Creating professional learning community through appreciative inquiry in early childhood context


Master's Thesis, 2016
37 Pages, Grade: B (3.1)

Excerpt

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Chapter one: Introduction

Background and Context of Study

Statement of the Problem

Significance of the Study

Research Questions

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Professional Learning Community

Shared Vision and Values

Collective Focus on Learning

Collaboration

Reflective Dialogue

De-Privatized Practices

Appreciative Inquiry

Discover

Dream

Design

Destiny or Delivery

Strength and Limitations of Appreciative Inquiry Approach

Early Childhood Development (ECD) context for creating PLC

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

Study Design

Population and Sample

Sampling Procedure

Data Generation Process and Tools

Stage One: Discovery

Phase Two: Dreaming

Phase Three: Designing

Phase Four: Destiny

Data analysis procedures

Ethical Consideration

Limitation of the Study

Chapter Four: Findings

Findings in Stage One: Discover

Best Practices of School

Contributions by Teachers

Finding in Stage Two: Dream

Best practices of School

Contribution by Teachers

Stage Three: Design

Stage Four: Destiny

Lesson Planning

Classroom Teaching, Observations and Feedback

Constructive Feedback

Reflective Dialogue Session(s)

Achievements of this Stage

Chapter Five: Discussions, Conclusion and Recommendations

Factors Involved in Creating PLC

Trust

Collaborative Learning

Reflective Dialogue

Processes to initiate and create PLC

Classroom Teaching and Observation

Constructive Feedback

Reflective Dialogue

Appreciative Inquiry Method for PLC

Conclusion

Recommendations

References

Chapter one: Introduction

This chapter presents the background and context of study, the purpose of this research along with statement of problem and the significance of this study. The main questions and sub questions for this research, and definition of key terms is also discussed.

Background and Context of Study

Schools particularly within the private sector are always striving to improve the standards of provision of quality of education by adopting different strategies. Curriculum enhancement, assessment, teacher effectiveness and effective leadership are some of the strategies that help to maintain and sustain the progress of a system (National High School Center, 2008). Teacher effectiveness or capacity building of teachers is another important strategy for bringing effective results in the student’s learning. As Wong & Wong (2010) suggested teachers are “the greatest asset of a school” (p. 13). Teachers are the prime persons who play a significant role in terms of nurturing the students through their pedagogical skills and content knowledge. At the same time, teachers are responsible for bringing the positive change in school.

For this purpose, schools arrange professional development sessions or workshops for teachers that not only improve teachers’ instructional activities, but also make teachers skillful (Harwell, 2003). According to the results of Teacher and Learning International Survey (Talis) in 2013, which is presented by OECD (2014), professional development is “defined as activities that aim to develop an individual’s skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher” (p.87). The types of professional development like workshops, courses, educational conferences, seminars, in-service training courses, visits and so on were also explored in the same survey.

The sessions arranged for professional development in schools are mostly for a limited time period and not as an ongoing process, which sometimes hinders teaching practice and understanding as endorsed by Ghulam Hussein (2013). The duration of professional development sessions suggested by Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson & Orphanos (2009) in their report, should be intensive and ongoing and for longer periods. Thus, the professional development of teachers is not a one day event or one-shot activity which lasts for a day, but it must be continued on an ongoing basis to bring the effectiveness in teaching and learning process (Harwell, 2003).

The school where this research was carried out demonstrated the similar kind of picture of professional development sessions, which were arranged for teachers twice a year. Particularly in the context of Early Childhood Development where teachers are required to upgrade their knowledge on a continuous basis, but unfortunately they received very little opportunity for their professional development. As endorsed by Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore (2011), ECD practitioners should advance their understanding related to development domains of children on an ongoing basis.

The school management, although aimed for capacity building of teachers through professional development (PD) sessions, was not able to provide it regularly nor in a formal and structured manner. Moreover, the PD interventions planned to meet the expected requirement for capacity building of teachers, were only for short term and not long enough, where teachers could learn from each other through collaboration and sharing of knowledge as suggested by Harwell (2003).

Although teachers attended and taking benefited from these sessions yet very little impact could be observed in their performance because of less opportunity for professional learning. Darling-Hammond et al (2009) in their study of US teachers have shown the impact of longer duration of professional development sessions on teaching and learning process in form of the student’s achievement Thus the issue of short duration of professional development sessions or workshops could be resolved by incorporating a culture that would encourage a learning support system.

Hence, there is a need to develop a culture of continuous professional learning environment for sustainable improvement through creating professional learning communities (PLC) in the school (Stoll, 2007). When I heard about professional learning community (PLC) in one of my MED courses, it intrigued me and I wanted to explore more about PLC, this led me to conduct a literature search on the characteristics and features of PLC. I found PLC as a suitable solution to counter act the issue of one-shot workshops. PLC, not only is known to sustain the professional learning of teachers, but also to help and create a collaborative environment where teachers will learn and gain knowledge together. According to Stoll, Bolam, McMohan, Wallace & Thomas (2006), the salient features of PLC help to provide a culture of collaboration by sharing knowledge and values through reflective dialogues and partnerships for taking responsibility of the student’s learning together.

Moreover, PLC supports to shift the paradigm from isolated learning to share learning as well as paradigm from individual to collaborative learning for making the teaching and learning process more effective (Stoll et al., 2006).

Therefore, this study explored the factors involved to create and sustain PLC in ECD contexts particularly and identified the processes involved for developing and designing PLC environment. With this aim, appreciative inquiry approach was found as a suitable approach for this study because this approach allows to engage participants for bringing change and positivity in the environment. Thus, this approach helps to explore and identify best practices of organizations (Shuayb, Sharp, Judkins & Hetherington, 2009). Therefore, the positivity of this method became helpful in this study and also become worthwhile for creating a PLC environment in the context. The 4-Ds stages of appreciative inquiry approach were applied in this study. These stages are (a) discovery, (b) dream, (c) design, and (d) destiny (Thomas, 2013).

Statement of the Problem

Though PLC is an evolving field that encourages the improvement in teaching and learning process on a regular basis, but it was not implemented in my school context. Sessions for professional learning were arranged for teachers for a day or two or a week instead of as a continuing process throughout the year. Furthermore, school was provided opportunities to very few teachers for their professional development.

Thus, there was a need to build an environment where each individual could get a chance to grow professionally through collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Particularly, teachers of ECD whose interventions towards child’s learning are long lasting could receive more opportunities for their development.

Therefore, this study was particularly designed to describe how professional learning community could be initiated so as to provide continuous support for capacity building of teachers in an ECD setting using appreciative inquiry approach.

