Leading With Passion and Knowledge

Leading With Passion and Knowledge
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The Principal as Action Researcher
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Nancy Fichtman Dana
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Principals can harness the power of action research for their own professional development. This book provides guidance on developing questions, collecting data, and sharing results.

"The most important work of the school leader is to promote profound levels of learning in students and faculty, but only principals who know how to promote their own learning on the job can foster the learning of others. Here′s how!"
—Roland S. Barth, Founding Director
Harvard Principals′ Center

"Finally, a book for administrators that validates their role in the area of action research! All administrator preparation programs should use this book."
—Margarete Couture, Principal
South Seneca Central School District, Interlaken, NY

Become the "head learner" in your school by engaging in action research!

While much has been written about the effectiveness of action research for improving the practice of teachers, few resources exist for leading principals through the process to strengthen their professional development and their role in school improvement efforts.

Best-selling and award-winning author Nancy Fichtman Dana guides principals in identifying and exploring areas of interest for research, including staff development, curriculum development, individual teachers, community/culture building, leadership skills, building management, and school performance. With a step-by-step approach, this resource:

  • Helps principals develop a question, collect and analyze data, and share the results of their inquiry with school faculty, the district, and the broader education community

  • Includes numerous examples of actual principal inquiry to illustrate each step of the research process

  • Provides exercises to guide principals through their own inquiry projects

Use this proven method of professional development to continually cultivate your craft and improve school performance!

List of Figures and Tables

Foreword by Michael Fullan



About the Author

1. Administrator Inquiry Defined

What Is Administrator Inquiry?

How Is Administrator Inquiry or Action Research Different From Traditional Educational Research?

What Is the Relationship Between Administrator Inquiry and Principal Professional Growth?

What Are the Benefits of Engaging in Inquiry?

How Do I Find Time to Engage in Inquiry as a Principal?

What Are Some Contexts That Are Ripe for Principal Inquiry?

Chapter 1 Exercises

2. The Passions That Drive Your Journey: Finding a Wondering

Where Do I Find My Wonderings and Questions?

Some Cautionary Notes

Chapter 2 Exercises

3. The Road Map: Developing a Data Collection Plan

Data Collection Strategy 1: Quantitative Measures of Student Achievement (Standardized Test Scores, Assessment Measures, Grades)

Data Collection Strategy 2: Fieldnotes

Data Collection Strategy 3: Interviews

Data Collection Strategy 4: Documents/Artifacts/Student Work

Data Collection Strategy 5: Digital Pictures

Data Collection Strategy 6: Video

Data Collection Strategy 7: Reflective Journals and/or Weblogs

Data Collection Strategy 8: Surveys

Data Collection Strategy 9: Literature

When Do I Collect Data, and How Much Do I Collect?

Chapter 3 Exercises

4. The Navigation of Uncertain Terrain: Analyzing Data

Confront the Data Analysis Task

Take Control of the Data Analysis Task by Keeping It Simple

Follow Four Steps to Data Analysis

Have Colleagues Help in the Process

An Illustration of the Data Analysis Process

Chapter 4 Exercises

5. The Travelogue: Sharing Your Work With Others

Why Is It Important to Share My Work With Others?

With Whom Do I Share My Work?

How Do I Share My Work?

What′s Important to Share?

Chapter 5 Exercises

6. The Continuing Journey as "Head Learner": Assessing the Quality of Inquiry

Why Is It Important to Assess the Quality of My Work?

What Is the Difference Between Generalizability and Transferability?

How Do I Go About Assessing Practitioner Research Quality, and Why Is It So Difficult to Do

What Are Some Quality Indicators for Practitioner Research?

What Are Some Ways of Enhancing Inquiry Quality?

Chapter 6 Exercises



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