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Leading With Passion and Knowledge

Leading With Passion and Knowledge
The Principal as Action Researcher

Edited by:

Foreword by Michael Fullan

November 2012 | 240 pages | Corwin
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, communitylture 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


"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
Author, Lessons Learned

"For the principal or aspiring principal, this book will open your eyes on how to be a cut above. It encourages you to be open, to wonder, and to research effectively to maintain a trajectory of excellence in your school."

Nic Cooper, Faculty Member
Baker College–Jackson

"Finally, a book for administrators that validates their role in the area of action research! All administrator preparation programs should use this book. The description of the principal afflicted with 'data analysis paralysis' could be me. I was motivated to read on!"

Margarete Couture, Principal
South Seneca Central School District, Interlaken, NY

"After reading this book, I realized that engaging in administrator inquiry is not just 'another thing to do.' It can become best practice, and not simply the flavor of the week."

Gary Highsmith, Principal
Hamden High School, CT

"I am very impressed with this work. Years ago, Roland Barth said that leaders should be the 'head learners' in their schools. Dana's book confirms this basic belief and provides very useful strategies for practicing administrators to enhance professional learning. Thank you for honoring the practitioner!"

William A. Sommers, Past President
National Staff Development Council

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Nancy Fichtman Dana

Nancy Fichtman Dana is currently professor of education in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Hannibal Central Schools, New York. Since earning her PhD from Florida State University in 1991, she has been a passionate advocate for teacher inquiry and has worked >extensively in supporting schools, districts and universities in implementing powerful programs of job-embedded professional development through inquiry across the United States and in several countries, including China, South Korea, Belgium, Portugal, The Netherlands,... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412967051