Announcing the Global Action Research Collaborative

Alliance of Girls' Schools Australasia / 29 January 2020

The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia is pleased to announce the launch of the Global Action Research Collaborative pilot program in partnership with the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (US), Girls’ Schools Association and Girls’ Day School Trust (UK), and other participating organisations and schools. This exciting initiative will involve a small pilot cohort of nine teachers from girls’ schools from around the world undertaking action research projects on the theme: ‘Feedback to move forward, thrive and grow’.

Resilience is built when facing and overcoming challenges. When students believe that intellectual abilities can be developed over time, effective feedback provides the space and vehicle for that growth to happen. However, in light of the growing stress experienced by students around the world in response to assessment, testing and examinations, the Global Action Research Collaborative’s pilot program will investigate different modes of feedback and assessment designed to increase girls’ confidence and resilience, while reducing anxiety and improving emotional wellbeing.

After a highly-competitive process, nine teachers from girls’ schools in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and South Africa have been selected to form the pilot cohort.

Representing Australia, Karen Lewis from All Hallows’ School, Brisbane, will lead a team of English teachers to research, trial and evaluate digital, pre-recorded, written and face-to-face ‘feedback conversations’ with students to investigate which forms of feedback are best at motivating students to become confident, resilient and self-directed learners.

Karen, an English Teacher, said it was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate, not just with colleagues within her school but with those from around the world.

‘What a privilege it will be to work with others who have a variety of experiences and approaches. As teachers, we all want to help our students to achieve their full learning potential,’ said Karen.

‘This study will allow us to explore how we tap into the relationships that teachers build with our classes and the individuals in those classes. It will be a great chance to learn how we can better afford our students agency and control in their own learning,’ she said.

Margaret Adeane from Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, New Zealand will investigate teaching girls to fail and thrive in unstructured contexts so they develop the skillsets needed for the technologically disruptive workplaces of the future. A key aim will be to develop the right language to help girls learn the ‘right way to fail’ and connect these classroom lessons to learning for life.

Academic Director Margaret said it was exciting to be part of the project, coming at a key moment in their school’s journey.

‘We are searching for the right way to understand and articulate learning through the lens of today’s critical skillset so it is fantastic to be sharing learning and experience with educators of girls from around the world,’ said Margaret.

The nine teachers participating in the pilot program will commence an 18-month program of training and action research in January 2020. Online training will be delivered by lecturers from the Professional and Graduate Education faculty of Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts women’s college in Boston. Pilot program teachers will also attend a training workshop in Philadelphia in June 2020 and present their research findings at the Global Forum III on Girls’ Education in Boston in June 2021.

Loren Bridge, Alliance Executive Officer, said that the Alliance is thrilled to be involved in the first-ever global action research project to specifically focus on the teaching and wellbeing of girls in single-sex schools.

‘The calibre of the candidates and their proposed action research projects is outstanding. The benefits that will accrue to the girls’ schools taking part in the Global Action Research Collaborative cannot be understated. The increasing rates of anxiety and depression in young people around the world are truly alarming and we are pleased to be at the forefront of concrete action research projects to help address these issues in girls’ schools around the globe,’ said Loren.