7 results for Alcorn, Noeline

  • Uncovering meanings: The discourses of New Zealand secondary teachers in context

    Alcorn, Noeline; Thrupp, Martin (2012)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Recent official policy discourses on student achievement have stressed the importance of teachers and the impact that effective teaching can have on student life chances and on national economic performance. There is also a body of research on the way teaching and learning are affected by school context. This article discusses research designed to investigate how and to what extent the contextual features of schools impacted on the beliefs New Zealand secondary teachers and principals held about teaching and learning, the extent to which they believed their agency could influence outcomes for their students, and the aspirations and goals they pursued. We interviewed principals and teachers in six secondary schools, two each in high, mid and low socio-economic areas. The findings show considerable commonality in teachers' pedagogical discourses and that the rhetoric of formal policy discourses is pervasive and normalized in schools. All the teachers believed they could make a difference to student achievement and life chances, tried to address diversity among their student bodies, and saw success as much wider than academic achievement. Concurrently we found that the institutional habitus of each school largely determined how discourses were enacted and that relationships, confidence, student-centredness and success were interpreted differently between schools. We argue that these differences must be taken into account if school policies and interventions are to be successful.

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  • Knowledge through a collaborative network: a cross-cultural partnership

    Alcorn, Noeline (2010)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    A recurring issue for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners is how new knowledge can be disseminated, critiqued, assessed and incorporated into policy development and practice. Campbell and Fulford examined strategies in a Canadian Education Ministry which was striving to incorporate research findings into policy debate. They evolved a useful framework indentifying six forms and stages of knowledge development related to research use in this context: generation of new knowledge, mobilisation, contextualisation, adaptation, application and integration. This paper uses their framework to explore links between research and practice in a collaborative cross-cultural partnership designed to develop greater capacity in teacher education in a Pacific country, and based on action, co-construction and reflection. It argues that there are blurred boundaries between knowledge production and its practical implementation, use and testing, that contextualisation and relationship building are crucial to knowledge mobilisation, and that knowledge is generated across all stages in the process.

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  • Meat in the sandwich: The impact of changing policy contexts and local management of schools on principals’ work in New Zealand 1989-2009

    Alcorn, Noeline (2011)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The impact of principal leadership on school outcomes, particularly student achievement, is assuming unprecedented attention internationally. Official discourses often assume that principals can be trained to achieve prescribed outcomes through the employment of learned strategies. Such claims are challenged by critical leadership scholars who insist on the significance of context. This paper explores the impact of policy contexts on the work of a small group of experienced principals in New Zealand over a period of 20 years. During that time, they often struggled to reconcile their own espoused educational principles with policy imperatives in a small country where Local Management of Schools (LMS) has been extreme. It argues that national policy discourse around competition, curriculum and achievement, together with formal accountability to local lay Boards of Trustees (BOTs), are sources of tension and moral ambiguity, which tempt principals to comply and play the game for the sake of their schools. Principals are also caught between local and national accountabilities. In spite of this, principals in the study maintained an educational vision encompassing the wider social context of New Zealand education and retained a sense of personal agency.

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  • Reviews of teacher education in New Zealand 1950–1998: Continuity, contexts and change

    Alcorn, Noeline (2015)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    After a period of 40 years of relative political and professional consensus, teacher education in New Zealand since 1990 has undergone considerable change. This has taken place in a policy environment where the rhetoric of choice and accountability has been dominant and suspicion of professionals and academics widespread. This paper examines a series of major reports on teacher education in each decade since 1950, from the Consultative Committee chaired by Arnold Campbell in 1951 to the Green Paper of 1997, tracking both the professional expectations and the social contexts. It focuses in particular on the changing concepts of professionalism and accountability and argues that a new order needs to be built that incorporates wider perspectives but does not silence the professionals.

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  • Will scholars trump teachers in New Zealand teacher education?

    Alcorn, Noeline (2005)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    The Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) assessment process in 2003 highlighted the research imperative for academic staff in New Zealand teacher education. This imperative was not new: it was implicit in the tertiary education changes of 1990, which ended the university monopoly over degree granting and gave autonomy to colleges of education and polytechnics. Previous assumptions about the roles of university and college academics were challenged. Few teacher educators had engaged in research before 1990; staff were recruited from the profession on the basis of their professional expertise. Developing a research culture alongside the demands of teaching and professional involvement in schools leads to tensions that few institutions worldwide have been able to solve. This paper examines the experience of two New Zealand teacher education institutions in responding to the new research imperative, and then considers the impact of the PBRF process and reporting on policy and practice. It identifies significant issues for resourcing and developing capacity but concludes that research is an imperative of professional practice that has the capacity to enrich our teaching and inform policy. However, maintaining balance and equilibrium among the contradictory demands and pressures of research and teaching is still an essential goal if we are to serve education well.

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  • Evidence and education: The braided roles of research, policy and practice in New Zealand

    Alcorn, Noeline (2008)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Calls for educational policy and practice to be evidence-based have become insistent, yet there is ongoing contestation of the purpose and value of educational research. This paper addresses criticism of research from practitioners, politicians and policy makers and from within the research community itself. It examines the impact of the PBRF in New Zealand and the call for evidence-based practice here, in the UK and the US. It draws attention to research studies that are possible models for a principled and methodologically inclusive way forward and develops a set of principles for guiding future development in teacher education and education research.

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  • Ethical issues in collaborative action research

    Locke, Terry; Alcorn, Noeline; O’Neill, John (2013)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    This article begins by raising issues around the way in which ethical approval for research is managed in university settings, where committees often base their assumptions on a principlist approach making a number of assumptions that we consider to be contestable, such as a neat separation between researcher and researched. However, collaborative action research, we argue, takes issue with the 'objectification' of research participants. It often blurs the distinction between participant and researcher, particularly when an element of self-study is included. Moreover, the collaborative nature of action research problematises the question of who is researcher and who is researched, raising issues around anonymity, the 'ownership' of findings and dissemination. In response to some of these issues, we have developed a set of eight principles we derive from our 'version' of collaborative action research and apply them in a discussion of a number of case studies from our own setting, where researchers have faced a number of dilemmas in attempting to work within the terms of reference imposed by conventional university-based ethical approval procedures. In conclusion, this article indicates some implications for university-based action researchers and makes recommendations about the forms of ethical scrutiny within the university that would be most appropriate and searching for collaborative action-based enquiry.

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