Amplifying innovation: Changing pedagogical practice for student engagement

Year: 2019

Author: Barblett, Lennie, Kirk, Gillian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Amplify is an innovative program developed through the partnership between the Association of Independent Schools in Western Australia (AISWA) and Innovation Unit Australia (IUA). The aim of Amplify is to increase the proportion of students who are deeply engaged in their learning through the development of informed and intuitive teaching, learning and assessment practices and strategies. Through Amplify, AISWA and IUA sought to prompt schools to join a community of practice to stimulate pedagogical innovation and in doing so lead schools into a deeper level of divergent teaching and learning that engages young people in lifelong learning. This paper details an examination of this project using a phenomenological lens to the journey undertaken in six schools in Western Australia. Six case studies were undertaken by the researchers who attended the professional learning workshops with staff and followed their journeys over a course of two years as they developed and implemented their innovation alongside their students. The research methods of interviews, focus group interviews, observations and document analysis were employed to gain rich insights and robust descriptions to the journey of the teachers and principals in their encounter and implementation of the Amplify phenomenon. Findings suggest that multi-layered leadership is essential in the successful implementation and sustainability of each school’s Amplify innovation. This examination found that while the qualities inherent to each settings leadership varied, there were consistent factors that either supported or impeded implementation. This paper will report on these factors enveloped within the individuality of each school’s story. Integral to these stories is the evolution of socially just practices that began to emerge as essential components of the innovative goal. Examples of the leadership strategies that supported innovative practice reflecting socially just practices will be highlighted. Collectively, the findings from this paper will be useful to other schools who intend on disrupting current practices to improve student engagement. The documented processes discussed in this paper provide normality to abnormal circumstances where schools invite a departure from a controlled pedagogical climate to one where the control of teaching and learning is shared with students.