Significance of the Study

Professional development of teachers is one of the significant factors for school effectiveness. It requires to create a culture of continuous professional learning that becomes helpful for teachers for their capacity building on a regular basis. Though schools in Pakistan are in a process of providing a professional learning environment for the teachers on a frequent basis, there is a dearth of studies that tell the factors and processes involved for developing continuous professional learning environment in a practice sense.

Therefore, this research study could support to create professional learning community by examining the factors in the school context specifically in ECD through which collaborative environment will be developed. This study is significant as it reviews the factors and processes that are required for developing PLC. This study would be beneficial for school management to establish a PLC culture in the school. Simultaneously, the findings of this study would be helpful for teachers for gauging their improvement in their teaching and learning process through working in a collaborative environment. In addition, appreciative inquiry approach would become the value added tool for this study in terms of exploring the best practices of schools as well as executing the factors and processes that requires for PLC in an appreciative and positive way. In short, this study provides a practical approach for creating PLC in ECD context through the use of appreciative inquiry approach.

Research Questions

The study guided by the following research questions:

1. How can PLC be created through appreciative inquiry for bringing the effectiveness in teaching and learning process in an ECD context of a private sector school system?

a. What are the key factors involved in creating PLC?
b. What are the processes to initiate and create PLC in ECD section?
c. How can appreciative inquiry support the initiation and creation of PLC?

Chapter Two: Literature Review

This chapter presents insights and intensive review of literature to support and rationalize the need for the present research. The review of literature is divided into three sections. The first section unpacks the term PLC by highlighting the importance of capacity building of teachers. The factors that are required for creating PLC in school setting are discussed next. The second section elaborates the appreciative inquiry method with detailed review of the 4-D’s stages. The context for this study is concisely described in the last section, which is followed by a summary of the entire chapter.

Professional Learning Community

The term professional learning community (PLC) was first used by Hord in the year 1997 where he only mentioned the process that required for creating and sustaining PLC. However, Greer (2012) and Kruze, Louis & Bryk (1994) in their study mentioned that the work on PLC was already done in 1960s. Thus, the ambiguity regarding the term remained debatable and no any concrete evidence is presented in the literature. Though, the detailed understanding about PLC specifically characteristics of PLC was found in the workings of many researchers of 20th century like Kleine-Kracht (1993), Louis & Kruse (1995), Prestine (1993) and so forth. However, the factors that were required for creating and sustaining PLC were profoundly discussed by Hord (1997).

In literature, the basic purpose for creating a PLC is to bring change. Change according to Vescio, Ross & Adams (2008) is elaborated in terms of thinking, practices and pedagogical skills of teachers where teachers receive a collaborative environment for sharing their skills and expertise. Further, Stoll, et al (2006) defined a change in a paradigm of school that shifted from individual to collaborative learning as well as from traditional learning to professional learning. Hence, the notions of PLC come with change from collaborative learning that encourages the teachers to learn from each other rather in comparison to individual learning. However, it is important to consider that if schools are not ready for change then they are not able to apply PLC with its full essence.

The foremost change that PLC brings in the school is in the capacity building of teacher. Capacity building as defined by Fullan (2010) cited in Harris (2011), “…concerns competencies, resources and motivation. Individuals and groups are high in capacity if they possess and continue to develop the knowledge and skills” (p.627). Thus capacity building works to enhance potential of individuals and groups and further strengthens their understanding and expertise. Teachers are also becoming able to bring innovation in their skills and teaching practices by learning and producing new things as emphasized by Harris (2011).

Moreover, capacity building of teachers becomes one of the tools to develop a learning community in school through enhancing the potentials and skills of teachers to bring change in the school (Damani, 2011). Through capacity building, teachers make their teaching and learning process more effective by exploring new and innovative strategies as well as by developing their knowledge and wisdom. This helps to bring change in school and achieve the targets and goals of school. Change is the prime objective for PLC where collaborative learning culture is developed, thus PLC builds the capacity of teachers by preparing them for change that ultimately brings improvement in school.

In this regard, ongoing support system is required for capacity building of teachers as well as for bringing change in the development of schools. Thus many educationalists like Stoll (2007), Stoll & Louis (2007) & Wiseman, Arroyo & Richter (2012) suggest PLC as an ongoing process that makes a difference in the learning of students and brings improvement in teaching practices. Thus, PLC provides ongoing support system to strengthen the teaching and learning process. PLC is sometimes considered as a programme rather than one shot activity as mentioned by Louis (n.d.), citing an example of an elementary school principal who announced the implementation of PLC as a new programme rather than as a set of ideas. According to Louis (n.d.) to consider PLC as a project or programme or one time effort to implement is a biggest misconception. The reason is that PLC creates a culture or environment which is not a day activity or a project or a new programme. To summarize, Hall (2014) mentioned about what PLC is and what it is not that needs to be considered. PLC as a meeting, a committee, a time bound activity and a club is not right, however PLC is an approach that guides and frames our thinking.

Nevertheless, many researchers like Hord (2004) & Stoll et al (2006) explained the notion of PLC in five parts or factors that are required for building the culture or environment of PLC, these factors are succinctly defined as follows:

Shared Vision and Values

The first factor is shared vision and values that become helpful to create and sustain PLC. According to Greer (2012), “PLC members create a shared vision by collaboratively melding individual visions into one vision” (p.33). Thus persons who are involved in creating and developing PLC culture have a common vision with common consensus and acceptability by all members. Commonly, all visions embrace the vision of student’s learning that leads towards shared norms and values which include mutual trust and respect for upgrading learning and understanding of students (Bolam, McMohon, Stoll, Thomas, Wallace, Greenwood, Hawkey Ingram, Atkinson & Smith, 2005; & Stoll, 2007).

Collective Focus on Learning

Dufour (2004) and Bolam et. al, (2005) considered PLC as a learning instead of teaching where the main focus is on collaborative professional learning of teachers as well as pupils learning. The second factor emphasizes the importance of learning which is ongoing in terms of inquiry and a quest that ignites the skill of investigation and research for bringing improvement in schools. This curiosity of learning ultimately helps schools to achieve the goals by improving the teaching practice as well as producing good results.

Collaboration

As defined by Friend and Cook (2010), collaboration is the process in which participants work together in partnership for shared goals and vision. Collaboration helps to further strengthen PLC which becomes helpful for teaching and learning process (Greer, 2012). Thus a shift from individual to collective learning, from traditional to collaborative learning takes place through this factor of collaboration in a PLC environment. Collaboration promotes learning together and learning from each other by sharing each other’s ideas and thoughts.

