How two successful North Carolina elementary school principals effectively implement reflective school practices and structures

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Leslie Eldreth (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Ulrich Reitzug

Abstract: Research indicates that reflective practice has the potential to create a culture of continuous improvement and lead to lasting school change when it becomes the collective cultural norm in a school. However, few studies have examined how elementary principals strategically promote and sustain reflective practices from the individual level to school-wide reflective practices. The purpose of this study was to examine, through a multiple case study approach, how two elementary principals in the North Carolina Piedmont intentionally implemented and sustained reflective practices in their schools. The research questions investigated were: “How do elementary principals strategically promote and sustain effective reflective practices in their schools?”; “What are the reflective practices and structures used in these schools?”; and “What is the relationship between individual reflection and collective reflection in the school?” Participants included an administrator and five teachers at each school site. Data was collected through two structured interviews with each participant. Findings indicate that the following practices were effective at leading school-wide reflective practice: administrator modeling of reflective questioning; providing individual differentiated opportunities for building teacher reflection capacity; administrator support of Professional Learning Community reflection on standards; encouraging reflection on the relationship between data and instruction; administrator support of school-wide reflection with standards, data, and instruction; and the role of trust and relationships in reflective opportunities. Key findings from the case studies found that principals in both cases utilized reflective questioning, examination of instructional practices as well as analyzed student data with individual teachers, PLCs, vertical teams and at the school level. This reflective mindset requires a paradigm shift from acceptance of established practices to questioning and digging deeper with reflection on data and content.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Administrator support, Data analysis, Instructional leadership, Reflective practice, Reflective questions, Teacher reflection
Elementary school principals $z North Carolina $v Case studies
School improvement programs $z North Carolina $v Case studies
Educational leadership $z North Carolina $v Case studies
Reflective teaching $z North Carolina $v Case studies
Reflection (Philosophy)

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