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Publication Detail
Teacher leaders embrace social learning to facilitate their pupils’ personal and academic progress in school.
  • Publication Type:
    Conference presentation
  • Authors:
    Mayer S
  • Date:
    05/09/2012
  • Name of Conference:
    British Educational Research Association
  • Conference place:
    University of Manchester, UK
  • Conference start date:
    04/09/2012
  • Conference finish date:
    06/09/2012
Abstract
A child’s learning (cognate, affect, physical) is influenced by the experiences they are exposed to within their home, community or school environment (situated learning, Lave and Wenger, 1991). Parents, peers, community members and teachers play important social roles in providing opportunities for learning. The individual learner themselves also play an important part by being receptive and attentive to learning from their experiences. Learning from experiences is consolidated neuro-developmentally as memory. This is dependent upon biological processes in the brain that are most active, adaptive and also vulnerable during the time until young adulthood but continues also into adulthood. This study considers the opportunities for learning that teachers as leaders of learning provided for their pupils within their classroom and school when given an opportunity to conduct school-based ‘insider’ research into any aspect of their practices by following action research methodology. A participatory action research approach was undertaken to support teachers in this endeavour. Purposive selection of participants from early years, reception, primary, secondary and sixth form educational settings were chosen to develop vignettes showcasing their practitioner research. Selection criteria were that participants focused upon designing social learning opportunities for their pupils and included indicators for pupils’ personal and/or academic progress. Sources of evidence used were participants’ action research reports, responses to survey questionnaire and participatory action researcher field notes. Interpretive analysis guided exploration of this evidence. Participants’ rights to anonymity and confidentiality was respected and identities protected. Findings indicate social learning opportunities designed by teachers to support their pupils academic and/or personal development were either (1) differentiation based upon the pupils’ prior learning; (2) interventions which support access the curriculum; or (3) peer-group learning which took into account social interactions within the classroom. How far these learning opportunities have ensured individuals acquired their optimal level of development (Grannot, 2002) cannot be gleaned in this study. What can be determined is a measure of pupils’ progress for the duration of practitioners’ research as indicated by their action research, or when summative attainment levels have been recorded, their development over a period of time or against their peers within the school. Finally, as mentioned above a child’s learning and memory is governed by the learning experiences they are exposed to. So this paper argues, since the learning experiences within the classroom and school takes place within the social nature of the school setting, teacher leaders (Leithwood and Jantzi, 2000) play an important role to ensure that opportunities for social learning are appropriately designed, targeted and monitored (Sousa and Tomlinson, 2011) such that this would nurture a child’s optimal level of development.
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