Reflective Dialogue

Reflective dialogues encourage a talk of teachers on current scenario by emphasizing on strength and challenges which teachers face. This talk of teachers leads towards different action for bringing the effectiveness in school (Kruze, Louis & Bryk, 1994). Therefore, a reflective dialogue supports teachers to minimize their weakness and promotes the skills and expertise of teachers by providing them chance for discussions and deliberation by the schools. In literature, reflective dialogue is considered as one of the significant factors for creating and sustaining PLC that allows teachers to reflect and discuss on their current teaching practices and share their potentials and expertise with each other. Through this way, reflective dialogue helps to develop a professional environment for collaborative sharing and learning

De-Privatized Practices

Kruze, Louis & Bryk (1994) maintained that “teachers share, observe and discuss each other’s teaching method and philosophies…teachers learn new ways to talk about what they do, and the discussion kindle new relationships between the participants” (p.4).

De-privatization commonly allows teachers to engage in conversations on a daily-basis by reflecting on each other’s teaching practice and inviting each other in the classroom for observation and reflection as explained by Dunsmore (2012) in her blog.

All these factors as mentioned above help to build a collaborative culture where sharing of knowledge, improvement in teaching and learning processes and collective decision making become the outcomes of PLC environment.

Many researchers also explored the other factors that help to develop PLC culture. For instance, Bolam, et al (2005) expounded the influence of individual, group and school context as well as external influence on PLC. The development of individual skills and practices through collective learning motivate individuals to create and sustain PLC. This way, a team or a group is developed by providing equal opportunities to each individual to share their ideas and thinking with each other. Lastly, the context of school including the population, location and size has an impact on PLC. Therefore, these internal factors are important for PLC culture that focuses on involving individuals to work as a team for capacity building of each other.

The community in surrounding of school and infrastructure are some external factors that also have some impacts on PLC. In a nutshell, the internal influence such as individual and groups and external influences like school’s surrounding and infrastructures are sometimes also become hindrance for creating and sustaining PLC, such as if collaboration and willingness of each individual to work collectively does not exist, it becomes difficult to create and develop PLC, let alone sustain it (Kilbane, 2009).

However, factors like shared vision and values, collaboration, focus on learning, reflective dialogue, de-privatized practices, context and external factors are some significant ingredients that become helpful for creating PLC culture for teacher capacity building.

In Pakistan, a very little worked has been done for creating PLC environment in the study. However, some of the researches discussed about the factors for creating PLC in Pakistani context. For instance, Jan’s (2014) study explored the aspects of PLC in Gilgit Baltistan region, where his findings revealed that some factors such as shared vision, collaborative learning, continuous support, trust and so forth were supported by the school for developing PLC environment. However Alidad (2012) in her research identified the role of leader for transforming the school into learning organization, where she discussed some of the factors like shared vision, capacity building, reflection, feedback and others as significant for learning organization.

Similarly, Damani (2011) focused on professional capacity building of teachers as a tool for creating learning community in the school. Retallick and Farah (2005) shared their suggestions about how schools in Pakistan can become a learning community. They shared that in learning community school, all stakeholders like management, teachers, students and even parents play their role as learners. This way, improvement can occur in the school which helps to transform the traditional school into a learning community.

Thus the process of creating PLC environment by exploring the factors was not studied earlier, which is the aim of this research.

Appreciative Inquiry

For this research, appreciative inquiry (AI) approach was used for creating PLC as compared to other methods. This reason behind was that it helps to identify best practices, think and predict plans for the future(Shuayb, Sharp, Judkins & Hetherington, 2009) and also provides opportunity to participants to engage in the study.

This method emerged in late 1980s by David Cooperrider who developed a new model for organizational learning (as cited in Thomas, 2013; Cram, 2010; & Shuayb et. al, 2009). Cooperrider, Whitney and Stavros (2005) defined appreciative inquiry (AI) as a positive approach by illustrating that:

Every organization has something that works right—things that give life when it is most alive, effective, successful, and connected in healthy ways to its stakeholders and communities. AI begins by identifying what is positive and connecting to it in ways that heighten energy and vision for change. (as cited in Thomas, 2013, p. 2)

AI method works for change as it identifies not only the best practices of what is going on but also find the directions for future. Cram (2010) quoted that AI is a strength based approach for organizational change. According to Mohr and Watkins (2002) AI does not bring any change in person’s behavior or habit nor bring any changes in the structure of any organization, “instead it invites people to engage in building the kinds of organizations and communities they want to work and live in” (p.4).

Thus AI encourages the collaborative type of research where a group of people are involved in reflecting on the best part of their organization by discovering the past. In addition, AI allows members to share their expectation about the organization and what they want to be like by envisioning the future.

Therefore, AI considers the best of organizations that will help the organization for further growth. However, AI also provides grounds to members to speak, listen and share each other’s ideas and thoughts and develop and execute a plan for achieving the set targets. (Whitney & Bloom, 2010).

For this aspect, AI approach is based on four stages that is 4-Ds cycle: (a) discover, (b) dream, (c) design, and (d) destiny (Thomas, 2013, Cram, 2010 & Shuayb et. al, 2009).

Discover

This phase of AI inquires about the positive aspects of the organization by asking positive and appreciative questions like “best of what is” (Thomas, 2013). In discovery stage, all kinds of good stories, experiences and examples are discussed by highlighting the best practices of organization (Cram, 2010 & & Shuayb et. al, 2009). Thus in this stage, the main purpose is not to derive data but to explore the experiences and relationships that people and organizations have. For this purpose, appreciative interview questions help to identify the best part of the organization to “uncover who and what an organization is when it is at its best” (Whitney & Bloom, 2010).

Dream

This phase allows participants to envision the future by thinking about the question “what might be” (Thomas 2013). This stage encourages assumptions and imaginations of each individual for a better future (Thomas, 2013; Cram 2010 & Cooperrider, 2005). This stage actually encourages participants to dream about the organization they want to work in. Thus this stage encourages the participants “to imagine a more inspiring, positive, life-giving world and organization” (Whitney & Bloom, 2010). Hence, the best practices that participants wish to incorporate in organization for their development are explored in this stage. Appreciative interview questions also become one of the tools to envisage the future by appreciating participants to imagine the future.

Design

In this stage, participants explore “what should be” for the best of the organization by aligning the needs and expectations that are derived from the discovering and dreaming phase. For this stage, recreation, co-construction and transformation terms are used that effect on practices, processes and images of organization (Thomas, 2013, Cram, 2010; Shuayb et. al, 2009 & Cooperrider, 2005). Therefore, a plan is designed in this stage that is based on ideas and discussions held between participants. The form of plan can vary depending on the study questions that researchers want to explore.

