UTILISING SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS TO IDENTIFY THE STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF TEACHERS’ KNOWLEDGE AND RESOURCESHARING NETWORKS WITHIN SCHOOLS

Chris Downey

Resumen


Abstract

This article discusses how social network analysis (SNA) might be used to identify the structural features present in the resource- and knowledge-sharing networks that develop between teachers when they are working within their schools. Network survey data was collected from teachers as part a case study research project undertaken in two high-achieving schools, one primary, and one secondary. Teachers working in schools operate within a number of organisational structures, such as Year Teams and Subject Departments. Through use of SNA techniques, this research aims to compare the extent to which the structure of networks of teacher collaboration around particular aspects of teacher practice may be associated with teachers’ affiliation to such teams. Teachers in each school were asked to nominate colleagues to whom they turned during the previous month for resources and knowledge in their practice of teaching and learning, and their use of student attainment and progress data. Analysis using a range of whole-network metrics revealed that there were key structural differences between networks that developed around learning and teaching compared to those focused on the use of attainment and progress data, with greater collaboration across teams in data use than in teaching and learning practices. There were also key differences observed when comparing the resource-sharing and knowledge-sharing networks, with collaborative resource-sharing for teaching and learning occurring much more within closed groups participating in reciprocated exchange, compared to a more open, though less reciprocated approach to knowledge-sharing collaboration. Finally, the potential use of metrics at the level of individual teachers to identify key actors in each network is considered.

 

Resumen

El artículo presenta el análisis de redes sociales (ARS) acometido para identificar las características presentes en redes de intercambio de recursos y conocimiento entre docentes. Se ha llevado a cabo una encuesta dirigida a docentes como parte de un estudio de casos asociado a un proyecto de investigación en dos escuelas de alto rendimiento, una de Educación Primaria y otra de Educación Secundaria. Se ha comprobado que los docentes de estas escuelas operan dentro de estructuras organizativas, como son los Equipos Anuales y los Departamentos de Asignaturas. Mediante el uso de técnicas de ARS en esta investigación se ha pretendido comparar hasta qué punto la estructura de las redes de colaboración docente puede vincularse con la afiliación de los docentes a dichos equipos. En cada escuela se solicitó al profesorado que mencionara a aquellos colegas a los que habían acudido durante el último mes con la intención de pedir recursos para sus prácticas de enseñanza y aprendizaje. En el análisis de la información se utilizó un rango de métricas de red completa. Se hallaron diferencias de colaboración entre redes de profesores a la hora de compartir materiales y conocimientos. El análisis arrojó la existencia de grupos cerrados de intercambio recíproco y grupos más abiertos con un enfoque menos recíproco en el mismo tipo de colaboración. Finalmente, puede concluirse que el uso de métricas a nivel de docentes individuales ha permitido identificar a los actores clave en cada red.


Palabras clave


teacher collaboration, social network analysis, educational networks, educational research

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Referencias


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