Perceptions of implementing SIP and teacher professional learning: Are there elements of action research?

Year: 2012

Author: Paatsch, Louise, Wells, Muriel, Campbell, Coral

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper will present findings from a study that investigated the operation of a short-term-cycle School Improvement Plan (SIP) within the Barwon South Network. Principals, members from leadership teams, and classroom teachers from 23 schools in the Network completed an online survey. Of the 75 completed surveys, 79% were classroom teachers, 12% were members of leadership teams and 9% were Principals.  Open-ended survey questions asked participants to describe their current school improvement plan and to explain how the school improvement plan goals were decided. Participants were also asked to describe the process for achieving these selected goals in their schools. All responses were scrutinised for emerging themes and collected into broad categories. Results showed that the process for implementing the short-term cycle SIP followed a pattern which reflected many elements of Action Research. Kemmins and McTaggart (1992) define action research as “a form of collective self-reflective enquiry undertaken by order to improve the rationality and justice of their own social and educational practices...” (p.5). Specifically, action research involves a spiral of cycles including planning, acting and observing, reflection, revised planning, further action, observation, and reflection.  Findings will be discussed in terms of how schools appear to undertake self-reflective enquiry when selecting SIP goals for the purpose of  teacher professional learning and the achievement of better student outcomes.  Furthermore, the process for achieving these goals will be discusses in terms of the cyclical elements involved in action research.  Similarities and differences in responses between classroom teachers, leadership teams and principals will also be presented.

Key Words

School Improvement, Teacher Professional Learning, Action Research