Destiny or Delivery

This stage leads to finding the way forward for the organization by asking “what will be” by demanding the commitment of individuals and groups. It demands actions, implementation and reflections to achieve the targets that are set in the design stage ((Thomas, 2013 & Shuayb et. al, 2009). This is the most crucial or practical stage where participants execute their plan that they developed in the design phase. The implementation of plan in this stage actually leads researchers to design further plans till the set targets or objectives of the study are not achieved. This stage also provides opportunities to reflect on the action taken based on the plan for developing the way forward.

Strength and Limitations of Appreciative Inquiry Approach

Many researchers present strengths and limitations of appreciative inquiry (AI) method by highlighting the positive points as well as providing their critiques on AI approach. Different phrases are used by various practitioners to define AI. For instance, a phrase like “life-giving properties” (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987) as cited in Bushe 2011; “positive core” (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005); “give it life” (Bushe, 2011) and so on is used. AI method encourages the positive aspects and best practices of the organization that actually brings life to the organization.

AI is also helpful for problem solving and for bringing change in organizations. AI according to Bushe (2011) is the problem-solving approach that brings changes in the organization by envisaging the future. This method is also helpful in conflict and rift situation by bringing all the members of the team or organization on one platform to discuss and imagine for the best of organization (Whitney & Bloom, 2010). Thus the application of this method reunites the differences that participants have otherwise it cannot be successfully implemented. In addition, this method is purely based on ideas and expectations of people for the benefit of the organization (Bushe, 2011).

In a nutshell, this method is based on positivity by exploring the best practices of the organization as well as envisioning the future by sharing the ideas with each other, this leads to developing and executinge the plan to achieve the goal of the research study.

However, the main critique on AI method is on its positivity as many researchers (Egan & Lancaster, 2005; Miller, Fitzgerald, Murrell, Preston & Ambekar, 2005; Pratt, 2002; Reason, 2000) as cited in Bushe (2011) note that this method only considered positive aspects of the organization however the negativity is also an important part for organization’s development. Further, Oliver (2005) mentioned that “what is positive for some may be negative for others” (as cited in Bushe, 2011, p.18). Oliver & Barge (2002) further state that this method does not encourage the negative experiences that people or organizations have. Frustrations, vulnerability, injustice, regret are some of the voices that are ignored in AI stages. These voices or negative experiences will further lead the organization towards hope and transformation. But unfortunately, this method does not appreciate any negative aspects or grievances of the organization particularly during first and second stages..

Bushe (2011) further elaborates that only positivity or positive aspects are not necessary as a significant mean for bringing positive outcomes at the end. In other words, this method helps to foresee the future by examining the positive aspects of the past and present but it does not explore the negative experience of the past or present. In addition, Bushe (2011) further put forward the argument of many theorists; like Bright et al, (2011) that states “behind every negative image lies the positive”; Fineman (2006) notes that “behind every positive image lies a negative one” (p.18). Thus both positive and negative experiences of the organizations play a significant role simultaneously for the development of organization.

Nevertheless, AI method is still successful for developing the organization and bringing changes in one’s life or organization. The critique on AI method has some importance but discussing the best practices of the organization also brings the improvement in the organization. This method also kindles the spirit of investigating the best by envisioning the future for organizational change.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) context for creating PLC

Early Childhood development (ECD) is the significant field that particularly focuses on holistic development of a child According to Sindh Education Foundation (2009), ECD caters the age-group from conception till the age eight. However, Ministry of Education (2007) defines that ECD starts when mother conceives a baby in her womb and it continues till the age eight. The learning that takes place during early years of life remains forever and long lasting with a child.

ECD particularly focuses on holistic development and well-being of the child through integrating health and nutrition with education (Sindh Education Foundation, 2009). For this aspect, effective programmes of ECD are required such as empowering parents, children and teachers towards health and nutrition respectively. When we look to the context of Pakistan where ECD classes have scarcity of resources and space as well as low enrollment of children, empowering parents and teachers is becoming complicated for school or an organization. In this regard, many initiatives are taken by the Government with the support of NGOs and other academic institutions through public - private partnerships, towards ECD in last few years. However, limited resources have been found in literature that highlight that continuous professional development of teachers in ECD contexts particularly in terms of creating PLC is important. However, the study related to the factors like collaborative learning and reflective practices that helps to create PLC in ECD context were found in literature.Marbina, Church & Tayler (2010) in their reflective paper stressed upon the significance of critical reflections by teachers to enhance the learning of children. In this paper they described that reflection in/on practices by ECD teachers brings positive outcomes in student’s result as well as positive change in the organization. It requires that teachers get enough time and space for discussion and reflection on daily basis.

Similarly, ECD practitioners are also required to integrate collaborative learning in their practice. As defined by Flottman, McKernan & Tayler (2011), collaboration in terms of their working, planning, classroom teaching, developing and designing activities are required. They further explained in their paper that collaboration helps professional development of teachers in terms of enhancing their skills and knowledge. This collaboration helps ECD teachers to address the needs of children together by sharing each other’s ideas and expertise that will not only bring outcomes in student’s learning but also support teachers for their capacity building.

However, literature on creating and developing PLC in ECD context was not explored earlier as compared to other context such as secondary and higher secondary. This might be because educationalist focuses on the child’s development more in ECD instead of developing professional culture of teacher. For this reason, this research actually becomes value-added for ECD practitioners for creating and sustaining PLC culture in their context. Moreover, this study provides a practical approach in terms of defining the processes of creating PLC along with factors that are required for bringing effectiveness in teacher’s learning and children’s development.

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

This chapter outlines the study design and research setting and location. This is followed by sample size and procedure for sampling. In addition, the data generation process along with the tools and the data synthesis plan are also discussed. At the end, ethical consideration and limitation of this study are presented followed by a summary of the chapter.

Study Design

For this study, a qualitative research design was adopted and appreciative inquiry approach for creating PLC in ECD was used. Since this study explored the factors required for creating PLC as well as described the processes involved for creating PLC, thus the qualitative approach was the best approach for this study. Qualitative research is more dealt with words and images as well as focus on description, exploration and explanation of social experiences in text instead of numbers, figures and quantity (Hancock, Ockleford & Windridge, 2009 & Bayman, 2004).

In addition, appreciative inquiry was used for creating PLC as a approach. The reason for selecting this AI approach was that it helped to explore the positive aspects of school as well as envision the future that is helpful for creating PLC environment in the school. Thus, the four D’s stages of appreciative inquiry which are Discover, Dream, Design and Destiny became worthwhile for this study in order to initiate PLC setup in the school as these stages helped to explore the best practices of organization and also supported to design and execute a plan for creating PLC. For this purpose, teachers who are engaged with the age group of two or three year’s old children were involved in this study as participants for creating PLC environment in the ECD.

