Moving from the local to the global in theorising curriculum leadership within an Action Research approach

Year: 1999

Author: Macpherson, Ian, Brooker, Ross, Aspland, Tania

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reflects on a way of taking insights gained from investigations and actions at local sites to wider scrutiny and use in such areas as systemic policy and global comparisons.

The methodological approach taken in our work on curriculum leadership has been largely within an Action Research framework characterised as critical, collaborative and reconstructive. Much of our data has emerged from the use of lifeworld perspectives of teachers, parents and students (elicited as narratives and elaborated in a series of ongoing conversations and actions).

Action Research, however, is largely a local process. It is also an iterative process, and in our more recent work, we have begun experimenting with the use of what we call a hermeneutic spiral. Our definition of such a spiral invites critical friends both within local sites and wider contexts to critique and reconstruct our interpretations of data and actions. We contend that such an approach has the potential to incorporate local insights into broader unified alliances which, in turn, have the potential to transform local (and largely generative) data into more generalisable and universally useable data.

The reflective nature of the paper, then, lends itself to the identification of a research approach which blends the local and the global. Such an approach is not without its issues and ongoing challenges. The paper concludes with a proposed research approach along with a consideration of some of the issues and challenges.