Collaborative Professional Learning for Leadership

Year: 2021

Author: Thomas, Christy, Turner, Jeff, Marler, Rita, Jorgenson-Adam, Shan

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Research has demonstrated that leadership development through ongoing professional learning can provide support in maximizing the impact on teaching and ultimately on student learning. Although leadership development is common in pre-service programs there is a need for in-service opportunities to support school leaders. Short term professional learning experiences are recognized for having some benefits but there is an advantage to providing long term experiences. Using action research, a collaborative professional learning model was designed, implemented, and data was collected and analyzed to determine how effective this model was in helping leaders address leadership standards. The research questions were: How does the collaborative professional learning model contribute to leadership development related to meeting leadership standards? How does the coaching model support leaders in achieving their goals? Three methods of data collection were used to inform the study. Surveys were conducted at the start and end of both years of the study. Interviews and focus groups were conducted at the end of each year to gain a deeper understanding. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze survey data and interview data was thematically analyzed with two rounds of coding by multiple members of the research team. Preliminary findings show that: (a) a key feature of the collaborative professional learning was an intentional structure which provided focus, time and resources to support leaders addressing the standards, (b) collaborative learning was integral to the professional learning model, (c) the professional growth plan supported reflection, dialogue, and feedback, (d) coaching was an important aspect of the professional learning. This study is significant for educational leadership interested in leadership development and sustained collaborative approaches to professional learning for leadership.