Notions of 'experience' in a high performing primary school: implications for practice, policy and research development

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This article discusses one of the most pervasive and taken-for-granted concepts in professional practice - ‘experience’ - that we arguably all seek, enable others to develop, and use to make a case for hiring or firing employees with potential implications on the performance of educational organisations. Yet, it remains one of the most under-researched fields of study.
In response, the article develops a literature-based framework of ‘experience in retrospect and in prospect’ grounded on John Dewey’s theorisation of educational experience. These theoretical mechanisms are used retroductively to inform the analysis of case study data from a high performing primary school (Rising Star -RS) in a low performing local authority (WEB) in the North of England.
This study shows that ‘experience’ is (can be) understood and applied differently: as reliant on past (retrospect), future (prospect) learning, both or neither. In the case of RS, outstanding pupils’ outcomes can be linked to a matrix that combines both experience in prospect and in retrospect. This combination is represented by a ‘RS retrospection and prospection wheel’ made up of four core spokes (individual, collective, spatio-temporality and consequences) that are unified by a four-pronged disk/hub that arguably set RS as a collective auctor onto a counter-performativity trajectory of its own.
This study adds new insights to interview, induction and professional development processes with the potential to impact on students’ outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPractice: Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021


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