Population and Sample

For this study, only teachers were targeted for their continuous professional development. The total population of personnel within the school is approximately 170 teachers, only 60 teachers from the ECD context were selected as a targeted population. However, eight teachers were picked through purposive sampling such as by the choice of researcher as primary participants for this study. The reason for limiting the size of sample was that the culture of PLC was created or initiated as a pilot to explore the factors and processes for creating PLC in details. Further, the researcher felt that it was more convenient to work with small group of teachers in order to create PLC environment with ease As a pilot project.

Sampling Procedure

For this study, purposive sampling was used to select the research participants. Purposive sampling is particularly encourages the judgments and choices of researcher for selecting the sample for the study (Zikmund, Babin, Carr & Griffin, 2012). Thus, the researcher selected the research participants who are teaching the two to three years old children in the school.

Data Generation Process and Tools

The appreciative inquiry approach was used to create PLC in ECD setup. The reason for using this method was that it promotes positive change in the organization as suggested by Whitney & Bloom (2010). This research study was also about change in culture; therefore appreciative inquiry method became value added for this study for creating PLC environment in the school. Before producing the data, researcher explained the focused group about the purpose of doing this research which is to create and develop PLC for bringing the effectiveness in teaching and learning process. Further, appreciative inquiry approach and its stages also discussed with participants by the researcher.

The procedures and tools for generating the data for creating PLC in each stage are presented in below headings.

Stage One: Discovery

This phase explored the best stories and experiences of school by using appreciative interview questions in focused group discussion. At this stage, researcher asked the appreciative questions about the existing practices of the school to the participants which they considered as best. For this purpose, appreciative interview questionnaire and focused group discussion were used as a tool for generating the data from participants.

Phase Two: Dreaming

Appreciative interview questions were asked in focused group discussions at this stage as well. However, the researcher probed the questions related to the expectation of participants which they want in the school and assume as best practices of school. Thus, in this stage, the expectation of participants was carried forward which they expect from the school management for their professional development. This phase was quite different from phase one as in this phase participants explored their expectations by envisioning the future of organization. The focused group discussions were noted down by the researcher in this stage also.

Phase Three: Designing

In this stage, the plan was designed on the basis of questions like what should be. The needs and expectations that emerge from discovery and dreaming phase were considered. Here, researcher discussed the factors and processes that are required for creating PLC with the participants which is already available in the literature at this stage.

On the basis of the findings, collaborative learning environment through sharing their plan and teaching skills with each other as well as reflective dialogue sessions were considered as significant factors by the participants and researcher. Thus a comprehensive action plan was developed which demonstrated the schedule for lesson planning, classroom teaching and observations; and for reflective dialogue sessions, which were required for creating PLC environment. At this stage, the action plan became a tool that helped for PLC development.

Phase Four: Destiny

The destiny phase helped to execute the plan developed in the design phase for developing professional learning community in ECD context. The process at this stage was that participants were divided in two groups such as group Sun and group Moon. Four teachers worked in each group in pairs, where each pair delivered the lesson and the other pair observed and gave feedback on the lesson. Though, participants prepared three lesson plans but it was delivered four times by each pair. After each classroom teaching and observation, participants shared their feedbacks in group. At the end, both groups sat together for reflective dialogue to reflect on the lesson and develop the second plan which continued with the same process. The anecdotes and vignettes of classroom observations and documentation of reflective discussions were done by researcher and resesearch participants.

Data analysis procedures

The data was produced through appreciative interview questions, focused group discussions, classroom observations and reflective dialogue sessions. Thus the analysis was done manually by gathering all the notes, anecdotes, vignettes and handouts together. Then the data was divided into themes or subthemes that were derived from each stage. The findings in each stages and analysis of each category are discussed in next chapters.

Ethical Consideration

Consent and approval from Ethical Review Committee (ERC) of Aga Khan University was taken for this study. Prior to data generation, permission from the school was taken through consent form from school principal for this study (see appendices A & B). Moreover, a consent forms was filled and signed by all eight participants that contained their willingness to participate in this study as well as their rights to withdrawal from this study at any time (see appendices C & D). The researcher made sure to maintain the anonymity and confidentiality by giving pseudonyms to each participant. All kind of documents, field notes, anecdotal records and reflective papers were kept secure to avoid any contamination.

Limitation of the Study

While conducting this research study, various limitations as well as challenges were identified. These were:

- The creation of PLC environment was not reported in Pakistan earlier particularly in ECD context, therefore this study perceived limited literature only as a source.
- This study was limited with specific number of participants that limits the generalizability of findings for a population.
- This study was done with teachers only, hence the views from parents, school management as well as outcomes of student’s learning were not observed and studied.
- The time became a constraint, it was difficult to establish a new collaborative culture within a month’s time; if a year will be spent for creating PLC, different factors might be explored.
- Researcher’s bias could be part of this study as researcher is working in the same location.

Chapter Four: Findings

The purpose of this study was to create and initiate PLC environment through appreciative inquiry in the ECD context. This chapter presents the findings of the data gathered at each stages of appreciative inquiry. The findings are divided into major themes and subthemes.

This chapter is divided in four sections. The first section includes the profile of the research participants (pseudonyms have been given to each participant). Then the data gathered in the first stage of appreciative inquiry (Discover) is discussed. This is followed by the findings explored during Dreaming stage of appreciative inquiry. The third stage of designing is illustrated in the third section where the plan was developed for creating the PLC environment. The last section demonstrates the execution of the plan and its reflection to the fourth stage of appreciative inquiry that is destiny. At the end, the summary of this chapter is presented.

Findings in Stage One: Discover

In this stage, the researcher and research participants explored the best practices of the school for professional development through semi-structured appreciative interview questions and focused group discussion. Further, the support and contribution that teachers were provided for their professional development were also identified. While discussing, participants also shared their experiences which they considered as best. Thus, this stage was split in two portions that is: a) Best practices of school; and b) contribution by teachers for bringing effectiveness in school. The stories of each participant were incorporated in both the sections.

Best Practices of School

While discussing about the best practices of the school, which participants appreciated and considered as best actions for their professional development as well as for school effectiveness, the following best practices were highlighted by the research participants.

