Confirmation of Candidature - Samantha Bolton

Trust and Teacher Learning: A Collective Case Study


Twenty-first century teachers are operating within a complex context. The competing demands of externally mandated testing and publicised league tables on the one hand, and personalised learning and student well-being on the other, have bifurcated the educational landscape, resulting in conflicting pressures. This has led to renewed scrutiny of teacher practice and of what constitutes effective professional development programs. There has been a shift from externally provided experiences, to a focus on the development of professional learning communities within schools, which allow teachers to direct their own professional growth. As a school leader with responsibility for the management of the senior assessment and tertiary entrance system outcomes, as well as the improvement of classroom practice and student learning, this tension informs my professional operations to a significant extent. My research aims to draw together several threads associated with high impact teacher learning, most specifically the role played by trust in its facilitation.

Using qualitative methodology, I will focus on the extent to which trust contributes to the implementation of a reciprocal coaching relationship between a school leader and a teacher. Through a collective case study using semi-structured interviews, data will be collected from six participants, including four teachers, the Principal and myself.  My own involvement as both participant and researcher adds complexity to the project. Much of the literature speaks of the importance of non- hierarchical relationships in coaching programs, and yet in schools where there are timetabling constraints and difficulties relating to teachers’ loads, it is often necessary to have people in leadership positions, such as mine, take responsibility for professional growth initiatives.  Through my research, I am seeking to gain an insight into the way in which trust features in this situation.

Date         Thursday 11th May 2017

Time        11.00am to 1:00pm

Location   Room S302

Location   Social Science Building 24  St Lucia Campus


PANEL:  Professor Peter Renshaw (Chair) and Dr Vicente Reyes

Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Katie Makar.  Associate Advisor:  Dr Christina Gowlett

About HDR Confirmation Seminars

The Confirmation Seminar is the first public presentation in the UQ milestone process.

Staff and students are urged to attend to support your colleagues at this first outing of their project.