School leader practitioner research: Collaboration between the research community and school leaders to solve complex problems

Year: 2019

Author: Turner, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The complexities and challenges of the twenty-first century impact school Principals in many ways. Social, technological and economic change, as well has a political environment focused on performance and accountability, are the daily reality for school leaders. This environment has implications on the wellbeing of those working in school leadership roles, on the recruitment and retention of school leaders and for finding new ways of seeking solutions to complex problems. Solving such problems is ultimately for the benefits of all students.

A common suggestion for thriving in such complex environments is to be agile, antifragile, responsive to threats and opportunities and in establishing new ways of approaching knowledge production. While individual research endeavours may not be able to solve the big complex problems of our age, collaborative arrangement between the research community and practitioners may generate new ways to finding solutions.

This symposium introduces a new collaboration between a university, a professional association and individual school leaders. Over a twelve-month period, the Queensland Association of State School Principals (QASSP) conducted four weekend workshops for school leaders focused on developing skills related to the research process. The output will be an edited collection outlining the issues or problems the practitioners sought answers. What subsequently developed is a collaboration with CQ University that sees these school leaders now commencing Doctor of Education degrees.

Some of the practitioner researchers in the QASSP cohort will outline their proposed doctoral studies in this symposium. The collaboration itself will be the subject to evaluation by tracking participants in this first cohort through their RHD journey to develop an effective model for school leader practitioner research.