The first practice that was discussed was arranging professional development sessions for all teachers. We discussed that every year in summer vacation, school conducted sessions or workshops on different topics for their capacity building. We further highlighted that school also provided support to novice teachers by arranging orientation sessions for teachers. As Farah said,

When I joint school a year back, brief sessions were conducted for me by management to let me orient with school’s rules and regulations, organization structure and working style. Even the curriculum and syllabus and procedure for developing the lesson plan were also shared that helped me to adjust in new environment. (Farah, focused group discussions, December 15, 2014)

We further deliberated that the professional development sessions were for 15 or 20 days related to content understanding and pedagogical skills. Though, these sessions were arranged by identifying the needs and issues which faced by teachers in teaching and learning process. However, these sessions were for limited time period and coped few of our needs and issues. It was further elaborated by Noreen that “I was facing difficulty to adopt the appropriate strategies for learning corner time activities and every year, I set the same target in my appraisal, though I improved my skills however I require more understanding in this regard” (Noreen, focused group discussions, December 15, 2014).

Alina mentioned that management particularly based the professional development sessions on the needs identified during appraisal process; as she said, “I remembered that I made my targets to improve my English language proficiency during appraisal discussion in the month of December. However in July, management arranged language development sessions for all teachers that helped me to meet my target” (Alina, focused group discussions, December 15, 2014).

Therefore, we appreciated the efforts of school for arranging professional development sessions for capacity building of teachers every year. Thus, participants considered the professional development sessions as the achievement of the school.

The second aspect of best practices that highlighted was that the school was always ready to take new initiatives. For instance, a new programme for two to three years old children and programmes to involve parents in school and so forth. The element of taking new initiatives sometimes became a risk factor but most of the time, it was the best factor of school. The new initiative not only motivated teachers but also allowed teachers to show their potentials and skills for making this new tasks accomplished. Like Sara said, “When we initiated news classes for very young children, I was quite nervous but my head showed her trust on me by saying ‘you can do it’ made me motivated towards my service in school” (Sara, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014).

Amina added that when schools initiated new classes for children and gave her chance to lead these classes, this task allowed her to show her creativity by providing the friendly environment to the children. She further elaborated that this new task really became helpful for her for improving her pedagogical skills by introducing new techniques and activities in class.

The third factor that was highlighted was trust. As Sara said, “the trust of management on us motivated us to explore new things” (Sara, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014). Trust by management, trust among teachers and trust of parents were the essential factors that motivated them. As Amina mentioned “it was my head’s trust, I tried to bring innovation in my teaching” (Amina, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014). Fatima maintained that “the trust and motivation which I received from management made me able to teach two to three years old children confidently” (Fatima, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014).

Trust by the management was appreciated by all. We further said that trust and motivation provided them a friendly environment to work. This trust motivated teachers to give their best at all levels.

Appreciation of the efforts of participants by other teachers and stakeholders associated with the school was the fourth factor which also considered as a best practice. Seema highlighted this factor by saying that:

I always look to my leader for their appreciating words on my efforts. However, leader also appreciated the efforts of each individual in a group or during the appraisal process. This act of leader further strengthened our motivation to give best by enhancing our capacities and potentials. (Seema, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014)

Participants were considered the appreciation of teacher’s efforts as one of the best practices of school. When management appreciated the efforts of teachers this boosted their motivation at a higher level. Even the appreciation which teachers received from parents and other staffs also became motivating factors.

The reasons for exploring the best practices of school at this stage helped to explore the factors that could be helpful for creating PLC in ECD context. Thus, professional development sessions and trust were the main factors that already existed in the school and supported for creating PLC in ECD as a significant factor ahead.

Contributions by Teachers

After highlighting the best practices of school, the contribution and support that teachers were given for their own professional development was explored. We shared that teachers discussed the plan for a day together, which helped them to bring uniformity in their teaching. Though, teaching styles of each teacher and activities were different. However they set the objectives of the lesson together which remained same in all the four classes. This practice of planning the lesson together helped them to make their lesson effective and supported each other as well helpful for improving their teaching experience. As Seema quoted that “Initially I was facing difficulty to develop the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bounded) objectives for a lesson. But gradually while planning the lesson together; I became able to make SMART objectives” (Seema, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014).

Fatima also added her issue of time management while teaching as she made her plan effectively by aligning too many activities in her lesson that extended her time and made her unable to achieve the outcomes of the lesson. But through planning together, her issue was resolved because as Fatima said, “they did discussions on the lesson plan by developing the objectives which not only time bounded but specific, measurable, achievable and measurable too” (Fatima, focused group discussions, December 16, 2014).

The other contribution which teachers were provided was pedagogical skills. We mentioned that teachers were struggling to improve their pedagogical skills all the time. For this purpose, they were trying to plan new and creative activities for children so that children get varieties for their learning. As, Sara shared her experience that she brought innovation in her story telling techniques by developing big books and props, which really became helpful to develop the listening skills of children. Though she only applied this technique in her class and did not share with other teachers but it helped her to deliver the concept effectively.

Alina added to this point that she had made three or four piece puzzles for children which helped them to develop their thinking and logical skills by joining the puzzles. This puzzle activity also made children excited which encouraged her to use this technique more often in the classroom. She also shared the puzzle resources with other teachers in a group and they also tried to apply this activity in the classroom as endorsed by all.

Therefore, teachers provided their contribution through improving their pedagogical skills and teaching techniques for school effectiveness. Besides this, teachers also worked to provide rich environment to the children by developing ample and sufficient resources. Teachers developed different materials from low cost or no cost resources. Amina further stated that she tried to provide print environment to the children which supported children to increase their vocabulary. Zara said that she made flash cards from empty shoes and biscuit boxes and used calendar for making the story books for children. Noreen shared her experience of making musical instruments like shaker from empty bottles; masks with the help of paper bags and so forth.

We endorsed that classroom displays, materials in learning corners and sufficient resources for activities were some ingredients for providing rich and conducive environment to the children. This environment was created by teachers which is the best practices of the school.

We further elaborated that teachers were also contributing by sharing their ideas for organizing the activities in school. We shared that teachers planned to organize events in school such as sports day, celebration of mother’s and father’s day, color day and other occasions. For these activities, teachers prepared children by putting their efforts to make the activities successful. The celebration of father’s day was a memorable event in which fathers did different activities with their children in the classroom. Seema shared that generally fathers do not show their interest in child’s learning but this event had made this possible to involve fathers in school activities.

Finding in Stage Two: Dream

At this stage, the data was generated by adopting the same tools which were used in the first stage such as appreciative interview questions and focused group discussions. However, we reflected on ‘what should be’ at this stage by sharing our expectation and envisioning the future. We discussed the factors that could be part of best practices of school for professional development of teachers. Further, the support and contribution that teachers would be provided for their capacity building were also identified. Thus, the findings in this stage are presented in two parts: a) Best practices of school as per participant’s expectation; and b) contribution by teachers should be provided for school development.

