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Teachers’ capacity to realize educational change through inquiry-based working and distributed leadership

An examination of the relationships between teachers’ capacity to realize educational change, inquiry-based working, and distributed leadership in Dutch primary education
PhD ceremony:Ms J. Amels-de Groot
When:March 25, 2021
Start:12:45
Supervisor:prof. dr. K. (Klaas) van Veen
Co-supervisors:dr. C.J.M. (Cor) Suhre, dr. M.L. Krüger
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Teachers’ capacity to realize educational change through
inquiry-based working and distributed leadership

Teachers face many challenges in their daily teaching practices. On the one hand, they must be able to improve their teaching and learning strategies by navigating changing goals in order to meet the variety in students’ educational needs. On the other hand, governmental and school board projects aimed at educational development focus increasingly on data.These issues require teachers to develop their capacity to realize educational change. Herein, working inquiry-based can be helpful for teachers to investigate their daily practices. In developing and maintaining an inquiry-based working environment, leadership that encourage teachers to take ownership of the change process may be essential.

Limited studies focus on how distributed leadership or inquiry-based working may be related to teachers’ capacity to realize educational change, Also, knowledge about whether school leaders’ perceptions of distributed leadership are relevant in enhancing teachers’ capacity to change is scarce. This dissertation examines these issues through four studies.The results show that inquiry-based working illustrates for teachers which educational changes need to be made when adapting teaching strategies. Also, working inquiry-based encourages them to take leadership roles. Their sense of self-efficacy seems to be stronger as well as the extent to which they support one another and share experiences. Although school leaders differ in their interpretations of distributed leadership, distributing leadership may still be worthwhile.

Teachers seem to be more likely to collaborate, internalize school goals into personal aims and show a higher level of self-efficacy than in schools without such leadership distribution.