Innovation with change: developing a community of practice to help teachers move beyond the 'honeymoon' of pedagogical renovation

2015-11-19T16:22:14Z (GMT) by Victoria A. Goodyear Ashley Casey
Background: Physical education has long been caught in a time of ‘innovation without change’. Yet, despite a wealth of pedagogical innovations and policies, which encourage a reconsideration of the ‘traditional pedagogy’, teachers rarely move beyond the honeymoon period of implementation. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how communities of practice emerge, develop and support innovation that results in pedagogical change. Participants and setting: Six secondary school teachers from a comprehensive secondary school in the UK used the Cooperative Learning model, which was identified as the pedagogical innovation, to teach physical education for a minimum of four units of activity (6–8 lessons each). Teachers were supported by a researcher who acted as a boundary spanner. Research design: To support their understanding and use of Cooperative Learning the teachers' engaged with action research through (a) the analysis of their observations and reflections, (b) dialogue with the boundary spanner and colleagues, and (c) negotiation with their students. Multiple sources of data informed the study including: teacher reflections, a field journal, a Verification Tool, interviews, teacher observations, professional learning meetings, and discussions on social media. Data analysis: Data were analysed through constant comparison, inductive analysis and peer examination. Findings: The boundary spanner was a catalyst for the adoption and sustained use of pedagogical innovation, facilitating teachers' use of action research, driving social energy, and the subsequent emergence of a community of practice. Conclusion: If physical education is to move beyond the traditional pedagogies, then communities of practice are a professional learning strategy that can support pedagogical innovation with change, especially when boundary spanners help to get them started.