How Principals Make Sense of and Influence the Implementation of Instructional Reform in Secondary Science
Chew, Christine M.
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After decades of calls to change science instruction, including the recent Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), classroom practices remain largely stable. Research has much to say about who principals are and what practices they engage in, yet there is little research explicating how principals and their school leadership practices influence instructional change. I studied a large urban school district invested in science reform implementation that leveraged embedded learning at eleven secondary schools, supported by a cross-school, networked improvement community to investigate how school contexts influenced the development of such varied enactments of reform practices at each school. Through iterative qualitative analysis, I found that the degree to which principals integrated the science reform with their views of other school priorities impacted the extent of opportunities available to teachers to work with reform practices. Furthermore, the more often that principals co-participated with teachers in making sense of the reform practices in the context of classroom enactments, the more likely principals were to employ a broader array of school leadership practices to support the reform enactment, and the greater the extent to which teachers engaged and became proficient with the reform practices. This study provides additional details outlining multiple contextual factors at play in determining how principals’ sense-making and school leadership practices influenced reform enactments and presents a conceptual model to better integrate the elements of leadership practices, instruction, and their intersection.
- Education - Seattle