Complexity and leadership in teacher professional development : the case of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics

BOYLAN, Mark, COLDWELL, Michael and SIMKINS, Timothy (2011). Complexity and leadership in teacher professional development : the case of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics. In: British Educational Research Association Conference, London, IoE, 7th-10th September 2011. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

There has been considerable interest in the teaching of mathematics over the last two decades, both internationally and in the UK. This has led to a number of government sponsored interventions in both curriculum and teacher professional development. The establishment of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) in 2006, arguably, represented a departure from previous policy and initiatives related to professional development for teachers of mathematics. This paper looks at what was distinctive about the NCETM approach (2006-2010) and the impact of its work, as well as exploring a number of theoretical issues that arise when describing these. The paper draws on data from a study of the impact of the NCETM that was informed by interview and case studies. Telephone interviews were conducted with 89 teachers and others with differing levels of involvement with the NCETM. In addition, 10 school-based case studies of different NCETM-supported activity were conducted. This material was analysed using a CPD evaluation model (Coldwell and Simkins, 2011) and more generally in relation to literature on school and teacher change. In this paper, we explore ways in which theoretical tools drawn from complexity theory - complex adaptive systems and formal and informal systems - can be used to describe the nature and consequences of the NCETM's actions. Further, in understanding and assessing the impact of the NCETM intervention on subject leadership and teacher identity we suggest that parallels can be made with analyses of identity in social movements. Finally, we examine the concepts of dispersed and distributed leadership in relation to their applicability to the organic development of mathematics teacher leadership that the NCETM promotes. The paper outlines both the type of outcomes of the NCETM's activity and the factors that supported these. Many of these are similar to those previously identified in relation to professional development that focuses on and supports school-based leadership and can be analysed in terms of theoretical concepts such as distributed and dispersed leadership. However, the NCETM's approach had some distinctive impacts and features that, we contend, are particular to the complex interrelationship of the different forms of NCETM activity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Complexity Distributed leadership Teacher leadership Arenas of leadership
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Institute of Education
Depositing User: Mark Boylan
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2013 08:25
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 00:39
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7288

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