole elementary faculty. These meetings also followed the specific content focus of the round. T hese meetings rotated between structured student work analyses and new learning. In the structured student analyses, teachers met on vertical teams, with one kindergarten through 5 th grade teacher in each small group. Each teacher brought a sample of stu dent work and the group used the Student Work Analysis protocol ( F igure 2) to discuss the ways in which the student work informs teaching practices in the new space. Figure 2 ( Photos courtesy of Rachel Wolkenhauer) When new learning opportunities were provided, teachers, university partners, or school administrators brought in new information to share and activities that ensured teachers got immediate hands on use of the new information. For example, in one new lear ning
191 workshop, teachers engaged in a simulated inquiry oriented lesson for science called a science, they experienced it as their students might. As the literature sugges ts ( Banilower et al., 2007; Carpenter et al., 1989; Desimone et al., 2002; Duffy, et al., 1986; Firestone, Mangin, Martinez, & Polovsky, 2005; Harwell, D'Amico, Stein, & Gatti, 2000; Landry et al., 2009; McCutchen, et al., 2002; McGill Franzen et al., 199 9; Penuel et al., 2007 ; Rosemary et al., 2007; Van Keer & Verhaeghe, 2005) this active aspect of professional learning is necessary for teachers to transfer new practices into their classroom. One other aspect of professional development that emerged from our inquiry was Lillian and Diana advocated to get the teachers full release days that would be tacked onto Wacky Wednesdays so that they have additional time together for future planning (F ield N otes, 11 / 07 / these release days, teachers from each learning community ha d substitute teachers for a whole day immediately before or after their scheduled Wacky Wednesday. In this way, teachers had a day and a half to work together on future planning, a much needed and necessary addition to their professional learning. It beca me clear through our inquiry that in order to mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently, we needed professional development plans that could easily shift in order to meet the needs of teachers, but also the goals of the school.
192 Finding Statement Three In order to mediate and support teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently, teacher leadership is essential. According to Katzenmeyer and Moller beyond the classroom, identify with and contribute to a community of learners and leaders, and influence others toward voices. By fighting for what they know is best fo r every student, teachers recognize that they must cultivate the skills necessary to meet the unique challenges of schools and become researchers, scholars, problem solvers, and advocates. Recognizing the importance of developing lasting change, these tea chers share their experiences while acting as allies. Together, teacher leaders, their colleagues, and their students are practicing interventions and developing supportive connections that can motivate persistent change efforts. The Learning Community Le ader (LC Leaders) role is not new this year, but the role expanded and refined to meet the needs of the teachers in this new environment. In the past, the LC Leaders were mostly a conduit for communication between administration and the teachers. In this new building, the LC Leaders began to take on professional learning. As t he year progressed, they began to take on more facilitation of their peers as well as designing the learning. This shared leadership structure really began to accelerate what we were able to accomplish.
193 Concluding Thoughts It was through this inquiry that we came to realize how essential professional development is for school reform. The P.K. Yonge elementary division is embarking on a new phenomenon in the field of education. Through this newly designed architectural world demands a whole different kind of learner and Fielding and Nair 2012 a going to educate a person who is going to grow up in the 21 st century, in a global society, which is in a very differen Fielding and Nair 2012 a ). By shifting the focus away from teachers as experts and instead thinking of teachers as facilitators of learning, teaching is radically different and is prod ucing radically different learning environments. At the beginning of our inquiry, teachers were in survival mode. It took every ounce of energy just to figure out how to live in the new space. Through carefully crafted professional development that was continuous, multifaceted, and centered around teacher needs and school goals, the teachers were both supported and pressured to move from living in the new space to teaching in the new space. Through interlacing cycles of pushing teacher learning forward w hile attending to immediate needs, the professional development allowed teachers to build confidence as they grew into professionals who are Diana, Interview ) in this new space.
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198 APPENDIX B INQUIRY PRESENTATION
202 APPENDIX C INQUIRY PRESENTATION HANDOUT
203 MAY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE 2 1ST CENTURY 2013 In the 2012 2013 school year, elementary teachers at P.K. Yonge moved into a new building designed to promote collaboration in order to meet the needs of every child. In the new space, teachers and students in 2 grade levels work together in learning com munities. Kids are coaching kids and teachers are coaching teachers. Professional development (PD) in the space had to change to support the new approaches to teaching that the space promotes. Therefore, we wondered: In what ways might we mediate and s upport teacher learning in a new environment that uses space differently? To gain insight into our wondering, we met weekly to analyze and reflect on PD practices. With these recursive analyses we planned for PD in two ways: immediate preparation, and bi g picture goal setting. Lillian and Diana then facilitated PD as Rachel attended and took reflective notes that contributed to weekly analyses and informed next steps. After a summative analysis of our data, we found: PD must be multifaceted. It needs to be continuously provided as a job embedded, community based, inquiry oriented experience. PD must shift in order to meet the needs of teachers, but also the goals of the school. Teacher leadership is essential. This inquiry reminded us how important PD is for school reform. Through interlacing cycles of pushing teacher learning forward while attending to immediate needs, the PD allowed teachers to build confidence as they grew into professionals who are (interview, 2012). See the new space at: http://youtu.be/NT7Sy9APTPo P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School has changed the way teachers operate. TEACHER WORKSPACE TRANSPARENT WALLS GROUND FLOOR PLAN GROUND FLOOR PLAN TEACHER WORKSPACE CREATING SPACE FOR T EACHER LEARNING P.K. YONGE DEVELOPME NTAL RESEARCH SCHOOL TRANSPARENT WALLS
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214 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Rachel Wolkenhauer is an educator and scholar in the field of teacher education. ree in degree in curriculum and instruction. She began her teaching career at Dunedin Elementary School where she taught third and fourth grade. As a doctoral student, Rach el served as the Lastinger Center for Learning Teacher in Residence. Her research interests include practitioner inquiry, job embedded professional development, and preservice teacher education.