Making connections: experiences of learning support teachers in district-based meetings

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Poitras, Amelia C.
This paper explores the experiences of learning support teachers (LSTs) in the West Vancouver School District as they engaged in district-based LST meetings that were planned and facilitated by a team of LSTs in collaboration with district administration. The research explored the experiences of LSTs through use of qualitative methods and was particularly interested in LSTs perception of the effectiveness of the meetings in creating a sense connectedness and efficacy among the group. The study employed narrative inquiry as a methodology. Two methods were used to gather data: interviews and a researcher’s journal. Three LSTs from the West Vancouver School District were interviewed, and the interview data was combined with data from the researcher’s journal to obtain the key themes, which were explored and presented in the results of the study. The results indicate that LSTs value time to connect at district-based meetings. Participants highlighted the positive impact these meetings have had on their feelings of isolation in their complex roles. There is a hunger for collaboration among the group, and recommendations include implementing further supports to continue the momentum that was created over the past year. This study points to a number of formal supports that could help structure future LST meetings: using the Adaptive Schools model, implementing a similar structure to that of a professional learning community (PLC), and considering the use of adaptive mentorship or collaborative mentorship.
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