Changing Schools in Changing Times: Stabilising and Sustaining Whole School Change in Schools Serving Low-Income Communities

Dr Debra Hayes
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An enduring issue in education is how to sustain whole school change (WSC) to support student learning in communities that experience severe social dislocation and educational disadvantage: How is it possible, in such difficult situations, for principals, teachers and parents to develop an efficient and sustainable process of WSC that will improve the level of student engagement and the quality of their learning?

In this paper, I describe research being undertaken in four high schools in New South Wales, Australia. The research recognizes the centrality of learning in WSC by working collaboratively with school leaders and teachers to strengthen professional learning in order to improve the learning outcomes for students. The approach being developed focuses on three sites of pedagogical practice: the work of classroom teachers, head teacher/stage leaders and senior executive. The aim is to align learning across these sites and set in train a process that builds coherence and purpose within the school community directed towards improving the learning outcomes of students who tend to benefit least from education.

I outline the conceptual underpinnings of the research, the collaborative frameworks being developed in each school and the process of change being investigated. Core elements of this process are the agreed learning outcomes across the three sites of pedagogical practice, as well as appropriate indicators of learning and strategies to achieve the outcome measures.

Keywords: Educational Leadership, Institutional Change, Pedagogy, Engagement, Socio-Economic Disadvantage
Stream: Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Debra Hayes

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Technology

Debra Hayes PhD is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. She teaches within the Faculty's teacher education programs and supervises research students. She was a core researcher on the large scale Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study that is widely recognised for its description of how classroom practices are linked to improved student outcomes through Productive Pedagogies. Dr Hayes is a co-author of the book, Leading Learning Making Hope Practical in Schools. Her research interests relate primarily to issues of equity and pedagogy in educational provision. She is particularly interested in describing the school contexts, and approaches to teaching, that enhance the learning outcomes of students from low-income families. Debra began her career as a teacher of junior secondary science and physics in various schools in the Hunter Valley and Sydney. Her last two appointments were to Tempe HS and Asquith GHS. She was also a member of the 2 Unit HSC Physics Examination Committee.

Ref: L05P0406