Best practices of School

At this stage, we shared our expectation from school for capacity building of teachers. Through appreciative interview questions, we highlighted some factors which we envisioned could be as best practices of school for professional development of teacher. We discussed that though we acknowledged the efforts of the school for organizing sessions for professional development of teachers during the summer vacation for a month, which was worthwhile for them. However, we were anticipating continuous support from school for our capacity building. We explained that teachers were not able to enhance their understanding and skills in few days only for that they required support on continuous basis throughout the year.

At this point, we also deliberated that teachers required frequent guidance from school management for their capacity building. For instance, Sara said “I learnt some techniques like bingo activity, integration of new technology with teaching during professional development sessions organized by school in the month of July. But how to apply it in class effectively are required guidance” (Sara, Focused group discussions, December 18, 2014). Then Fatima shared her example that “I was struggling to maintain discipline of class and required support from management in this regard to share strategies for managing the class appropriately” (Fatima, focused group discussions, December 18, 2014).

In this regard, we assumed continuous support from the school to make teaching and learning process effective. We also discussed that teachers in ECD were teaching to very young children where learning in early years is important, so they required continuous support from the management for their professional development. As Noreen quoted that

Being ECD teacher, I felt that I need to upgrade myself on daily basis as every day I encountered new things which I found in children’s behavior and sometimes I felt helpless when I was unable to fulfill the needs of children fully. (Noreen, focused group discussions, December 18, 2014)

We emphasized on continuous support system for capacity building of teachers. With relation to continuous support which we are expected or envisaged from the school, we also envisioned a platform where teachers could share their experiences and difficulties with each other. We added on this point that teachers in this school had rich background of knowledge and experience but it was only limited within the premises of their own classroom. We emphasized that teachers should share their ideas and learning with other colleagues which would become worthwhile for their professional development. At this point, Zara said that:

Though I was sharing my ideas while planning but it was only bounded to discussing the weekly plan and developing objective of the plan only. I anticipated that teachers also share their best practices with each other and also provide support to others for their development. (Zara, focused group discussion, December 18, 2014)

Therefore, teachers required opportunities or a platform for discussion and reflection. Farah added to this point by highlighting the importance of technology in today’s world. She emphasized that:

Nowadays technology becomes significant part of learning that is required to use for sharing ideas with each other. For instance, blogs, discussion forum, exchanging of emails and skype are some of the ways through which we can share our ideas and views with each other. Further with the help of technology, we provided help to all teachers for their capacity building. (Farah, focused group discussion, December 18, 2014)

Therefore, we were foreseeing that professional environment where learning was not limited within the boundary of school but it remained with them all the time through technology.

The last point which we pointed out during discussions was related to opportunities to attend the workshops and sessions arranged by other institutions. We said that though the school were selecting and giving a chance to teachers to attend sessions for their development but very few teachers got this opportunity. In this regard, we assumed that if school developed such kind of strategies which gave a chance to all teachers to benefit from the workshops either by their own choice or by their needs, it would become helpful for their professional development. Here Noreen pinpointed that a session on social-emotional development was arranged by AKU-IED in the month of September. She was interested to attend that sessions but school selected other teachers for this purpose. Therefore, we expected that school should strategize the process of selecting teachers for attending the sessions or workshops organized by other institutions.

Contribution by Teachers

While envisioning the contributions that teachers could provide for their professional development, we shared our dreams and imaginations related to the support and contributions which we expected to require from each other.

We discussed that teachers provided their support for planning the lessons together, however, it also required to share the activities and resources related to lesson with each other as well. We said that teachers were putting their efforts to explore new activities and make resources while teaching. But these efforts were required to be shared and discussed with each other, so that we could make the teaching and learning process more effective. This point was raised by Zara, who said that she struggled in an art area and required support of others for making the handmade resources creatively because a good piece of colorful materials always attracted the young children. For this purpose, she always asked other colleagues to help her to make the teaching resources, though other colleagues supported her but she felt embarrassed at certain times. Thus, she believed that if resources that other teachers already prepared were shared with her, it would help her to make her teaching practice more effective. Sharing of activities and even ideas were pointed out by Sara by saying that “while interacting informally during break time, I found that teachers were sharing their creative ideas which they applied in the classroom. I want that we will get such a ground where we take benefits from each other’s ideas and expertise” (Sara, focused group discussion, December 20, 2014).

Fatima gave the idea of resource bank where all kinds of materials like readymade resources, list of activities, lesson plans of each topics and ideas for effective teaching techniques were included which would be available for all teachers at all times. This resource bank would not only support those teachers who needed support for their capacity building by sharing the resources but it would also provide an opportunity to all teachers to demonstrate their skills and capabilities by developing the resources using their artistic skills and creativity. This idea was appealed by all of us and we considered it as the best support which teachers can provide to each other in future.

With this connection of supporting each other by developing resource bank, we envisaged to form a cluster of teachers or committee according to their talents and skills. For example, art committee in which those teachers were involved who have good artistic skills; literary committee where teachers worked for development of language and literacy of students as well as teachers. Here we mentioned that these committees were existed but it was made by the choice of school instead of based on teacher’s potentials and willingness. Hence, we wished to make a cluster of teachers who were particularly responsible for capacity building of teachers. Sara pointed that this committee that was based on skills and potentials would also help children for their holistic development. She explained that by sharing each other’s ideas and expertise and taking benefits from other’s potentials and skills, they could work for physical, cognitive, language, emotional and moral development of child.

We also shared the concept of mentoring for their professional development, which was acknowledged by Alina. Alina explained that all teachers needed to work as a mentor in terms of supporting each other for capacity building. She further elaborated her point by saying that she extended her support to the teacher who faced difficulty to manage the class and shared strategies for classroom management. She shared that once she supported the teacher X by observing her class environment and she found some disciplinary issues in the class. Then she gave her feedback and facilitated the teacher X for managing the discipline of class. Thus, participants expected that mentoring could be a support which teachers can provide to each other for their professional development.

Stage Three: Design

This stage actually emerged on the basis of understanding shared during stage one and two. At this stage, researcher and participants worked together to develop a plan that was required for creating PLC environment. Thus some of the best practices which were already existed in the school and some of the practices which were expected by us were merged in stage three. Similarly, contributions which were discussed in stage one and two were also considered in this stage for creating PLC.

The factors which were emerged in stage one and stage two was consolidated at this stage. However, the factors and processes for creating PLC which we found in the literature were also discussed at this phase. Thus, we found that collaborative learning and reflective dialogue sessions are the key factors that could help us for creating PLC in the school. In addition, the practice of developing the plan together must be continued as shared by Alina, she said “I felt that planning the lesson together made our concepts clear because we did discussions to finalize the objectives of the lesson as SMART” (Alina, focused group discussion, December 20, 2014).

