School wide pedagogies: from policy to stories of practice

Year: 2015

Author: Christie, Michael, Heck, Deborah, Simon, Susan, Higgins, Katrina

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

According to a policy introduced by Education Queensland (EQ) in 2011, schools are required to develop a school wide pedagogy (SWP) in collaboration with the school community to ensure ‘high quality teaching focused on the achievement of every student’ (Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment, 2011, p. 1). EQ did not mandate a particular pedagogy - schools were free to mix and match from a range of pedagogical models. In 2013-4 the authors undertook a case study, that brought together a group of regional EQ managers, school leaders, teachers and students in order to monitor the effectiveness of a SWP and to evaluate the extent to which the school had taken ownership of EQ’s policy decision. Our research questions were: What changes have occurred as a result of the implementation of the new pedagogical framework? What has been the most significant change to teaching and learning for students, teachers, and administrators following the introduction of this framework? How has this change impacted on teaching and learning for students, teachers and administrators? The method we used to collect evidence for the impact of the SWP is called the Most Significant Change technique (MSC) and was developed by Davies and Dart (2005). The method is participatory and relies on collaboration among all the stakeholders. Our case study provided buy out time for those who participated in the research which enabled them to meet, write their stories about the implementation of a school-wide pedagogy, analyse them, reach consensus about the most significant stories and why they were chosen. This data was further analysed by our research team. A cyclical design allowed school practitioners to make adjustments in real time and in a real school world, design staff development exercises on the basis of the research and actively seek to improve student learning. Our research demonstrates how tensions between school policy and practice can be recognised and reconciled so that those who must implement policy take on ownership of it. In addition the case study helps demonstrate how tensions between researchers and school practitioners can be resolved, so that instead of frustration and impositions, all stakeholders benefit from putting school-wide pedagogies into practice.

1. Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment. (2011). Pedagogical Framework. Retrieved 28/4, 2015, from
2. Davies, R.J. & Dart, J. (2005). ‘The Most Significant Change’ (MSC) technique: A guide to its use. Retrieved 30/4, 2015, from