However the need of sharing activities and resources with each other are required to incorporate for creating PLC environment in the school as shared by Zara. While developing the action plan in this stage, Seema added that “I think there is a need to provide our support to each other by observing each other’s classroom and giving feedback to each other” (Seema, focused group discussion, December 20, 2014),

Therefore, a comprehensive action plan at this stage was developed where discussions on developing the lesson plan, timings for classroom observations and reflective dialogue sessions were scheduled. However, here we found difficulties to execute our plans exactly, and we needed to alter the plan frequently because of uncertain city circumstances and assessment process in the school that became hurdle in implementation for us. But with mutual consent, we became able to achieve our targets.

Stage Four: Destiny

This stage was basically built upon the plan that was developed in stage three. At this stage, we were not only involved in implementing the plan but also reflected on the factors and processes required for creating PLC environment. According to the plan, we spent time on developing the lesson plan together, observing each other’s classroom teaching and provided feedback and reflections to each other at the end of each lesson delivery.

The findings in each level were discussed below:

1. Lesson planning

2. Classroom teaching, observations and feedbacks

3. Reflective dialogue

Lesson Planning

We were involved to develop lesson plans by providing continuous support to each other in a group. While planning, we spent sufficient time on discussions and deliberations for setting the objectives SMART as well as for developing the activities and resources according to the lesson. Zara endorsed that “ I really liked this process because we did deliberation on each topics and on each steps; that made this process of working together more effective” (Zara, focused group discussion, Janurary 20, 2015).

We also developed the resources together from low cost or no cost materials. We shared and learnt from each other’s expertise of making handmade resources creatively. Farah mentioned that, “handmade resources give hands on experience to the children that help to nurture the creativity and curiosity of children. By working together, we became able to develop resources for children’s learning” (Farah, focused group discussions, Januray 20, 2015) .

Therefore, collaborative learning environment by sharing their ideas through developed the plan, activities and resources were established at this stage. It was evident by Noreen who acknowledged that “we all were involved in the process of developing plans for our lesson where we accepted each other’s ideas and thoughts very positively and supported each other as well for developing the resources” (Nooreen, focused group discussion, January 20, 2015). Seema emphasized that she was very motivated when other participants appreciated her ideas and she became excited to share more ideas with her group.

At this stage, we worked as collaborative learner where we got time and space for discussion and working together for lesson planning and resource development which ultimately helped us to build collaborative professional environment in ECD. This collaboration also helped us for our content understanding as shared by Alina. She stated that

My understanding in mathematics was low and I always faced difficulty to give concepts of mathematics using concrete materials to the children for exploration. However, by learning with each other during planning discussion, I came to know different tips and tricks that resolved my issues of delivering the concepts (Alina, focused group discussion, January 20, 2015).

Thus we met daily for a week with each other to develop the plan and resources together before delivering the lesson in the classroom. In short, collaborative learning was apparent at this stage as a factor that actually led to create the PLC environment by sharing ideas and expertise with each other on an ongoing basis.

Classroom Teaching, Observations and Feedback

At this level, participants worked in two groups that are sun and moon as mentioned in methodology and made their pairs within groups. In this regard, classroom teaching, observations and feedbacks were conducted in the respective group. However, sessions for reflective dialogue were conducted at the end in which all participants and researcher was involved.

Researcher, at this level was played a role of observer with research participants and also involved in lesson planning, feedback sharing and in reflective dialogue sessions. Participants at this level delivered the lesson in pairs which was observed by other pairs accordingly. This process of teaching and observing the lesson allowed us to open the classroom for all. As endorsed by Fatima that earlier we did not enter in each other’s class during teaching time but through this process, we became able to learn from each other’s teaching and observation skills. Zara further stated that “this action actually has broken the boundaries between classrooms and allowed us to enter in the classroom”(Zara, Classroom observation notes, January 27, 2015.

Therefore, the opening of classroom for observing the lesson actually deprivatized the practices of individual learning and brought a shift from individual to collaborative learning. This opening of classroom also helped participants to bring improvement in their teaching skills. Farah shared that, “while observing the teaching of my colleagues, I learnt how to involve children in the activities by giving them clear instructions” (Farah, classroom observation notes, January 30, 2015), Sara added that “I really enjoyed to do teaching with my colleague. I learnt so many things like using the learning resources effectively, responding the queries of children and maintain the discipline of class through observations” (Sara, classroom observation notes, January 28, 2015).

Thus the factor of de- privatizing the practices for creating PLC (as found in literature) was not planned but it emerged while teaching and observing. The other benefits of classroom teaching and observing together were:
- We were involved to support each other and facilitated wherever required (Nooren, classroom observation notes, February 5, 2015).
- Increased the observation skills where we critically and vigilantly observed each and every aspects of lesson (Alina, classroom observation notes, February 11, 2015).

Constructive Feedback

After each lesson, we shared our observation within the group about the lesson as well as also discussed teacher’s teaching style and techniques by sharing our feedbacks. We shared points which we found good in the lesson as well as points where improvement is required in a positive manner. This positivity was actually the demand of appreciative inquiry method that invited us to share our feedbacks positively. As Farah while giving her feedback on lesson shared that:

I found your lesson very interesting particularly the way you started your lesson with story ‘the hungry caterpillar’ with different voice intonation and body expressions. You also developed props and board related to story. However, if you provide the props to children in their hands for hands on experience, it will make the lesson more effective (Farah, reflective notes, January 30, 2015).

Hence, we used positive language and gestures while sharing our remarks with each other. At that time, participants who taught the lesson also shared their feelings of anxiety or excitement while discussing. As Noreen shared her experience that “I enjoyed doing art activities with children in class but it took so much time to wind up that messed my other activity” (Noreen, reflective notes, February 10, 2015).

This feedback session also facilitated us to plan our upcoming lessons very effectively by integrating new activities with lessons. Here we facilitated, guided and advised each other very positively which helped to create positive and professional environment in the school.

[...]

Excerpt out of 37 pages

Details

Title
Creating professional learning community through appreciative inquiry in early childhood context
College
Aga Khan University
Grade
B (3.1)
Author
Year
2016
Pages
37
Catalog Number
V368973
ISBN (eBook)
9783668490987
ISBN (Book)
9783668490994
File size
617 KB
Language
English
Tags
creating
Quote paper
Hina Amin (Author), 2016, Creating professional learning community through appreciative inquiry in early childhood context, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/368973

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Creating professional learning community through appreciative inquiry in early childhood context


Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free